The kiwi is a delicious berry native to China that, when introduced in New Zealand at the beginning of the last century, became well known among its inhabitants and was named after a bird native to that nation with which it bears a certain resemblance. It is also known as Chinese gooseberry and belongs to the genus Actinidia, which includes about sixty species.
The fruit grows on a twisted, woody vine in temperate climates. China is the leading producer of kiwifruit, accounting for 50% of the supply, followed by Italy (13%), New Zealand (10%), Iran (8%), Greece (7%), and Chile (6%). Kiwifruit consumed in Mexico is imported from Chile and New Zealand, which is why it regularly commands a higher price than other fruits.
The growing popularity of kiwifruit is due to its unique appearance and delicious flavor. It is currently used in the preparation of fresh salads, juices, bakery products, and dehydrated slices and combined with other fruits as snacks and in the preparation of snacks and bars, among others.
The benefits of this fruit lie in its high content of antioxidants, vitamin C and phenolic and carotenoid compounds that promote good health. These antioxidants can protect the DNA of the body's cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, thus reducing the risk of inflammation processes and multiple diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, intestinal problems, and cancer, among others.
Controls blood glucose
Kiwifruit has a low glycemic index, which makes it suitable for people with diabetes. Research suggests that 100 g of kiwifruit is equivalent to 5 g (or one teaspoon) of glucose, according to its effect on blood glucose levels.
Satiety effect and weight loss
It can be a great ally in a weight control regimen, since a 100 g serving of kiwi contains only 61 calories and offers soluble fiber that promotes satiety and, therefore, reduces the feeling of hunger and calorie intake.
Food for pregnancy
It is a perfect fruit for a pregnant woman due to its high content of folic acid, which helps prevent the occurrence of neural tube defects in babies, and is essential for brain and cognitive growth. Other essential nutrients such as vitamins C, E, and K, along with flavonoids present in the fruit, also contribute to the overall health and development of the fetus and mother-to-be.
Kiwifruit improves sleep
It can also be a great choice for dinner, as it contains flavonoids such as quercetin, naringenin, rutin, catechin, and epicatechin, which modulate sleep-inducing receptors. It is considered an effective sedative agent of vegetable origin; its peel is even an ingredient in natural sleeping pills.
The powerful health benefits of kiwifruit also include better skincare, promoting cardiovascular health, and lowering the risk of some cancers and macular degeneration. In addition, its antimicrobial properties protect against a variety of pathogens and strengthen the immune system.