ABOUT KIWIFRUITThe kiwifruit is a fruit with a very interesting history and whose recent rise in popularity reflects a combination of an appreciation for its taste, nutritional value, unique appearance and, surprisingly, its changing name.

Native to China, kiwifruits were originally known as Yang Tao. They were brought to New Zealand from China by missionaries in the early 20th century with the first commercial plantings occurring several decades later. In 1960, they were renamed Chinese Gooseberries.

In 1961, Chinese Gooseberries made their first appearance at a restaurant in the United States and were subsequently "discovered" by an American produce distributor who felt that the U.S. market would be very receptive to this uniquely exotic fruit. She initiated the import of these fruits into the United States in 1962, but to meet what was felt to be burgeoning demand, changed its name from Chinese Gooseberry to kiwifruit, in honor of the native bird of New Zealand, the Kiwi, whose brown fuzzy coat resembled the skin of this unique fruit. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading commercial producers of kiwifruit.

NUTRITIONKiwifruit is a rich source of Vitamin C, 1.5 times the DRI scale in the USA per 100 grams. Its potassium content by weight is slightly less than that of a banana. It also contains Vitamin E and a small amount of Vitamin A. The skin is a good source of flavonoid antioxidants. The kiwifruit seed oil contains on average 62% alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. Usually a medium size kiwifruit contains about 46 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g dietary fiber found partly in the edible skin. Kiwifruit is often reported to have mild laxative effects, due to its significant level of dietary fiber.

Kiwifruit components, possibly involving Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids from its numerous edible seeds, have potential properties of a natural blood thinner. A study performed at the University of Oslo in Norway reported consuming two to three kiwifruit daily for 28 days significantly reduced platelet aggregation and blood triglyceride levels (similar to popular mainstream aspirin therapy), potentially reducing the risk of blood clots.

Kiwifruit is a natural source of carotenoids, such as provitamin A beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Read the health benefits of Kiwifruit