Uncovering Kiwi Skin Benefits: Nutritional Value, Health Perks, and How to Eat It

Kiwi Skin Benefits

Let’s unlock today’s kiwi skin benefits and nutritional values. Kiwifruit, commonly known as kiwi or Chinese gooseberry, is a nutritious fruit with a sweet and tangy taste. The fruit is about the size of an egg, with brown, fuzzy skin and a vibrant green or yellow interior filled with tiny black seeds and a soft white center. While the flesh of the kiwi is widely enjoyed, there’s some debate about whether the skin should be eaten. This article explores the benefits and drawbacks of consuming kiwi skin to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Kiwi Skin Benefits & Nutritional Value

1. High in Nutrients: Kiwi skin is packed with essential nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and vitamin E.

  • Fiber: Vital for gut health, fiber aids digestion and can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Folate: Important for cell division and growth, folate also helps prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin E: A fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating the kiwi skin can significantly increase your intake of these nutrients. For instance, consuming the skin boosts the fiber content by 50%, folate by 32%, and vitamin E by 34%.

2. Rich in Antioxidants: The skin of the kiwi contains more antioxidants than the flesh, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A.

  • Vitamin C: Water-soluble and protects cells and arteries from oxidative damage.
  • Vitamin E: Fat-soluble and protects cell membranes from free radical damage.

The combination of water- and fat-soluble antioxidants in kiwi skin offers comprehensive protection for your body.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Texture Issues: The fuzzy texture of kiwi skin can be off-putting for some people. However, the fuzz can be reduced by rubbing the fruit with a clean towel, scrubbing it with a vegetable brush, or lightly scraping it with a spoon. Alternatively, you can peel the skin off using a paring knife or scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
  • Mouth Irritation: Some people might experience mouth irritation from eating kiwi skin. This is due to the presence of raphides, tiny calcium oxalate crystals that can scratch the soft tissues in the mouth. These scratches can sting when they come into contact with the fruit’s acids. Ripe kiwis tend to be less irritating because the softer flesh traps some raphides, reducing their effects.

Who Should Avoid Kiwi Skin?

  • Allergies: People with kiwi allergies may experience symptoms ranging from mild mouth irritation to severe anaphylaxis. Those with oral allergy syndrome or latex food allergy syndrome might also react to kiwis. Cooking or canning kiwi can sometimes reduce these allergic reactions.
  • Kidney Stones: Individuals prone to calcium oxalate kidney stones should avoid eating kiwi skin due to its high oxalate content, which can contribute to stone formation.

Health Benefits of Eating Kiwi

Kiwi Skin Benefits

Even if you choose to avoid the skin, consuming kiwi fruit offers numerous health benefits:

  • Improved Cholesterol Levels: Eating two kiwis daily for eight weeks can increase heart-healthy HDL cholesterol, raise blood antioxidant levels, and reduce harmful LDL cholesterol breakdown.
  • Lower Blood Pressure: Consuming three kiwis daily can lower blood pressure by an average of 10 points within eight weeks.
  • Enhanced Iron Absorption: Kiwifruit can help your body absorb more iron from iron-rich foods, potentially alleviating iron deficiencies.
  • Boosted Immunity: The strong immune-boosting properties of kiwis can help alleviate symptoms of colds and improve overall immune function.
  • Better Digestion: The enzyme actinidin in kiwis aids in protein digestion, while the fiber content helps relieve constipation.

Tips for Selecting, Preparing, and Storing Kiwis

  • Selecting: Choose smaller kiwis if you plan to eat the skin, as it tends to be more tender. Look for fruits with smooth, blemish-free skin that yields slightly to pressure, indicating ripeness.
  • Preparing: Always wash the kiwi thoroughly to remove dirt, bacteria, and any pesticide residues. Soaking the fruit in a baking soda solution for 15 minutes can help clean it more effectively than water alone.
  • Storing: Allow kiwis to ripen at room temperature, then refrigerate to slow down the ripening process and extend their shelf life.

Conclusion

Kiwis are a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet, whether or not you choose to eat the skin. While the skin is rich in fiber, folate, and vitamins, its texture and potential to cause mouth irritation may deter some people. Various types of kiwis with different skin textures are available, so experiment to find the one you prefer. For those with kiwi allergies, sensitive teeth, or a history of kidney stones, it’s best to avoid the skin. Regardless, incorporating kiwis into your diet can provide numerous health benefits, such as improved immune function, heart health, and digestion.

FAQs

Q1. Is it safe to eat kiwi skin?

Ans: Yes, kiwi skin is safe to eat and highly nutritious, though some may find the texture unpleasant.

Q2. How can I reduce the fuzziness of kiwi skin?

Ans: You can rub the kiwi with a clean towel, scrub it with a vegetable brush, or lightly scrape it with a spoon to reduce the fuzz.

Q3. Can eating kiwi skin cause mouth irritation?

Ans: Some people may experience mouth irritation due to the presence of raphides in the skin. This is more likely with unripe kiwis.

Q4. Who should avoid eating kiwi skin?

Ans: People with kiwi allergies or a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones should avoid eating the skin.

Q5. What are the health benefits of eating kiwi?

Ans: Kiwis can improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, enhance iron absorption, boost immunity, aid digestion, and relieve constipation.

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