Can eating kiwifruit improve constipation and perhaps positively impact overall gut health? Let’s take a closer look.
Two kiwifruits (one serving) are fiber-rich and provides a nice dose of both vitamin C and E. In fact, one serving of kiwifruit provides 230% of your daily vitamin C needs, 10% of Vitamin E and 4 grams of fiber. Oh…and kiwifruit is low FODMAP! (But, I bet you already knew that!)
For those of you with a sluggish gut… eating kiwifruit might help improve your constipation. Kiwifruit impacts gut function via a number of proposed mechanisms. For instance, the fiber in kiwifruit has a high water holding capacity which seems to play a key role in increasing stool bulk and laxation. Kiwis contain Actinidin: a digestive enzyme that breaks down protein, improves gastric emptying and is thought to facilitate laxation via stimulating receptors in the colon. This enzyme is contained primarily in green Hayward kiwifruit, with reduced levels in the SunGold variety.
William D. Chey, MD, AGAF, FACG, Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan weighs in on the potential for kiwifruit to improve constipation, “There are now a small number of studies from the far east and New Zealand which demonstrate benefits of kiwi for constipation. The precise mechanism by which kiwi improves constipation is unknown but potential reasons include fiber supplementation and prebiotic effects. Other mechanisms are also being studied at present. At University of Michigan, we are planning a randomized, controlled trial which will look at the clinical and microbiome related effects of kiwifruit in US patients with constipation. We hope to get started in 2018.”
A clinical trial which has recently been completed in New Zealand, Japan and Italy, was designed to determine the efficacy of kiwifruit as a treatment for the relief of constipation and for reduction in gastrointestinal discomfort. In each participating country, 20 healthy people, 20 people with IBS with constipation (IBS-C) and 20 people with functional constipation (FC) were recruited. Preliminary research indicates that a daily serving of green kiwifruit helps increase the number of bowel movements per week as well the ease of passing stool. The preliminary findings meet the FDA criteria for being a clinically effective approach to relieve constipation …move over bad-tasting fiber powders and supplements!
Interested to learn more about kiwifruit and health?
Abstracts presented at the 1st International Symposium on kiwifruit have more info on the many health benefits of kiwi and can be accessed here. This review provides numerous research and summary reports about green kiwifruit, gastrointestinal function and overall health suggesting kiwifruit is important to include as part of a healthy diet, with additional benefits for those affected by constipation and IBS-C.
A recent (May 2017) published review of the current evidence on green kiwifruit and gastrointestinal function continues to support its positive role. This article provides a great primer on digestion and pathophysiology of constipation as well. The science nerd in me loved this article! 🙂
So…if you’re troubled by constipation, perhaps ask your dietitian or GI doctor about adding 2 kiwifruits a day to your diet to see if it helps get things moving.
Can kiwifruit help improve gut health beyond constipation relief?
More research is needed but it is possible. Dr. Chey’s study at U. Michigan will be interesting to follow to see what impact kiwifruit consumption has on the microbiome. There are numerous factors that impact our gut health from our genetic makeup, environmental factors and of course, our diet. To better understand the impact of diet on our gut health and our gut microbiome, let’s start with the definition of prebiotic which was recently changed by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), an association of academic and industrial scientists involved in research of probiotics and prebiotics. The recently updated definition of a prebiotic is “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit.”
The news about the prebiotic terminology update is published in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
This new definition expands the definition of prebiotics to a more liberalized category to include food components beyond fiber such as polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-based chemical compounds that act as antioxidants which help protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals and ultimately reduce risk of chronic disease. Polyphenols may act as a substrate utilized by our host microorganisms to provide health benefits. The microbes in our gut convert polyphenols into active and bioavailable metabolites. Animal studies show that the polyphenols in kiwifruit are metabolized by gut microbes. More research in humans is needed. Understanding the impact of diet on our gut microbiome is a complex area of research as we each have our very own gut microbial fingerprint. Other foods with polyphenols include some of my favorite foods: dark chocolate, berries, and yes, kiwifruit. I will be talking about the potential gut health benefits of cocoa and dark chocolate in an upcoming post!
