“How many kiwi fruits should I eat a day?”
A friend of mine recently asked me this question.
She recently got into plant-based eating, and now she’s discovering a newfound love of fruit (yay!).
While I pride myself on being somewhat of a nutrition nerd, I couldn’t give her a 100% precise answer.
As is often the case with food advice, the answer depends on a number of different factors.
In this post, we’ll cover the most important info you need to know before deciding how many kiwis you should eat a day.
When it’s all said and done, we’ll throw up some general numbers you can work with.
Let’s get into it.
Kiwi: An Underrated Health Food
TABLE OF CONTENTS
There’s no doubt about it:
Kiwi is delicious and highly nutritious — it’s a wonderful addition to an all-around healthy diet.
Sadly, however, it’s been overlooked for a long, long time.
A Rough Start On The Global Market
Originally called “Chinese gooseberry” (since it’s native to China), Western farmers initially found it hard to sell in the early 1900’s.
Regular gooseberries weren’t popular with consumers to begin with, and the “Chinese” affix gave little info on what made it different.
Because of this, it was eventually renamed to Kiwi fruit in the 1950’s (after the bird from New Zealand, which it kind of resembles).
This contributed to a slow, but-steady, rise in sales.
Kiwi Fruits’ Popularity Today
However, the real growth started in the 1980’s, when researchers began recognizing the kiwi fruit for what it is:
A tasty, nutritional powerhouse.
Even with the steady rise in demand, though, the juicy little fruit (or more specifically, berry) has remained more or less a niche food:
It only made up around 0.22% of the ‘global fruit bowl’ in 2013.
But don’t worry — the kiwi is on a meteoric rise to stardom, much thanks to health-conscious people like you.
What Does Kiwi Do For Your Body?
As mentioned, the kiwi fruit is a nutritional powerhouse — some even call it a superfood.
But why, exactly, is it so healthy?
Here are the biggest kiwi fruit health benefits:
- Can help with weight loss
- Promotes healthy digestion
- Good for your heart
- Strengthens your bones
- Prevents aging of the skin
- Makes you sleep better
- Can give relief from asthma
1. Can Help With Weight Loss
While the kiwi fruits are very dense in nutrients, they have few calories overall —about 45 each.
This makes it a nice option if you’re craving something sweet while dieting.
Also, they have a healthy amount of fiber — 1 kiwi contains about 2.1 grams, which is 8% of the daily recommended value.
People who consume a lot of fiber in their diet tend to have a healthier BMI (body mass index).
And that makes sense, since fiber gives you a feeling of fullness.
Few things are worse than having your tummy constantly rumble with hunger, day after day after day.
Keeping a sense of fullness is essential if you want to avoid snacking throughout the day (which is a common cause of weight-loss plateaus).
So, if you get the need for a tasty snack while dieting, you can safely eat a kiwi or two without feeling bad afterwards.
2. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Kiwi fruit could play a part in naturally treating digestive and bowel disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
That’s because Kiwi contains a particular enzyme called actinidain.
This helps break down proteins in your food much quicker than your digestive enzymes can do by themselves.
3. Good For Your Heart
Besides making you feel full and aiding in digestion, the fiber found in kiwis is also beneficial for your heart.
It helps control blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
But that’s not all:
One large kiwi fruit will give you around 215 grams of potassium, which is a natural vasodilator.
Basically, it relaxes your blood vessels, reducing your chances of getting a stroke or heart attack.
Also, the bright-green flesh contains magnesium, copper, vitamin E and C.
These all contribute to a well-functioning cardiovascular system (check out this study about kiwi consumption and triglyceride levels).
Finally, there’s vitamin K— an average green kiwi will give you around 28 micrograms of it.
This vitamin has been shown to protect against calcification of your arteries.
4. Strengthens Your Bones
Vitamin K is not only good against calcification, though.
It helps your body make proper use of calcium, ensuring it’s deposited where it’s needed the most (like your bones).
5. Prevents Aging Of The Skin
Everyone gets older, but some of us age more gracefully than others.
If you want to keep your good looks as long as possible, one of your top priorities should be taking care of your skin.
Regularly eating kiwis can help you with this.
First off, they contain a boatload of vitamin C.
One fruit will give you about 65 mg, which is 73% of the daily recommended intake for an average adult male.
Kiwi is in 4th place among all fruits when it comes to vitamin C content (only surpassed by guava, black currant and red pepper).
In fact, one kiwi has DOUBLE the amount of C found in a big orange (which is 6th on the list).
But why is this vitamin so important for skin?
C For Collagen
Collagen is a protein that serves as a vital building block in our bodies.
Among other things, it keeps our skin firm and smooth.
However, the amount of collagen in our bodies gradually lowers as we age, leaving our skin looking dull and droopy (*screams internally*).
Thankfully, we can stall this effect by making sure we get plenty of vitamin C in our diets.
But wait, there’s more:
Throw in all the antioxidants that protect your body against harmful UV rays, and here’s a must-have food for beautiful skin.
6. Makes You Sleep Better
How does kiwi improve your sleep quality?
You might think that it’s a fancy combination of different nutrients, but it’s actually quite simple to explain:
The Importance Of Serotonin
Simply put, it’s a neurotransmitter that’s correlated to feelings of well-being and, yes, high-quality sleep.
