The kiwifruit, often shortened to kiwi in many parts of the world, is the edible berry of a cultivar group of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa and hybrids between this and other species in the genus Actinidia. This name "kiwifruit" comes from the kiwi — a brown flightless bird and New Zealand's national symbol, and also a colloquial name for the New Zealand people. Jack Turner came up with the name "Kiwifruit" around 1962 as part of Turners & Growers marketing response to this feedback and the name became a global brand. This fruit had a long history before it was commercialised as kiwifruit and therefore had many other older names.
Kiwifruit is a rich source of vitamin C (more than oranges). 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 fats, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 75 mg vitamins and 2.6 g dietary fiber.
The kiwifruit skin is edible and contains high amounts of dietary fiber. Kiwifruit is often reported to have mild laxative effects, due to the high level of dietary fiber. Raw kiwifruit is also rich in the protein-dissolving enzyme actinidin, (in the same family of thiol proteases as papain), which is commercially useful as a meat tenderizer but can be an allergen for some individuals. The most common symptoms are unpleasant itching and soreness of the mouth, with the most common severe symptom being wheezing. Severe symptoms are most likely to occur in young children.
Actinidin also makes raw kiwifruit unsuitable for use in desserts containing milk or any other dairy products which are not going to be served within hours, because the enzyme soon begins to digest milk proteins. This applies to gelatin-based desserts as well, as the actinidin will dissolve the collagen proteins in gelatin very quickly, either liquifying the dessert, or preventing it from solidifying. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that cooking the fruit for a few minutes before adding it to the gelatin will overcome this effect. Sliced kiwi fruit has long been regularly used as a garnish at told whipped cream on New Zealand's national dessert, the pavlova. It can also be used in curry.
Natural blood thinner: Kiwi fruit serves as a natural blood thinner. A recent study performed at the University of Oslo in Norway reveals that—similar to popular mainstream aspirin therapy—consuming two to three kiwifruit daily for 28 days significantly thins the blood, reducing the risk of clots, and lowers fat in the blood that can cause blockages.
Anti Oxidant properties of Kiwi Fruit: It is important to note that kiwi fruits contain a remarkable amount of Vitamin C, E and A. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that has been proven to protect our body from free radicals, dramatically improving the health of individuals who consumed it regularly against all kinds of disease, from cardiovascular problems to cancer and obesity. Vitamin E has been proven to have similar effects, but is fat-soluble and thus is complimentary to Vitamin C in its functions. Kiwi fruits contain both these vitamins in high amount, which help protect our body against free radicals from all fronts. The high content in dietary fiber helps improving diseases such as diabetes, by controlling sugar levels, and colon cancer, since fiber binds to toxic compounds in the colon and helps us expel them. Fiber has also been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, improving the conditions of patients with cardiovascular diseases and lowering the probability of heart attacks.
Kiwifruit can be grown in most temperate climates with adequate summer heat. The plants are normally dioecious, meaning that individual plants are male or female. Only female plants bear fruit, and only when pollenized by a male plant. One male pollenizer is required for each three to eight female vines. An exception is the cultivar 'Issai', a hybrid from Japan, which produces perfect flowers and can self-pollinate; unfortunately it lacks vigour, is less hardy than most A. arguta forms and is not a large producer.
Kiwifruit is notoriously difficult to pollinate because the flowers are not very attractive to bees. Some producers blow collected pollen over the female flowers. But generally the most successful approach is saturation pollination, where the bee populations are made so large that bees are forced to use this flower because of intense competition for all flowers within flight distance.
Precaution: Specifically, people allergic to latex, papayas or pineapples are likely to be allergic to kiwifruit. The fruit also contains calcium oxalate crystals in the form of raphides. Reactions to these chemicals include sweating, tingling and sore mouth or throat; swelling of the lips, tongue and face; rash; vomiting and abdominal pain, heartburn and in the most severe cases, breathing difficulties.
Lecturer, Deptt. Kayachikitsa,
Dyanand Ayurvedic college, Mahatma Hans Raj Marg, G.T. Jalandhar-144008 (Pb.)