Kiwi is quite delicious dipped in dark chocolate. A great way to up your fiber and polyphenols, right? 🙂
If you have my book, The 21 Day Tummy Diet check out the Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato and Kiwi Salad recipe for a yummy low FODMAP kiwifruit based dish! Even though the science with gut health is evolving quickly, I have to say the tenets of this New York Times Best Seller, The 21 Day Tummy Diet, published 4 years ago remain spot on! There is so much great info about the role of gut microbes, inflammation, and the low FODMAP diet in this book!
Want some kiwifruit swag? Enter my give-a-way!
Zespri, the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit and a grower-owned company, will provide a fun give-a-way to two of my followers! Two winners will be randomly selected to win Zespri’s swag: A fun fruit infuser water bottle, lunchbox, spifes (knife on one side, spoon on the other) and SunGold Kiwifruit! Just let me know how you enjoy kiwifruit in the comment section and you will be entered to win the Zespri kiwifruit swag. Good luck!
62 replies on “Take 2 Kiwifruits & Call Me in the Morning!“
I eat a kiwi fruit every morning now, and based on what you wrote, may add one later in the day. It took me a while to get the hang of removing the fruit from the skin (see youtube videos!), but I got it. (Hint: after you cut off the two ends and stick a spoon in between the fruit and skin to remove the fruit, hold the spoon down by the spoon part – not up the handle. More control. A little wrist action and done.)
But now I just slice off the two ends, cut the remainder into two nice slices, cut those two slices in half and pick them up to eat. Easy peasy finger food.
Love the user friendly details, Beth!
I love kiwi peeled and sliced thick. Yum! A good from my childhood that I rarely pick up as an adult. I’m so happy you featured kiwi because now I am inspired to get some asap! Thanks!
Peeled and diced! I don’t much like the skin but am curious if the research indicates whether subjects ate whole kiwifruits or peeled (the skin contains a lot of fiber and is edible, so I’m interested to know if that’s key).
The research studies have been done w/ skin off or peeled. The SunGold variety has a hairless skin that many people eat–and that will up the fiber.
As I’m from NZ I grew up with kiwifruit, and can remember when they were called Chinese gooseberries! Also knew from 30 years ago that my father could not eat more than 2 kiwifruit as the laxative effect was too evident, so science is finally catching up 🙂 but unfortunately doesn’t seem to have that effect on me. Btw, thanks for calling them kiwifruit and not just ‘kiwi’! Love, love, love the gold variety the best.
Any research on its effects on those with IBS-D?
Not sure Heather.
I often add kiwi to my strawberries and blueberries mix for my daily fruit. Now I will always add it! Thanks for the tip!
My favorite way to eat kiwi is peeled and diced then added to lactose free plain yogurt. I top with 1 T. of chia seeds and a drizzle of pure maple syrup…yum!
My mother loved kiwi fruit and said it reminder her of gooseberries back in Sweden. I enjoy kiwi out of hand and also sliced over my salad! Yum!
I love scooping out the yummy green fruit with a spoon, but seeing the chocolate dipped slices I may have to change my mode of consuming my next kiwi!
Yes, try those dark chocolate dipped kiwifruit!
Love kiwifruit just about any way! Especially enjoy it sliced & diced into my lactose free cottage cheese for a nice boost of natural sweetness to my protein packed breakfast before heading out for the golf course! Thanks for the informative article which I will share with a friend who has IBS-C (just the opposite of me ).
My favorite way to eat kiwi is to cut off a small slice & then eat it with a spoon right out of the skin. Yumm! I will definitely increase to 2 a day now. Thank you for this article, Kate!
I loved your Kiwi Sweet Potato Chicken recipe from your book! Don’t have IBS-C, but IBS-D so I am wondering how kiwi impacts that.
Love that kiwis have more vitamin C per unit of volume than many citrus fruits! I always stock up on it during cold season!
I rarely ever ate kiwi before my digestive issues led me to the low fodmap diet. Now I have them every single day at the end of my lunch (as my dessert!). How did I ever live without these wonderfully sweet and tasty bad boys?
Spice in half the long way, slide a spoon in between the skin and FRUIT downward with mild pressure and a bit of a twist of the wrist, gently scoop the fruit up and out of its convenient thin natural container… lift to mouth, open wide and enjoy the sweet juicy kiwi! YUMMY! The perfect two bite delight!