When our serotonin levels are low, we are more prone to sleep disruption and insomnia.
One of the main reasons for having lower levels of this chemical is long-term stress.
As you can probably guess, this is a major problem in today’s extremely busy world.
It’s reasonable to guess that a significant number of modern people (especially the city-dwelling, career-driven ones) suffer from a serotonin deficiency.
This can easily lead to a negative feedback loop:
- If you’re chronically stressed, your serotonin levels will eventually tank.
- This will lead to getting little sleep, being anxious and feeling tired during the day.
- The constant fatigue will keep your cortisol levels high, causing a cycle of suffering that’s hard to break free of.
Dreams Made Of Fruit
This is where fruits like kiwi (and others, like banana and pineapple) could seriously help you out.
Researchers at the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan did a 4-week study on the effects regular kiwi consumption had on sleep.
The 24 study volunteers were made up of 22 women and 2 men with various forms of sleep problems.
They were told to eat 2 kiwis 1 hour before bed, every single day for the 4-week period.
The results were interesting, to say the least:
♦ The time it took to fall asleep after going to bed (sleep onset latency) decreased by 35.4%
♦ The volunteers experienced less disrupted sleep (waking time after sleep onset). Periods of unwanted wakefulness decreased by 28.9%.
♦ Sleep efficiency saw a boost of 5.41%— meaning that people spent more time actually being asleep compared to how long they laid in bed.
♦ Based on a questionnaire volunteers were handed before and after the experiment, sleep quality improved by 42.4%.
♦ Total time spent sleeping increased by 13.4%.
As the researchers stated, these are significant effects.
So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, or if you just want to improve the quality of your rest, start eating kiwis!
7. Can Give Relief From Asthma
Both studies found that kiwi boosted the vitamin C accumulation in the body.
This, in turn, decreased the symptoms of the breathing problems, such as wheezing and congestion.
If you or someone close to you is living with asthma, you’ll know just how valuable such relief could be.
While there’s no evidence that the fruit will heal asthma completely, it could very well be included in a larger treatment plan.
Possible Side Effects
Ok, so we’ve been through the major health benefits.
These are important to know when deciding how many kiwis you should eat a day.
However, you also need to think about the possible side effects of eating too many.
Don’t be alarmed, though:
The vast majority of people won’t have any problems chomping down as many kiwis as they’d like (within reason).
Still, this could very well change, depending on your personal needs and health conditions.
Here are the possible negatives you can experience when eating kiwi fruit:
- Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)
- Pancreas issues
1. Oral Allergy Syndrome
Some people experience oral allergy syndrome (OAS) when eating a lot of kiwi fruit regularly.
OAS is also known as pollen-food syndrome, and is caused by allergens found in pollen, raw fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Symptoms include having an itchy mouth and throat, plus swelling of the lips and tongue.
It’s not a serious condition, and the symptoms usually disappear shortly after the last bites of food are swallowed.
Still, OAS is very annoying, and could potentially stress your immune system if you keep chowing down the source of the irritation.
As mentioned earlier, the enzyme called actinidain that’s found in kiwis is good for promoting healthy bowel movements.
However, consuming too much of it could also produce a strong, unwanted laxative effect — maybe even full-blown diarrhea in some people.
The vitamin C that’s also found in kiwi, when consumed in extremely high doses (2000 mg+), could also make you run to the toilet.
Of course, the thresholds will vary from person to person, depending on tolerance and health conditions.
Still, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
If you’re in madly in love with kiwis, be sure to monitor the effect they have on your bathroom breaks.
3. Pancreas Issues
Among other things, the green little goodie comes packed with vitamin C, E and potassium.
For a person with a normal, healthy pancreas, this would be nothing but great nutrition.
However, if you’re faced with temporary or long-term pancreas issues, you might want to avoid binging on kiwis.
This is because the aforementioned compounds can influence triglyceride levels in your blood.
In turn, this may cause damage to your already struggling pancreas.
“How Many Kiwi Fruits Should I Eat A Day?”
Alright, let’s get back to the title of the post.
Now that we’ve gone through all of the data, we can put up some general numbers:
|Easily reach your daily vitamin C needs:||2 kiwis a day is enough (but eat more if you want)|
|Boost your cardiovascular health:||2-3 kiwis a day (like in this study mentioned earlier)|
|Improve your sleep quality:||2 kiwis every day, 1 hour before bedtime (like in this study mentioned earlier)|
|Mild to moderate allergic reactions:||0-2 a day (depending on your tolerance)|
|Severe allergic reactions:||0 (at least until you’re cleared by a health professional)|
|Issues with your pancreas:||0 (at least until you’re cleared by a health professional)|
A Bright-Green Future
I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the nature of the kiwi fruit, and that you’ve found the information helpful.
Unless you’ve got a special health condition, there’s no reason to exclude this wonderful fruit from your diet.
As you can see, it’s absolutely jampacked with all kinds of health-giving goodness
So, the next time you’re out shopping, bring back some fuzzy, brown beauties.
Together, let’s make the kiwi an essential part of the global fruit bowl — it deserves it!