What is kiwi?
The kiwi ( Actinidia delicious ) is a fruit similar in size to that of a chicken egg, greenish or yellowish in color. Its velvety down gives an exotic aspect to the fruit.
Because of its high concentration of chlorophyll, it keeps its green color even when ripe and even inside. The kiwi pulp is green and the seeds are edible.
It originates in China, but it is produced in different parts of the world, being its biggest exporter, currently, Italy.
The fruit gets its name because of its appearance reminiscent of the Kiwi bird, which lives in New Zealand. In fact, the term can also be written as “quiuí”.
It brings several benefits to the body, from large amounts of vitamins to mineral salts needed by our body. In addition, it reduces cell aging through antioxidants and helps in the prevention of serious diseases.
Rich in fiber and with a low glycemic index, the kiwi helps to lose weight and is suitable for people with diabetes , who may want to avoid fruits due to the amount of glucose present in most of these foods.
Kiwi is a fruit produced worldwide. Currently, there are two very widespread types, kiwi green and kiwi gold.
Produced in the south of Brazil, kiwi green is the classic, with a greenish skin and citrus flavor, slightly sour. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 15 days.
The kiwi gold is not produced in Brazil, and it is a little more expensive than the green brother. The peel, like the pulp, is yellowish in color.
The taste of kiwi gold is sweeter than that of green. Furthermore, this variation has more vitamin C, despite having less magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin K .
The kiwi has several properties that help to improve the health of those who consume it, due to the presence of vitamins and minerals necessary for the proper functioning of our body. Among them are:
Kiwi is very rich in vitamin C. Among commercial fruits, it has the most vitamin C, with the exception of acerola, which only loses to camu-camu, an Amazonian fruit that does not enter as a commercial.
This vitamin has antioxidant properties, besides being essential for our immune system and for the healthy maintenance of the skin.
A single unit of kiwi, depending on the variation of the fruit, has 70mg to 160mg of vitamin C. The recommended daily dose of the substance is approximately 65mg for women and 75mg for men.
Vitamin K is also called an anti-hemorrhagic vitamin for its essential role in blood clotting, as it is part of the synthesis of proteins used in clotting.
The coagulatory process is what causes bleeding to stop even with an open cut. Vitamin K is also involved in the formation of the skeleton and in the maintenance of bones.
Although vitamin C is present in greater amounts in kiwis, vitamin E is the most important antioxidant in fruit.
This vitamin protects cellular phospholipids from the effects of free radicals. Phospholipids are essential for cell protection, as they prevent unwanted molecules from entering cells.
Vitamin B6 is important for the body as it helps with cellular respiration and protein metabolism. It also reduces the body’s fluid retention.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare, being more frequent in people with alcoholism and pregnant women with pre-eclampsia or eclampsia . However, this deficiency can cause anemia , dermatitis , gingivitis and nausea.
Potassium and magnesium
In addition to vitamins, kiwi is also rich in several mineral salts that are extremely important for the body. Source of magnesium and potassium, the fruit has several benefits for the muscles.
These two mineral salts are essential for the process of muscle contraction and relaxation and when our body is lacking them, especially magnesium, cramps can become frequent.
The two types of kiwi have slightly different nutrients. The table below shows the vitamins and minerals present in each one, in addition to the amount and recommended daily value (DV) of that substance that is present in the fruit.
The amounts apply to 100mg of kiwi (approximately one unit of the fruit).
- Vitamin B1: 0.027mg (2% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B2: 0.025mg (2% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B3: 0.341mg (2% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B5: 0.183mg (4% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B6: 0.063mg (5% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B9: 25μg (6% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B12: 0mg (0% of the daily value);
- Vitamin C: 92.7mg (112% of the daily value);
- Vitamin E: 1.46mg (10% of the daily value);
- Vitamin K: 40μg (38% of the daily value);
- Calcium: 34mg (3% of the daily value);
- Copper: 0.13mg (7% of the daily value);
- Iron: 0.31mg (2% of the daily value);
- Magnesium: 17mg (5% of the daily value);
- Manganese: 0.098mg (5% of the daily value);
- Phosphorus: 34mg (5% of the daily value);
- Potassium: 312mg (7% of the daily value);
- Sodium: 3mg (0.15% of the daily value);
- Zinc: 0.14mg (1% of the daily value).
