Most people will get rid of the skin when eating kiwi, but did you know that you can eat kiwi skin? That’s right! Read on to hear about some proven kiwi skin benefits.
Kiwi skin is very edible and has been shown to offer numerous health benefits, including promoting cardiovascular health, boosting digestion, and fighting inflammation, among others.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at kiwi skin benefits, including how to eat it and whether or not it’s suitable for everyone.
What is Kiwi?
Also known as Chinese gooseberry, kiwi, or kiwifruit is a small, fuzzy fruit with greenish-brown skin and bright green or yellow flesh. It’s native to Asia, where it has been cultivated for centuries. Unlike most fruits that grow on trees, kiwi grows on a woody vine, similar to grapes.
While traditional kiwis are green in color, yellow or golden kiwis also exist. This variety was developed by the company Zespri International LTD in northern New Zealand.
Golden kiwi belongs to a different species from the green kiwi but the same genus.
Kiwis are an excellent source of nutrients like vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. They are also a good source of antioxidants that can help fight free radicals and prevent disease.
Kiwifruit has a unique flavor that’s both sweet and tart, and it can be eaten fresh or be used in jams, jellies, and sauces. You can also use it as an ingredient in savory dishes.
Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruit:
- Improves heart health
- Helps fight cancer
- It may lower blood pressure
- Promotes better digestion
- Enhances weight loss
- Creates an alkaline environment in the body
- Prevents DNA damage
- Protects against macular degeneration
- Fights anemia
- Prevents constipation
- Strengthens the immune system
- Beneficial during pregnancy
Kiwi Skin Nutritional Facts
Kiwi skin is highly nutritious, with some of its main nutrients being:
Folate, also known as vitamin B 9, is a water-soluble vitamin from the B complex group of vitamins. It’s essential for the formation of red blood cells and healthy cell growth and function.
Folate can also help a baby’s neural tube develop into their brain and spinal cord during pregnancy. This can help prevent congenital abnormalities like spina bifida.
Fiber is the carbohydrate part of food that cannot be broken down. While most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber passes the digestive tract without being digested. It offers numerous health benefits that you’ll learn about shortly.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin (dissolves in water) mainly known for its antioxidant and immune-boosting benefits. It’s often associated with its ability to relieve viral infections like the common cold and flu, but it can do more than that.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin (absorbed by fat) and a powerful antioxidant needed for immune health and cell signaling.
These are beneficial plant-based compounds. They include flavonoids, phenolic acid, lignans, resveratrol, and polyphenolic amides. Again, you’ll learn more about what polyphenols can do to the body below.
Kiwi Skin Benefits
So, why should you be sure to enjoy the skins of your kiwis? Well, here are a few great reasons:
1. Full of antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural compounds that help fight free radicals in the body. If free radicles are left to accumulate, they may result in a condition known as oxidative stress, which may increase the risk of cell damage and disease development.
Kiwi skins are a great source of various antioxidants. Research even shows that the antioxidant levels in the skin are higher than those in the fruit itself.
So which antioxidants are in the kiwi skin?
For one, kiwi skins are a good source of vitamin C, a water-soluble nutrient that has been shown to fight oxidative stress within the bloodstream and in the cells.
Gold kiwi fruits may provide more vitamin C than the green variety.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant in kiwi skin that can fight free radicles within the cell membrane, thus helping promote its integrity.
Eating kiwifruit with their skin can increase your antioxidant levels by up to 32%.
Kiwi skin is also an incredible source of polyphenols, providing up to 30% of these essential antioxidants.
2. Kiwi skin can boost immunity
The immune system is your body’s defense mechanism against disease-causing pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
It encompasses a network of cells, tissues, organs, proteins, and other chemicals to ensure no intruder survives.
While the body is designed to protect you on its own, certain foods contain specific nutrients that have been shown to boost immune functions.
Kiwi skin is one of those. Its high vitamin E content can help boost immunity and promote your body’s ability to fight infection.
Kiwi skin is also rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to boost immunity by enhancing the functioning of white blood cells in the body.
White blood cells are immune cells that protect your body against infection. They also help fight an existing infection. That’s why the white blood cells are always higher than normal when a blood test is done during a bacterial infection.
Vitamin C can also strengthen your skin’s defense system, which can promote wound healing.
3. It can help fight inflammation
Most chronic conditions today, including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer, were once a simple inflammation that became chronic and created a conducive environment for the diseases to take root.
Kiwi skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to target various stages of the inflammatory cascade.
Polyphenols have also been shown to protect the cells against oxidative stress, which can lead to inflammation and disease development.
4. It can help improve digestion
Kiwi skin is rich in actinidin, an enzyme that promotes protein breakdown in the food. In fact, one study found that actinidin helps break down proteins to a greater extent than digestive juices.
The study suggested that kiwi extract can aid digestion in people looking to achieve faster and more efficient protein digestion, like older adults with impaired digestive abilities or athletes.
5. Kiwi skin is a good source of fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient in the human body. It can perform various functions, including promoting bowel movements and regularity, regulating blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, and promoting weight loss.
Fiber can also help detoxify the body from accumulated wastes and toxins by attaching to them and eliminating them through feces.
