THE BENEFICIAL PROPERTIES OF KIWI
This fruit is loved by the old and the young, it has many beneficial properties and is very good for our health. Kiwis contain a very high content of vitamin C, even more than lemons, oranges and peppers. However, this is not all: kiwis are also rich in potassium, vitamin E, copper and iron and these all work together to create antiseptic and anti-anaemic properties. The presence of minerals in kiwis is also very high and thus helps with cardiac performance and arterial pressure. They also have refreshing, thirst quenching and diuretic properties, they strengthen the immune system’s defences and protect the vascular walls. However, not everyone likes kiwis and some people are actually allergic to this fruit, even though the plant is very rarely plagued by parasites. This also means that the kiwis available in shops are usually untouched by pesticides, which is not the case for other fruits like grapes and peaches that, due to the delicacy of their trees, are often treated with chemicals.
Kiwi cultivation has grown over the last few years and a meeting was held in
Italy to highlight the necessity to introduce new varieties to areas where kiwis
are not consumed very much. It was suggested that kiwis should be exported to
places such as Japan and America, where the fruit is not particularly in demand.
A study carried out on 100,000 people, who were kept under observation form 1980-1998, confirmed that 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables (as well as portions of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach) can considerably reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular illnesses.
Historical signs of the kiwi
Kiwis were exported from America for the first time in 1962 and from that moment were called the kiwifruit, which comes from the name of the kiwi bird, the emblem of New Zealand. According to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization from 2005, the main kiwi producers in the world are Italy (producing 480,000 tonnes/year), New Zealand (producing 280,000 tonnes/year) and Chile and France (producing 150,000 and 80,000 tonnes/year respectively).
|NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF KIWI, STATISTICS FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NUTRITION|
Values equal to 100g of edible, fresh kiwi
Eating 1 kiwi a day satisfies our daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C is the most important element in this fruit and therefore it is very good at preventing us from or helping us when we catch a cold or the flu, as well as strengthening our immune systems. In some cases it has even been used in cancer therapy, helping to prolong the life of patients. Kiwis can also prevent and ease circulatory problems related to pregnancy, such as heavy legs, telangiectasia (thread veins), varicose veins and haemorrhoids. They can also help with many forms of anaemia and weakness and they help to protect the body from the effects of free radicals, by delaying aging of the skin much better than any creams or supplements. It has also been revealed that kiwis are very good for tooth, gum and blood vessel protection as, amongst other things, they have a healing power. The ascorbic acid contained in kiwis can also turn cholesterol into bile salts, expelling cholesterol from the body and the lack of ascorbate (vitamin C) in the blood of smokers can be balanced out by this fruit. It has also been revealed that kiwis can help with constipation, depression, chronic fatigue and digestive system disorders. Lastly, the presence of calcium and phosphorus carry out a protective function on the bones by preventing and combating osteoporosis: experts also suggest that those who have high blood pressure should consume this fruit regularly.
How to choose a good quality kiwi
First and foremost it must be said that not all kiwis look and taste the same, the only difference is where they come from: those found in supermarkets in Europe normally come from Italy but some also originate from Chile and New Zealand, and if buying those from Chile, it is recommended to buy ones with the ‘chiquita’ mark as this is a sign of good quality. Kiwis from New Zealand are the most expensive but, according to experts, are also the most tasty. How can you recognise a good kiwi? Generally speaking, do not trust those that are sold at a very low price per kilogram. The skin should also be in perfect condition, they should be egg-shaped and they should not be too ripe or soft so that you can eat over a short period of time without worrying that they have become over ripe.