Slice in half the long way, slide a spoon in between the skin and FRUIT downward with mild pressure and a bit of a twist of the wrist, gently scoop the fruit up and out of its convenient thin natural container… lift to mouth, open wide and enjoy the sweet juicy kiwi! YUMMY! The perfect two bite delight!
Love them on their own, or sliced and added to a few wild blueberries, as a mini fruit salad. The sun gold variety is my favorite!
I usually just slice kiwi and eat it alone. I will be trying some of the suggestions listed here!
Hi Kate, Thank you for sharing such detailed info about kiwi fruit. I started eating them to increase my fiber content because I have IBS-C, but recently forgot all about them. Going to get some today. I usually just cut in half and eat it with a spoon right out of the skin. Yum!!!
My mother told me the same thing about eating kiwi and said it helps her. I always add a kiwi to my daily fruit salad. I think I need to starting adding 2 to help move things along! Thanks for the confirmation. Dipped in chocolate sounds like a great idea for an evening snack. I would love to win some free swag too!
I have been using kiwi for my low-FODMAP + gastroparesis diet, which restricts fiber for slow-motility stomachs. Although there is fiber in a kiwi, I am not worried that it will create a bezoar (fiber wad like a hairball) in stomach. When I put peeled kiwi into a blender concoction, after I zoom it for a while, I let it sit and then I am careful not to pour out the last of the blend–jar retains many of the seeds that way. Recently had a conversation with a Japanese woman in the grocery about the two kinds of kiwis, the gold and the green. She said that she sticks to the green type because the gold is much sweeter and is more problematic for diabetics. That might also apply to FODMAPs I assume.
The gold tend to be a bit bigger–so slightly more sugar. There are a few varieties of gold kiwifruit–but here is Zespri’s nutrition facts for green and the SunGold variety: http://www.zesprikiwi.com/nutrition/zespri-nutrition-charts/ Bear in mind SunGold are slightly larger which factors into their slight increase in sugar component somewhat. As a clinician, I would allow both varieties for my diabetic patients! Both green and gold kiwifruit have been tested as low FODMAP.
I love chilled and sliced kiwi fruit all on its own. One of my very favorite fruits because it never upsets my tummy like so many other fruits do. When I have guests over for breakfast, I sometimes cut a kiwi in small chunks and make skewers with it along with strawberries and blueberries.
I cut the kiwi in half, scoop out with a spoon, and enjoy. Kids love them too!
I love just cutting the Sungold kiwi in half and eating with a spoon. Usually I end up sharing half with my daughter who is 4 and recently told me her favorite food is kiwi
Thanks Kate! I don’t typically eat kiwi, but will become a permanent part of my daily intake! I can use all the help I can get! 🙂 ps – does peeling have any effect? I usually like to peel my kiwi. 🙂
I love that one kiwi fruit is the perfect size for my frouctose-intolerant digestive system. My favorite way to eat it is on gluten-free french toast with powdered sugar sprinkled over the top! Yum! (That way I can eat more french toast after I have finished my one tablespoon of maple syrup) 🙂
I have been eating that wonderful, tasty, green fruit called Kiwi for more than 35 years. And I am delighted to hear that it has been found to have the properties that can help people with their health problems. I just love Kiwi’s they are a welcome treat or a desert after a meal and my son will add a kiwi to his smoothie.
I enjoy kiwi with blueberries and strawberries. They jazz up any fruit salad!
Kate-thanks for the great information in this article. Born and raised in Michigan I loved hearing the wealth of knowledge you shared from the University of Michigan. It’s a great school. I have several relatives who have graduated from U of M. Even though I no longer live in MI (I’ve been in CA for 42 years now), I have many fond memories of MI.
I like to eat green kiwis just plain with the fuzzy skin removed. I love the sweet/tartness flavor kiwis offer. I typically arrange them on a platter with other fruit, sliced horizontally so the pretty design of the seeds show. Because I’m having a variety of other fruits at the same time I’m eating kiwis, I usually just have a slice or two, which is a perfect compliment to other sweeter fruits like grapes. I would love to win one of the Zespri’s swag give-a-way you are offering.
What great ideas already on the comments board! I love kiwi blueberry smoothies, usually I mix coconut water, kiwi, blueberries and chia seeds! Delicious & not-too-sweet smoothie.
I eat them sliced with a dollop of natural almond butter! So yummy.
Yum! Love kiwi. Bring on the gold and the green. I don’t have IBS-C. But, have not noticed an issue with eating them.