All these benefits have been shown to lower the risk of various chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Regarding how much fiber you need, a healthy adult man requires 38 grams of fiber per day, while a healthy adult woman requires 25 grams.
While eating a whole kiwi can provide up to 50% of your daily fiber requirement, the skin of one green kiwi can provide 3.5 grams of fiber, while a gold kiwi can offer up to 3 grams.
This shows that not peeling your kiwis can greatly improve your intake, and even if you do, find ways to incorporate the peels back into the diet
6. It can lower blood pressure
The high levels of antioxidants in kiwi skin can help prevent damage to the cells lining your arteries and reduce inflammation, which can help bring your blood pressure under control.
Besides their skin, kiwis, in their wholesomeness, are known to lower blood pressure due to their various nutrients like fiber and potassium.
In a study done on people with moderately elevated blood pressure, some participants were given three kiwifruits every day for eight weeks, while a control group was assigned an apple.
When 24-h blood pressure was measured, the Kiwi group had improvement in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to an apple a day.
7. Prevents heart disease
Kiwi skin is very high in fiber which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Fiber achieves this by reducing cholesterol levels, the most significant risk factor for heart disease.
Fiber can bind to cholesterol and promote its elimination from the body instead of being absorbed into the blood.
The polyphenols in kiwi skin have also been shown to promote cardiovascular health by improving the function of the inner lining of the heart and the blood vessels, increasing the protective cholesterol (HDL), reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL), inhibiting platelet aggregation, and promoting anti-inflammatory activities.
One study found that polyphenols can be especially effective in preventing coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.
8. Promotes skin health
As a rich source of vitamin C, kiwi skin can boost your skin health, including enhancing collagen production.
Collagen is the main structural protein that supports and strengthens the skin, bones, muscles, and connective tissues.
On the skin, collagen helps maintain elasticity and firmness, which prevents premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
It also promotes wound healing and prevents scar formation.
Additionally, collagen can increase blood flow to the skin, promote hydration, and reduce the visibility of stretch marks.
Vitamin C can also boost the health of your skin by fighting inflammation. This can help prevent or improve various inflammatory conditions of the skin, including acne.
9. Prevent sun damage
The antioxidants in kiwi skin can help scavenge free radicals from too much sun exposure, which may cause skin cell damage leading to premature aging.
The vitamin E in kiwi skin is also a natural nutrient in sebum ( skin oil), which creates a natural barrier that locks moisture in the skin. This can help protect the skin from losing moisture while keeping it smooth and supple.
How Does Kiwi Skin Taste?
Before you get to try eating your kiwis with skin, it’s normal to imagine what kiwi skin tastes like.
To give you an idea, the skin, especially from green kiwis, will be tough and fuzzy. Scrubbing them with a tough sponge or a mild brush can help remove some of it, but it won’t all come off.
In terms of the taste, it’s more like that of kiwi flesh but with some bitterness and extra tartness.
How to Eat Kiwi Skins?
Start by making the right selection in the grocery store. Small kiwis are best for eating whole since they have less fuzz than bigger ones.
Use a slightly firm bristle-produce brush to clean the skin under cold running water. You can also scrub with a rough sponge. This will help remove dirt, germs, and pesticides.
You can further achieve this by soaking the kiwi in baking soda for 15 minutes and then rinsing it with clean running water.
Scrubbing also helps remove extra hair making the skin smooth and easy to eat.
Go for the golden kiwi! While green kiwis are the most common, golden ones have a fuzz-free skin, making them more palatable.
Slice or dice it! While you can easily bite an apple, biting through a kiwi may not sit well with some people.
Slicing it into small cubes can make it more presentable and trick your mind into eating each and every piece of it.
Put it in a smoothie! Blending a whole kiwi is the easiest way to enjoy this fruit without the struggle to chew through the skin. Add it to any of your favorite smoothie recipes and enjoy!
Side Effects of Kiwi Skin
While the skin of a kiwi may seem harmless, not everyone can have the pleasure of enjoying it.
For example, kiwi skin is very high in oxalate than the inner flesh making it unsuitable for people at risk of kidney stones. This may include those with a previous history of kidney stones.
Oxalates can easily combine with calcium causing stones to form. While there are different forms of kidney stones, 80% are made up of calcium oxalate.
Kiwi skin can also cause allergies in some people. And since kiwi allergies have commonly been reported, people with severe allergies (not necessarily related to kiwi) should avoid them.
Related Articles About Kiwi:
While most people dislike and often discard kiwi skin, it’s clear that it can benefit your health. It’s a good source of fiber, vitamins C and E, antioxidants, and folate, all of which can benefit your heart.
That being said, kiwi skin is high in oxalate, which can increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals.
So if you have a previous history of the same, kiwi skin may not be good for you. If you often experience severe allergies, you may also want to avoid it.
Otherwise, you can enjoy kiwi skin in smoothies or cut the whole fruit into small pieces and enjoy.
More articles about fruit:
- Best Fruits for Heart Health
- Best Immunity Boosting Fruits
- Zinc Rich Fruits
- Best Fruits for Diabetics
- Dry Fruit Benefits
- Best Fruits for Backpacking
- Fruits to Eat During Pregnancy
- Best Fruit for Eye Health
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