Kiwi is a fruit named after the national bird of New Zealand. However, the Kiwi actually originated from China, in the Yangtze Valley region. The Kiwis were most enjoyed by the great Khans for their particular flavor and beautiful jade green coloring. In the mid 1800’s the spread of this magnificent fruit was the result of missionaries traveling the world not only spreading the word, but spreading the seed. Arriving in New Zealand, the climate was most appropriate to grow this fruit, which at that time, was called the Chinese Gooseberry. As the fruit gained popularity and New Zealand realized the profits of exporting the fruit, it then became known as the “Kiwi” after the national bird. In the early 1960’s, a world traveler from California loved the fruit he had tasted down under. He continually requested his grocer find a produce importer. The Kiwi finally found its place on the American plate. Today, California delivers 95% of the Kiwi for US consumption. Presently there are three types of Kiwi: Green Kiwi – the most recognizable and popular. It has brown fuzzy skin and bright jade green flesh with black seeds. Baby Green Kiwi – is the approximate size of a grape. It is berry like and has a smooth skin. Gold Kiwi – was first grown in New Zealand in the 1980’s and is fairly new to the US markets. The taste is similar to the Green Kiwi but it has the essence of mango. It is similar in appearance to the Green Kiwi but the skin is almost fuzz free and has a bronze appearance. The nutritive value is what makes this jewel a Superfood. Vitamin C – Each serving of kiwi fruit has nearly two-and-a-half times the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. Being an antioxidant in the body, it neutralizes free radicals that can cause damage to cells and lead to problems such as inflammation and cancer. Important to note, adequate intake of Vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, and for preventing conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease. Vitamin C also supports the immune system. Lutein – A phytonutrient that helps prevent or decrease macular degeneration and age related eye disease. Potassium – One serving of Kiwi has more potassium than a banana. It is a good replenisher of electrolytes to restore balance and energy to the system. Fiber – Two Kiwis have more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal. This fiber helps regulate digestion. Due to the nature of the enzymes present, Kiwis can have a mild laxative effect relieving constipation in some individuals. Magnesium – Two Kiwis contain 30 mg of Magnesium which helps to improve neuro function and boost energy. Zinc – Zinc can help with the stimulation of hormone production. Vitamin E – This is a most unusual place to find this vitamin because it is fat soluble and mostly found in nuts and oils. Kiwis are a great source of nutrition for heart health. They help lower triglyceride levels and unlike aspirin can reduce platelet clotting with no side effects of gastrointestinal bleeding and discomfort. The decrease in the clotting activity lessens the development of atherosclerosis and vascular build up of plaque. Choose Kiwis that are plump and not overripe. You may also eat the skin on all Kiwi fruits. Just wash and rub the fuzz. The skin, as in all other fruits, is very nutritious. So when thinking of a nutritious snack, pick up a Kiwi or two. Eat them whole, sliced cubed, tossed in salads, in smoothies, or mixed with other fruits topped with yogurt. Best regards, Mrs. Athena Bell Exec VP IFPA
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