The kiwi gold has:
- Vitamin B1: 0mg (0% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B2: 0.074mg (6% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B3: 0.221mg (2% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B5: 0.12mg (2% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B6: 0.079mg (6% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B9: 31μg (8% of the daily value);
- Vitamin B12: 0.08μg (3% of the daily value);
- Vitamin C: 161.3mg (194% of the daily value);
- Vitamin E: 1.4mg (9% of the daily value);
- Vitamin K: 6μg (6% of the daily value);
- Calcium: 17mg (2% of the daily value);
- Copper: 0.151mg (8% of the daily value);
- Iron: 0.21mg (2% of the daily value);
- Magnesium: 12mg (3% of the daily value);
- Manganese: 0.048mg (2% of the daily value);
- Phosphorus: 25mg (4% of the daily value);
- Potassium: 315mg (7% of the daily value);
- Sodium: 3mg (0.15% of the daily value);
- Zinc: 0.08mg (1% of the daily value).
(*)% Daily Values based on a 2,000 kcal or 8,400 kJ diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower, depending on your energy needs.
The kiwi is a highly nutritious fruit among those sold, being one of the ones with more vitamin C and magnesium per gram. It also contains high amounts of potassium (more than bananas ) and antioxidant effects due to vitamin C and E, which protect cells and skin from aging.
It is a healthy fruit and it is recommended to eat one a week, if not more. Studies indicate that it can bring benefits to the heart and help prevent cancer . Among the benefits of kiwi are:
Vitamin C, in addition to being essential for the immune system and skin cell production, is also an important antioxidant.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are produced by the body naturally and are responsible for part of cell aging and cell deterioration.
This antioxidant action also reduces the effects of bad cholesterol, as it prevents it from oxidizing on the walls of arteries.
Reduces bad cholesterol
In addition to the antioxidant effect that prevents some problems caused by LDL, the bad cholesterol, the kiwi helps to regulate the production of this type of cholesterol, in addition to reducing its absorption by the intestine, which decreases the amount of the substance in the blood.
The antioxidant effects of the fruit increase the effectiveness of the immune system. They also prevent inflammation, allergies and cardiovascular disease, in addition to cancer.
Several substances present in kiwi, such as vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium, are related to sleep improvement by helping in muscle relaxation and in the production of melatonin, which is essential for an adequate night’s sleep.
Helps you lose weight
Due to the high amount of fiber and low sugar content in the fruit, weight loss can be facilitated by eating kiwi. In addition, the fibers help to give you a feeling of satiety, reducing the amount of food needed to make you feel satisfied.
It is also worth mentioning that the kiwi has a low caloric content : around only 62 kcal per unit.
Do not forget, however, that losing weight is not about eating foods that lose weight, but rather not eating in quantity, especially high calorie options.
Relieves irritable bowel syndrome
Because of the large amount of fiber, kiwi is indicated to improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a disease that causes diarrhea , constipation and abdominal pain.
Helps treat diabetes
Kiwi is recommended to help control diabetes, as it is a fruit that has low sugars. With this, blood glucose levels can be more easily balanced.
Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the body, which impairs the production of collagen, which is essential for the body.
After a few weeks without the vitamin, the lack of collagen begins to cause its effects, such as gum pain and lethargy. In three months, gums bleed, joints are sore, bones are fragile and healing is slow. If left untreated, it eventually causes the patient’s death.
Fortunately, the treatment of scurvy is extremely simple: just take vitamin C. Kiwi, by the way, is an excellent source of vitamin C, having more than orange.
The fibers present in the fruit help in the formation of the fecal cake, which passes easier through the intestine, preventing constipation. Care must be taken to stay hydrated, as too many fibers and too little hydration can make constipation worse.
The fruit brings benefits to the hair, helping with growth, hydration and preventing hair loss. It has omega 3, vitamin C and several other nutrients that are good for the skin, hair and the whole body!
You can peel the fruit or eat it with the peel, which has several nutrients and can be consumed – although it does not please everyone’s taste.
