When it was first spotted in the Indian markets, the kiwifruit turned a lot of curious heads. It remotely resembled a chikoo but wasn’t quite like it. People weren’t sure of what it is and how to eat it. Slowly, as people uncovered the versatility of Kiwi and its powerful nutritional profile, this interesting looking fruit with a unique taste found acceptance into Indian kitchens.
Kiwifruit [also known as the Chinese Gooseberry] is imported from Italy, New Zealand or China. It is a powerhouse of nutrients and is included among the 20 super fruits by the berry doctor Paul Gross in his book, Superfruits.
The many health benefits of Kiwifruit
1. Kiwi is a rich source of Vitamin-C
Like any other gooseberry, Kiwi is a rich source of vitamin C—it has twice the amount of vitamin C content than in oranges. Being an excellent antioxidant, vitamin C cleans the body of free radicals, boosts immunity and helps maintain bone health and teeth. It also boosts immunity, prevents wheezing, asthma and improves lung function. Vitamin C also helps increase the absorption of iron, making it beneficial in anaemia.
2. Kiwi is abundant in antioxidant Vitamin-E
Kiwis are also abundant in vitamin E, another antioxidant. In fact, kiwi is the richest low-fat source of vitamin E. This adds a many points in the favour of the fruit because most good food sources of vitamin E like avocados are high in fats. Because of the high vitamin E content, kiwi helps in improving skin conditions and fertility.
3. Kiwi helps repair DNA
Kiwi contains plenty of chlorophyll and lutein, potent antioxidants, which help repair DNA and prevent degeneration of body cells. The lutein along with the vitamin C helps prevent cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
4. It helps prevent cardiac arrythmia
Kiwi beats even banana when it comes to high-potassium, low-sodium content, which helps prevent cardiac arrhythmia [irregularity in the rhythm of heartbeats] and control blood pressure.
5. It is the ideal fruit for weight-conscious
Kiwifruit is low in fat and calories, making it ideal for those who are calorie-conscious or people on weight-loss regimes.
6. Kiwi is safe for diabetics to consume
Kiwi has a low glycemic index and copious amounts of magnesium and hence can be had by diabetics.
7. It promotes brain development in children
Kiwi is abundant in dietary fibre, magnesium, folate and omega-3. Because of the folate and omega-3, it is excellent for brain development in children. The folate content also helps reduce hyperhomocysteinemia [a risk factor for coronary artery disease]. The fibre present in kiwis apart from lowering cholesterol also helps in relieving constipation.
8. Kiwi helps reduce risk of heart disease
Kiwifruit can reduce the risk of platelet aggregation and helps in the reduction of plasma triglycerides, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
It also has small amounts of vitamin A and B, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
- Nutrient density: 16 [highest among 27 commonly eaten fruits]
- Glycemic index: 52
- Types: Kiwi green, kiwi gold and kiwi red [not yet available in India]
- Weight: medium size around 50 – 60g
- 1 serving size: 100g of kiwifruit
- Availability: All through the year; but June – March is a key period
- Selection: Avoid bruised ones. Gently press a kiwi to check its firmness, buy it only if it is semi-soft
- Price range: INR27 – INR35 per piece [depending on the variety and size]
2 kiwis a day will make you want to keep all other fruits at bay.
How to eat kiwi
People struggle endlessly to understand how to eat kiwi. They don’t know whether to peel it, slice it or cut it lengthwise. The kiwifruit is ideally cut into half breadth-wise and scooped out with a spoon like you scoop out an ice-cream from a cup. But don’t worry if you have been eating it with the skin—the fruit is completely edible inside-out. Take care to wash the skin thoroughly before you eat it, though.
The cost factor
People find kiwi costly as it costs INR27 – INR35 per piece. Now consider this. Apples cost around INR120 – INR140 per kg and you get only around four or five apples in that. This means a single apple costs about INR27 – INR32 per piece, which is in the same range as a kiwifruit.
However, the good news is that kiwis are being grown in Himachal Pradesh and Manipur, which will make them easily available in India and bring down its price.
Kiwi is the most nutrient-dense food, according to a study published in The Journal of American College of Nutrition. It has a nutrition index of 16, which means it has the highest content of the 9 nutrients that are considered essential by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA].
It beats other fruits like papaya , cantaloupe melon , strawberry , mango  and orange  hands down.
Kiwi and chickoo
When the kiwifruit first hit the Indian market almost 6 – 7 years ago, its tangy taste did not appeal to many, as they had grown accustomed to eating sweet fruits like bananas, apples and mangoes.
People also didn’t like the feel of the outer peel of kiwi and would say it looks and feels like a hairy chickoo. But the Kiwi Gold variety is changing that opinion. The kiwi gold has a yellow flesh within the outer peel, which is not hairy. The fruit is sweeter in taste as compared to its green counterpart.
Try This Kiwi recipe
- Kiwi juice: 50ml
- Orange juice: 100ml
- Sugar: 2tsp
- White wine: 10ml
- Kiwifruit, finely diced: 100g
- Butter: 1tsp
- Salt: to taste
- Pepper: to taste
Add butter to a heated saucepan. As the butter melts, add the freshly-made orange juice, followed by sugar and wine. Bring the sauce to a boil, add the kiwi juice and finely-diced kiwifruit. Immediately add salt and pepper to taste and cover the pan for a minute. Your kiwifruit sauce is ready. Used as a dressing on salads, in tarts, spread on a fruit pizza base or add it to a meat dish for a sweet and sour flavour.
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