The Cleveland Clinic, a premier U.S. heart hospital, has recommended kiwis as one of the 40 most powerful foods for heart health.
Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey ranked the kiwifruit No. 1 in nutritional value (followed by papaya, cantaloupe, and strawberry) among 27 of the most popular fruits.
"A serving of two kiwifruits gives you as much potassium as a banana and twice the vitamin C of an orange," says Karen Brux, North America general manager of Zespri International, the world's largest marketer of kiwifruit.
Preliminary small research studies suggest that eating about two kiwifruits a day may help:
-- thin the blood and reduce blood clotting (similar to the effects of daily aspirin)
-- lower triglycerides (blood fats)
-- maintain regularity (even if eaten without the skin)
-- support your immune system
-- protect against cancer
Read on to gain confidence and knowledge in shopping for, storing, peeling, eating, and cooking with kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit is a good source of fiber and antioxidant vitamins C and E. Plus, it has substantial amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two plant-base nutrients important for eye health.
"Eating kiwifruit may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk through the beneficial combination of fiber, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, and other plant-base nutrients," says Metin Guldas, Ph.D., a food science researcher at Uludag University in Bursa, Turkey.
Per serving: 46 calories, 0 g fat, 11g carb., 2 g fiber, 237 mg potassium, 70.5 mg vitamin C, 1.5 IU vitamin E
Kiwi Shopping Guide
There are more than 40 varieties of kiwifruit (and more are being developed).
The three most popular types of kiwi are:
1. Green Kiwi: Its light brown fuzzy skin and year-round availability makes green kiwi the most recognizable. It has tiny edible black seeds and a tart-sweet flavor.
2. Gold Kiwi: Has golden yellow flesh with smooth, edible skin (similar to a pear). The flavor is tropical-sweet and mellow.
3. Baby Kiwi: Only available in early fall, baby kiwi is about the size of a grape. It has a more intense flavor and sweetness than the green kiwi.
How to Peel a Kiwi
Peeling a kiwi is simple and requires just two steps.
Step 1: First, wash the kiwifruit. Place it on its side and cut off both ends.
Step 2: Turn the kiwifruit upright and cut off the skin in long strips, following the curve of the fruit. Slice thinly to preserve many nutrients near the skin.
Tip: Eating the kiwifruit skin triples the fiber, researchers say. Also, the highest concentration of vitamin C in kiwifruit is right below the fruit's skin. You may prefer to eat the skin of the fuzz-free gold kiwifruit rather than the skin of the fuzzy green variety.
How to Eat a Kiwi
Ready to eat? As with any fruit, start by washing the kiwi. Then try one of these methods:
Option 1: Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out fruit with a spoon.
Option 2: Slice the kiwi into coins (peeled or not).
Option 3: Cut the kiwi into whole quarters lengthwise (peeled or not).
Toss kiwi, apple juice, and honeydew melon in your blender for a delicious, heart-healthy shake.
Kiwi Salad with Honey-Mint Dressing
You'll need 25 minutes and four kiwis for this refreshing side dish. Mint, lime juice, honey, cantaloupe, and a few other light-bite favorites add up to just 68 calories per serving.
Shrimp and Kiwi Salad
A tangy seafood appetizer doesn't have to take a lot of time. The simple-to-make marinade includes kiwi, lime peel, and a dash of hot pepper sauce for kick.
Kiwi Chicken Tostada
Six-inch corn tortillas make the base of this jalapeño pepper-enhanced treat. Sandwich sliced kiwi between chicken breast strips and romaine lettuce for the topping.
Kiwi Peach Cobbler
For just 262 calories (and very little cholesterol), you can enjoy this kiwi-enhanced dessert. Basic baking ingredients, fresh peaches, and a few sweet spices finish it off.
Kiwi-Stuffed Puffed Pancakes
Whip up these low-calorie puffed pancakes in 25 minutes and you'll have a breakfast everyone will love. You pick the fruit stuffing, but we love kiwis, strawberries, and peaches.