The only part of the fruit that is not edible is the small lump on top of it, where the kiwi was connected to the tree. Cut it before eating and don’t forget to wash it.
To find out if the fruit is ripe, squeeze it. If it is hard, it is still green and sour. The skin should be firm, but when squeezed, the fruit should be slightly soft.
It is possible to cut one end and eat with a spoon, avoiding the bark in this way.
There are several recipes that take this fruit which, in addition to being extremely tasty, is also quite aesthetic.
Mousse the kiwi
To make a kiwi mousse you will need:
- 500g of peeled kiwi (approximately 5 units);
- 4 tablespoons of sugar;
- 1 box of condensed milk;
- 1 box of sour cream;
Beat all ingredients in a blender, refrigerate and let cool before serving.
To make a kiwi juice you can use 3 medium peeled and chopped kiwis. Beat them in a blender with a glass of water for a minute and serve, adding sugar or sweetener, in addition to ice, if you prefer.
To this extremely simple recipe, you can add an extra taste. For example, you can add the juice of 3 oranges and a little honey, or use half a glass of milk instead of water.
Kiwi jam is sweet, tasty and easy to make. You will need:
- 1kg of kiwi;
- 800g of sugar.
To make the jam, peel and cook the kiwis well in water until they are soft. Then, whisk them in a blender to break up. Finally, just place the kiwis in a pan with the sugar and cook over low heat, always stirring the mixture, until it reaches the consistency of jelly.
You can adapt the recipe to make less jam, putting only half the amount of each ingredient, for example. Remember to keep in the refrigerator!
To make a kiwi pie you will need:
- 100g of butter;
- 2 egg yolks;
- 4 tablespoons of sugar;
- 2 cups of wheat flour.
For the cream of the pie, you will need:
- 500mL of milk;
- 1 can of condensed milk;
- 2 tablespoons of corn starch;
- Drops of vanilla essence.
For coverage, you will need:
- 2 peeled kiwis cut into slices;
- 1 whole shelled kiwi;
- 1 cup of water;
- ½ cup of sugar;
- 1 spoon of corn starch.
Preparing the kiwi pie is not difficult. Just follow these instructions.
Preheat the oven to medium-low temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks, butter and sugar. After mixing, add the flour little by little, always mixing well. The resulting dough cannot stick to your hands.
Grease the pan with butter so that the pie does not stick, pour the dough into the pan and then place it in the preheated oven. The dough should be baking for about fifteen minutes, long enough for it to be golden brown. With that, the dough is ready.
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until it thickens and forms the cream.
Reserve the kiwi slices. Beat the rest of the ingredients (including the whole kiwi) in a blender until the frosting thickens. Let it cool, take it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then assemble the pie.
Place the cold cream over the dough. Decorate with the kiwi slices and then cover them with the kiwi icing. Take it to the fridge and serve the frozen dessert. Your kiwi pie is ready!
There are several ways to use kiwi in beauty treatments. Here are some that you can do at home. Are they:
Skin cleaning paste
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons yogurt;
- 1 crushed kiwi without peel;
- 1 tablespoon of orange juice;
- 1 cup of carrot puree.
Mix everything, apply it on your face and let it dry. Then, remove the paste from the face. Wash it well before going to the sun as the acids that cleanse the skin, if they stay on it for a long time, especially in contact with the sun, can cause burns and leave spots.
The kiwi facial mask is recommended for oily skin, as its acids help to eliminate this oiliness. To make a kiwi facial mask you will need a peeled kiwi.
Knead the kiwi and apply the mask formed on the face. Leave on the skin for 15 minutes and clean well. You should feel your skin cleaner after that. It is recommended to use facial moisturizer after applying this mask to prevent the skin from becoming dry.
To moisturize your skin with kiwi, you will need:
- 1 peeled kiwi;
- 1 egg yolk;
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and apply the mask on your face, leaving it to act for 15 minutes. Wash your face, preferably with a sponge, and you will feel the difference in the skin.
To make an exfoliating cream with the fruit, you will need:
- 1 kiwi;
- 2 strawberries;
- ½ cucumber.
Mix everything in a processor and use it on your face as an exfoliator. Remember to clean your face after application, as the acid present in the kiwi can cause burns if not properly cleaned.
