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Kiwi is a nutrient-packed fruit, essential for our overall health as well as the health of our skin. The combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids found in the humble kiwi promotes a number of skin-loving benefits, from moisturizing to anti-aging.
In this article, we'll find out more about the small but mighty kiwifruit and its potential benefits for the skin.
Skin-Loving Nutrients Found in Kiwi
Kiwifruit, or Actinidia chinensis, is native to eastern and central China. It's also called the Chinese gooseberry as it's essentially a berry with several different species: A. arguta, A. chinensis, A. deliciosa, A. eriantha, A. indochinensis, A. polygama, A. setosa. They all come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, but the one that we know best is A. deliciosa, or the fuzzy kiwifruit.
Amazingly, all parts of the kiwi plant are nutrient-dense, including its root, leaves, vines, and of course, fruit. It contains compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and protective properties, delivering some amazing health benefits as well as benefits for our skin, like fighting oxidative stress and aging [source].
So, let's break down the chemical composition of kiwifruit and find out how they can befit the skin.
Kiwi Is Rich in Vitamin C
The most distinctive nutritional value of kiwi is its high content of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for the healthy functioning of our bodies as well as our skin. It's necessary for the synthesis of collagen. Plus, it acts as a powerful antioxidant, scavenging free radicals and protecting our skin's DNA from oxidative stress [source], therefore, preventing premature aging.
Kiwi Is Rich in Vitamin E
Kiwifruit is a rich source of vitamin E – namely, two forms of this vitamin, α-tocopherol and δ-tocomonoenol [source]. Vitamin E is a part of lipoproteins that form cell membranes. Therefore, vitamin E is essential for maintaining the skin's moisture barrier and protecting the skin from outside influences. In addition, just like vitamin C, vitamin E is also a strong antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radicals damage [source], and keeping it soft, smooth, and supple.
Kiwi Is Rich in Folate
Besides papayas and oranges, there's no other fruit with a higher folate content than kiwifruit, specifically green and gold kiwifruit [source]. Folate, or folic acid, is essentially vitamin B, necessary for the proper functioning of our cells. Besides preventing cardiovascular diseases and age-related neurological conditions, folic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, treating a variety of inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis [source].
Kiwi Is Rich in Antioxidants
Besides vitamins C and E, kiwifruit contains an abundance of other antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, chlorophylls, quinic acid, and phenolics [source]. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids necessary for both eye and skin health. These compounds are naturally present in the skin, protecting it from UV radiation and sunlight-induced damage [source]. In addition, these antioxidants have skin-lightening effects and can improve the overall skin tone and texture [source].
Kiwi Contains Unique Amino Acids
Kiwi contains unique enzymes and proteins, such as actinidin and kiwellin [source]. Proteins are essential for maintaining a healthy function and structure of the upper layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. In addition, proteins, or, in this case, cysteine proteases, reduce skin dryness and scaling [source].
Kiwi Contains Polysaccharides
According to a 2005 study, polysaccharides, a type of sugar, found in kiwi have a stimulating effect on collagen synthesis in human skin as well as the proliferation of keratinocytes. Collagen is a structural framework in our skin, maintaining its supple and youthful feel and look. While keratinocytes make up almost 90% of cells found in the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin, as well as the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin or the skin's barrier.
Is It OK to Eat Kiwi Skin?
Without any doubt, many people like to eat kiwi, but most skip the kiwi skin. However, kiwi skin, like its meat, contains a high concentration of nutrients, especially fiber and vitamin E. Kiwi skin also contains many antioxidants. In fact, there are more of them in the skin itself than there are in the flesh of the fruit.
Still, when eating your kiwis, you probably peel off the skin and eat only the juicy green flesh of the fruit. This is simply because it has an unpleasant taste and texture. But it is edible! The hairy surface of the kiwi skin can be easily removed by lightly rubbing the fruit with a towel or cloth, or gently scraping it with a spoon. If you plan to try kiwi skin, choose smaller fruits. Smaller fruits usually have softer skin and fuzz.
Potential Risks of Eating Kiwifruit
Eating kiwis is considered safe for most people. The exceptions are those who are allergic to it. Signs of an allergy to kiwi include itchy throat, swollen tongue, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and rash. The risk of allergy to kiwi increases if you are also allergic to hazelnuts, avocados, wheat, figs, or poppy seeds.
In rare cases, kiwi, like other berries, can thin the blood. With that in mind, if you have a bleeding disorder or are preparing for surgery, avoid eating kiwis.
4 Tasty Ways to Add Kiwi to Your Diet
There are many ways to include kiwis in your diet and thus increase your nutrient intake. It is the best, or to be more precise, the healthiest when eaten raw. You can keep it at room temperature for a few days and in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Of course, you can eat plain kiwi. If you're not a fan of kiwi skin taste, you can cut a kiwi in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
However, for those of you with particularly sensitive taste buds, plain kiwis might be too sour. So here are several suggestions on how you can add raw kiwi to your diet:
Cut one kiwi, one smaller peach, and half a banana into smaller cubes and put them in a glass. Then add three tablespoons of Greek yogurt on top and a little bit of honey. Enjoy the creamy, sweet, and sour combination – it's a really refreshing and satisfying treat!
Make a delicious green smoothie with kiwis and yogurt or milk. If you want some additional fruit energy, mix kiwi, pineapple, mango, and strawberry slices with some milk and blend; and if you want an extra green experience, use kiwi, spinach, and an apple.
Whether you want a healthy dessert or some fast breakfast option for your busy mornings, you can make a quick snack with kiwis and granola. Again use Greek yogurt as a base, and add chopped kiwi and granola on top. Top it off with some coarsely ground walnuts, mix everything together, and savor!
Add It to You Greens
If you want to add some extra spice to your salads, put kiwi on top. Wash a bunch of baby spinach and place it in a bowl. Then add crushed walnuts, dried cranberries, feta cheese cubes, and sprinkle with diced kiwi. Pour over your favorite vinaigrette and enjoy!
As you can see, kiwi is a nutrient-packed fruit filled with vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, and other compounds necessary for healthy skin. If you haven't already, add raw kiwis to your diet – your skin will love it! We've given you several ideas on how to enjoy raw kiwifruit, and while at it, try eating it with its skin!
Is kiwi good for the face?
Kiwi fruit contains many nutrients that are beneficial for the skin, such as vitamins C and E, lutein, chlorophylls, polysaccharides, and amino acids. These nutrients nourish the skin and protect it from the outside elements.
Can I eat kiwi fruit every day?
Yes, you can eat kiwi every day, but not too much of it. Kiwi is essentially a berry, and can, therefore, thin the blood. So if you have some blood disorders or are preparing for surgery, avoid eating this fruit.
How do you wash kiwi skin?
Wash it with water first. Then remove the fuzz by lightly rubbing the fruit with a towel or cloth, or gently scraping it with a spoon. After that, wash it again to remove any dirt and hair residue.
Is kiwi good for anti aging?
Kiwi is packed with vitamin C that is knowns for its anti-aging effects on the skin. Vitamin C supports collagen synthesis in the skin and protects it from oxidative stress and free radical damage.