I love kiwi… I cut them in 1/2 and eat it with a spoon like a little bowl. They are one of my favorite fruits!
Great info !
Love love kiwi !
I love them plain .. I love them dipped in dark chocolate !
Also love adding sliced Kiwi and pecans to a tossed salad .. So good !
Lynn A. Reynolds
I love kiwi au natural. I’ll cut them in half and then scoop them out with a spoon. I tried them in water with cucumber but found that the cuke overpowered the flavor of the kiwi. I do have a question. I’ve had to start taking two high doses of iron, for at least the next three months. I’m not having issues with constipation yet even though that is one of the side effects. Will I have issues between the kiwi and the iron pill? Thank you.
Hi Lynn, the vitamin C in kiwifruit should aid absorption of the iron supplement. I often recommend Gentle Iron by Solgar–which is tolerated by my gut sensitive patients–if you seem bothered by your current supplement–you might discuss w/ your doctor if this might be a gentler option for you.
I love starting my morning with a blueberry choc mint smoothie bowl, topped with a sliced kiwi fruit (so pretty!), coconut flakes and cacao nibs. A wonderful start to the day 🙂
I have IBS-C and GERD and am on a fairly restricted food/diet plan. I also take significant amounts of Citrucel. Kiwifruit is now on my shopping list. I cannot wait to try it!
WOW! It would be great if the humble kiwi fruit could be so GI-healthy as well as tasty!
Please sign me up for the Kiwi Giveaway.
Great information and I for one am pumped about the give away opportunity. ! I’ve always enjoyed kiwi in the most boring way – just straight up peeled and sliced. I may have to try some next level kiwi earring now. Thanks !
Will have to share this with some dear friends. Maybe they can replace those nasty fiber supplements they need. Sure has been a while since I have eaten kiwi, so now it is going on my shopping list!
My favorite way to eat is to slice off just the top after washing the fruit. Take a knife and cut off just enough of one end to expose the flesh. Then I just grab a spoon and dig in! It’s easy to hold as you scoop out that tasty tropical delight!!
Kate @ Kate Lives Healthy
I like kiwi on their own. I always forget about them but saw the the other day at Costco and need to pick some up!
I like them in a fruit salad w/ mango and raspberries.
Question: Is most the fiber in the seeds? My dd doesn’t tolerate the seeds, seem to bother her stomach, so I am curious if trying to remove some of the seeds would help, or if taking them out is going to be taking away all the fiber. Or, I may have to try using my NutriBullet to see if I can grind the seeds up and try them in a smoothie.
Sorry for the delay, Deborah. Here is the response from the kiwi research folks: “All of the fiber
(that we gain benefit from) is from the flesh and, if people eat it, the skin, but NOT the seeds. Neither the human digestive system, nor bacterial fermentation, is able to break down seeds and they pass through and out with our bowel movements.
Jane W Young
I feel like a newbie to all of this and am thrilled to learn more! My doctor gave me your website and I’ve been reading it ever since! Kiwis are one of my favorite things to eat, and now I’m going to be eating them every day!! Thank you for all the amazing information and guidance!!
Glad you stopped by Jane! Good news…you are one of the kiwi swag winners! Can you kindly email your mailing address and we’ll get the Kiwi swag out to you. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoy eating kiwifruit for afternoon tea. I chop it up and top with yoghurt and cinnamon, and then cover with fodmap friendly cereal. It makes a lovely healthy crunchy layered snack that gets me through to my evening meal.
Sometimes I just need a little something sweet after lunch. So I’ll peel a kiwi and cut it in wedges – hits the spot! Dipping them in chocolate would be the frosting on the cake!
I also love kiwi just about any way! I think my favorite thing about them is the gorgeous green color, which adds so much to a fruit tray or bowl. I do have trouble finding them at just the right stage of ripeness — neither too hard nor too squishy. Is there a helpful secret to share about that?
Kiwi fruit is a great snack. Just cut it in half and scoop with your spoon!! Yummy 🙂
You are one of the winners of the Kiwi swag! Please email your mailing address to me –email@example.com
I rarely eat kiwi, but after readingvthus, it will now be on my weekly shopping list.
I love kiwi and eat at least one almost every day. I just cut out in half and scoop it out with a spoon, yummy!
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