There are some cases in which kiwi should not be consumed, such as:
Kiwi is a fruit that can trigger reactions of the so – called latex-fruit allergy . Allergy to latex, natural rubber, usually arises after a long period of exposure to the substance, which has several compounds that cause allergic reactions.
Many fruits have some of these compounds in their composition, so it is common to develop an allergy to some of them after the appearance of latex allergy.
The foods that most frequently experience this reaction are bananas and avocados, but kiwis also show considerable allergic capacity. Approximately 40% of patients with latex allergy also experience reactions with the kiwi.
The reaction can cause irritation and itchiness in the throat, in addition to, in the most severe cases, wheezing and anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. If you notice these symptoms after consuming the fruit, see a doctor.
Kiwi is a great source of oxalates, a salt that is usually diluted in the urine, but in case of excess (as if you consume many kiwis in a short time) it can start to accumulate in the body. Over time, stones can form in the kidneys.
Planting kiwis at home is a complex task, but it can result in tasty fruits in your garden. To do this, you will need to have at least two plants, as the trees only bear fruit when there is a female and a male.
In addition, planting takes time. To save time, you can buy a pair of seedlings around the time of fruiting, which will be more expensive, but will also speed up the process.
However, if you want to plant, you should buy young seedlings anyway. The use of seeds is not recommended.
Why not use seeds?
The seeds of the commercialized fruits are not suitable for planting because there is no way to know the gender of each one. As the plant takes up a lot of space, you will hardly be able to plant several to have the chance to have both sexes of the plant and the risks of ending up with two males or two females are great.
In addition to all the effort taken, it is only possible to know the genus of the plants after four years, when the first flowering occurs. So, if you want fruit, planting the seeds is not the right method.
In the purchased seedlings, it is possible to know the genus of the plant, and years of care are not lost so that there are no fruits. In these cases, the genus of the plant is known because these seedlings are made by cutting or grafting , which creates plants genetically identical to adult ones.
Cutting and grafting are methods of asexual reproduction of plants. Thus, the seed is not necessary and the plant generated is a genetic clone of the original.
For cutting, a piece of stem from the mother plant is removed and planted in moist soil. This piece then develops into a seedling. This can be done either through branches, leaves or branches of the original plant.
Grafting, on the other hand, asexual reproduction, happens when the tissue of one plant is joined to another, often of different species. Thus, the top part will bear fruit and the bottom part will nourish the plant.
How do I make my own seedlings?
If you have access to adult kiwi plants, you can make your own seedlings using cuttings. Just remove a stake close to the stem with at least 10cm – preferably one with leaves – and plant it in the soil prepared in a pot for the adaptation of the plant.
Select cuttings from a female plant and a male plant. There are some easy ways to differentiate them.
- Male plants do not bear fruit;
- Flowers are different between the sexes.
Once the cuttings start to develop, you can transfer them to the permanent planting site, be it your garden or a larger pot.
Remember to keep the substrate or the soil of the small pot moist, but not soaked. Keep plants protected from wind and shade.
How to prepare the land?
The land where the planting will take place must be fertilized. You can use chicken or livestock manure, or cured organic compounds. You can also add bone meal, eggshell meal and a little sand to the mix.
When placing the plant in its final location, be sure to leave it close to a wall or fence, as the kiwi is a climbing plant and needs support. The two plants must be separated by 1.5m and up to 30cm from their support.
The depth of the dug hole depends on the size of the clod that comes close to the roots of the small pot. It should be enough to cover this clod. The hole should be wider than the bottom, approximately 150% deep in diameter (that is, if the hole is 10 cm deep, it should be 15 cm in diameter).
The soil used for the planting site must have the same mixture that was in the pot where the seedling grew.
Remember to water the plant weekly.
When will I have kiwis in my garden?
Be patient. The first fruits should appear between 3 and 5 years, depending on the climate of the region where they are planted. Kiwis are resistant to temperature changes and diseases, but can still be affected by them.
Kiwi is a healthy, delicious and peculiar-looking fruit. It is an excellent source of vitamins C, E and K, in addition to bringing several benefits due to its minerals such as magnesium.
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