Nutrition Today

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Nutrition Today:
doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31825744bc
Nutrition and Food

Kiwifruit: Overview of Potential Health Benefits

Singletary, Keith PhD

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Kiwifruit belongs to the genus Actinidia (Actinidiaceae) and is derived from a deciduous woody, fruiting vine. It is composed of different species and cultivars that exhibit a variety of characteristics and sensory attributes. Kiwi plants have been grown for centuries in China, where they are known as mihoutau. Kiwi plant seeds were brought to New Zealand in the early 20th century, where it was eventually domesticated and sold worldwide. Currently, commercial growth of the fruit has spread to many countries including the United States, Italy, Chile, France, Greece, and Japan. Kiwifruit extracts have been reportedly used in traditional Chinese medicine for relief of symptoms of numerous disorders. In light of growing consumer acceptance of kiwifruits worldwide, there has been an increased attention given to identifying health benefits associated with its consumption. Potential benefits include a rich source of antioxidants, improvement of gastrointestinal laxation, lowering of blood lipid levels, and alleviation of skin disorders. Some individuals report allergic symptoms to kiwifruit, and a considerable research effort is being focused on characterizing kiwifuit’s allergenicity among various populations of people. Kiwifruit not only is rich in vitamin C but also is a good source of other nutrients such as folate, potassium, and dietary fiber. This fruit’s content of nutrients and biologically active phytochemicals has stimulated investigations into its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that might then help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other degenerative disorders.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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