KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION REPORT
Produce Marketing Association Nutrition Study by Ronald M. Deutch & Associates
Hazleton Laboratories America, Inc. 1994.
KIWIFRUIT: THE FRUIT WITH NUTRITION EXTRAS
WHAT IS KIWIFRUIT?
WHAT MAKES KIWIFRUIT SO NUTRITIOUS?
FINDING THE FACTS ON KIWIFUIT NUTRITION
THE KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION LABEL
KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION BASICS
KIWIFRUIT'S MINOR VITAMINS FROM A TO B
KIWIFRUIT'S TRACE MINERALS
HOW TO CHOOSE KIWIFRUIT
HOW TO STORE KIWIFRUIT
PUTTING KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION TO WORK
I. KIWIFRUIT: THE FRUIT WITH THE NUTRITION EXTRAS
Recent nutritional research conducted by the Produce marketing Association, shows that kiwifruit has nutritional characteristics which are different from those of most fruits. In fact, in many instances, the nutritional value of kiwifruit exceeds that found in other similar fruit products.
Any fruit offers good nutrition and today's prescription for more healthful American diets calls for eating more fruit, along with more vegetables and grains. However, some fruits are not really as nutritious as most people think. Actually, many fruits offer just a few key nutritional benefits - usually vitamins A or C - and provide the desirable energy from sugar and fiber.
Kiwifruit provides such nutrients, too, but it also offers many extraordinary benefits above and beyond what is normally found in most fruit.
Under Food and Drug Administration rules, some 20 nutrients can be shown on nutrition labels. Most fruits have only a handful of these values. But kiwifruit holds meaningful amounts of all but three of the desirable nutrients which can be listed. The nutritional content of kiwifruit - with its wide range of vitamins and minerals - tends to look more like that of a vegetable than of a fruit.
· Kiwifruit Compares to Vegetable & Grains It can be tricky to compare foods, because each has its own nutrient strengths and weaknesses. We do know, however, that the vitamins and minerals found in kiwifruit compare favorably in number and extent to those of many popular vegetables.
Serving for serving, kiwifruit compares to green beans, bean sprouts, eggplant, zucchini and many other squashes. In fact, kiwifruit compares well against most vegetables, with the exception of those in the "green leafy" category - although it has some of the characteristics found in these as well. [See Table B, COMPARING KIWIFRUIT TO SOME POPULAR VEGETABLES.]
More surprisingly, kiwifruit compares very well, calorie for calorie, to many popular foods from the family of grains. This includes foods like fresh sweet corn and dried-corn products, enriched rice, noodles and breads, unfortified breakfast cereals, (such as "Shredded Wheat"), hot oatmeal and granolas with dried fruit and nuts. In fact, kiwifruit not only has a wider range of nutrients than do most such grain items, it often has vitamins and minerals which they are missing. [See Table C, COMPARING KIWIFRUIT TO SOME COMMON FOODS FROM GRAINS.]
The facts that follow explain in detail why kiwifruit is not only nutritionally unique, but also how and why these qualities can be put to work in everyday good taste and good nutrition. To understand kiwifruit's role in good health and nutrition, take a closer look at what this unusual fruit is and what it has to offer.
II. WHAT IS KIWIFRUIT?
Kiwifruit is a berry. And this is basically what make s it nutritionally different from tree fruits, such as apples, peaches, pears or citrus. Botanically speaking, kiwifruit is from the family of climbing shrubs known as Actinidia. It requires a warm and gentle climate to grow and this is why kiwifruit is produced in only a few geographic locations including California, New Zealand, Chile, Italy and France. Botanists say that the kiwifruit first appeared in the Orient, then was imported to New Zealand and to California.
There are seven main species of Actinidia, all considered to be ornamental because of the handsome foliage. Their climbing characteristic, and the way in which some varieties bear fruit, has sometimes led them to be described, erroneously, as vines. The large size of some of the shrubs has also led to their common, but also false, description as trees. In reality, the kiwifruit plant is most accurately described as a shrub. In commercial production, kiwifruit shrubs grow to a height of 18-25 feet.
The proper botanical name for the variety of kiwifruit consumed today is Actinidia deliciosa. This type of Actinidia has been described by botanists as the most beautiful of the family. In fact, the original reason for its importation to New Zealand was its ornamental value. Only later was the value of the fruit appreciated and finally commercialized.
The kiwifruit plant has shiny oval leaves 3-5 inches long, dark green on top and whitish underneath. It has creamy white blossoms up to 2 inches in size. The fruit of the shrub is oval in shape and grows from 2 to 3 inches or more in length.
· Why It's Called Kiwifruit
Early botanists described the sweet, tart flavor of the fruit of Actinidia delicosa as being much like that of the gooseberry. Since kiwifruit originated in China, its original name was "Chinese gooseberry."
· Today, its common name, "kiwifruit," refers to the Kiwi bird, the national symbol of New Zealand, which was on of the primary producing nations of the fruit. Some botanical historians see a further association between the Kiwi bird and kiwifruit, primarily because the Kiwi bird has a hair-like coat, much like the skin of the kiwifruit is covered with a hair-like fuzz.
