Two Little Cheers for Kiwi

I was having some trouble deciding what to write about, so I looked for help at home — I asked my twin four-year-old girls. When I mentioned kiwi as a possible topic, their overwhelmingly excited response came to me in full stereo. "I want some!"
 
Luckily I still had a few left in our family fruit bowl. So I cut the brown fuzzy oval in half, revealing the vibrant green and speckled flesh. I then scooped it out of the skin with a large spoon and sliced it. Both of my girls were waiting excitedly for the yummy treat.
 
Kiwi is one of the few green colored foods my girls like. Next to the avocado, it probably ranks second, above broccoli with its bushy tree-like florets. Kiwi is tangy, sweet and juicy. And, as luck would have it, it's a fruit that's quick to serve. That's why I developed my cut and scoop method – it's far easier for me than wrestling with that darn peeler which is rather dull by now.
 
At just 110 calories per cup, kiwi is packed with heart-healthy nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin C — a one-cup serving provides over two times the recommendation for adult females — and it is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin A. It is also a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that's necessary for fluid regulation and heart rhythm; and it contains bone-strengthening minerals calcium and magnesium; and one cup of sliced kiwi also contains 5 grams of fiber. And, if all that weren't enough, the seeds actually possess antioxidant benefits! Did you know those tiny seeds contain omega-3s?
 
Here are some more fun facts:

 

  • With its origins in China, it was considered a delicacy for its emerald green color and bedazzling flavor.
  • Kiwi was introduced to California in the early 1960s. Today California produces 98 percent of the kiwifruit grown in the U.S.
  • You can actually eat the skin! It triples the fiber and helps preserve the vitamin C content, according to California Kiwi Commission. Just be sure to rinse it as you would with any fruit.
  • It might help you sleep better! The consumption of kiwifruit before bed may improve sleep quality, according to the authors of a study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Twenty-four subjects, aged 20-55, consumed two kiwis each night before bed over a course of four weeks. The researchers determined that sleep time and quality were significantly improved.

Serving Up Kiwi
My girls enjoy it right out of the skin, and so do I. But kiwi is a nice sweet complement to Greek yogurt and is most certainly a colorful, tasty addition to a tropical fruit salad garnished with dried grated coconut. Recently I've found it blends well into my smoothie of greens, adding a tangy sweetness to a combination such as chard, apple, lemon and ginger.

How do you enjoy kiwi?

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Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD
Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, is owner and nutritional consultant for Nutri Savvy, a lifestyle program with an intuitive sensory approach to food. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.