· Kiwifruit Popularity
Prior to World War II, kiwifruit was a rarity outside New Zealand. But, by the mid 1940s, kiwifruit began to enter the world food market as a gourmet specialty. For many years, the rarity of kiwifruit meant high prices for consumers and a corresponding lack of use. As a result, kiwifruit remained relatively unfamiliar to most people.
The 1960s saw an increase in production of kiwifruit, especially in California where growers were looking for new and different cops to market. Since that time, greater availability of kiwifruit has led to a steadily decreasing price. Meanwhile, rising prices of other popular fruits have allowed kiwifruit to compete equally with other fruits on the grocer shelves.
Kiwifruit has now made its way into the mainstream of the produce aisle and it continues to grow in popularity. Once news of the tremendous nutritional value of kiwifruit reaches consumers on a broader scale, kiwifruit will undoubtedly become one of the most sought after items in the produce department. Kiwifruit will then have come full circle from high-priced luxury item to a valuable staple.
III. WHAT MAKES KIWIFRUIT SO NUTRITIOUS?
The fact that kiwifruit is a berry make it generally more nutritious than other fruits. Berries tend to have special characteristics which give them extra nutrients. These extra nutrients usually stem from the small seeds they bear.
The nutritional value of seeds is well known and some differs greatly from the value of fruit pulp. In some berries, such as the blueberry, seeds are limited as are some of the nutritional extras. But in the kiwifruit, which has many seeds, the nutrition extras are impressive.
· Kiwifruit Seeds and Good Nutrition
The seeds contained in kiwifruit and other berries are used by the plant to carry all the nutrients - protein, vitamins, minerals and energy - needed to begin new life. The life of an infant plant depends on the nutrients contained in its seed for survival and growth. It must live on these until it is mature enough to take or make its own food, through roots and leaves, from the soil, and sunlight and the air.
While plant life is simpler than animal life, it still takes a wide range of nutrients to give plants the energy and the chemical building blocks with which to grow. Seeds do the job. And when sees are plentiful in a food, as they are in kiwifruit, they tend to contribute much to our nutrition. For example, we all know the importance of grains to food nutrition. The edible parts of grains such as wheat, rye, rice and corn, are nothing more than the seeds of grasses. For kiwifruit, the nutrition-packed seeds are contained inside the delicious, juicy flesh.
· Kiwifruit is a "Whole Food"
A current concern of many nutritionists, and of many consumers, is that we consume too many of our foods in a refined state - especially grains. We usually remove the seed hulls (the bran) from the grains we eat. We turn the wheat into flour and we usually eat rice with its bulls removed.
Of course, there are often good reasons for such refinement. The bran of wheat makes breads dense and hard to chew and it can spoil the texture of cakes and other baked goods. The hulls of rice are also hard to chew and require long cooking.
Spoilage is another reason for refining grains. The heart of grain seed is the germ - an oily, nutrient-rich, kind of egg - which, if left in stored grain, can spoil rather quickly.
In removing the hulls or the germ from seeds, however, we lose many minerals and vitamins. And in cooking, more nutrients are lost.
With kiwifruit, there is no need to remove the seeds. They are delicate and easily chewed. There is also no need to cook kiwifruit to make it palatable. Thus, we are likely to get almost all its nutrition potential. The skin, if eaten, offers extra vitamins, mineral and fiber and adds texture. Much like the skin of a potato, kiwifruit skin adds flavor along with a chewable substance many people enjoy. Eating the skin also eliminates any need for preparation and makes kiwifruit more economical. In fact, if you use the peel you'll put an extra 14% or more of the fruit to work.
Consider, also, kiwifruit's content of vitamin E. A serving has some 10% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Such content is virtually unknown outside the world of seeds, nuts and oils.
Oils, and the foods which are their sources, are usually high-calorie, about 120 calories to a tablespoon. They have little to offer beyond their vitamin E, energy and essential fatty acids. Kiwifruit, on the other hand, has only about 90 calories in a generous serving.
In addition, the vitamin E in kiwifruit does not cause spoilage even during long storage. Unlike what happens with most of our grains, the seeds of kiwifruit are not broken by any kind of processing. The seeds stay intact, during up to 6 months of storage, and very little of the nutrients are lost.
IV. FINDING THE FACTS ON KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION
· How the Facts Were Found
Kiwifruit nutrition information is based on a Product Marketing Association "market basket" study. The methods and scientific results of this study are described in a technical report entitled "KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION," which can be obtained by calling the California Kiwifruit Commission at (800) 448-KIWI. The information provided here is a summary of this full report.
For the study, kiwifruit came from fruit randomly selected by extension home economists in 2 cities in each of 6 U.S. market regions. There were 12 sets of samples in all. The samples came from the shelved of randomly chosen supermarkets at various times of the year and arrived at the Laboratory within 48 hours, in a chilled state.
· Nutrition on a Seasonal Basis
Kiwifruit sold in American markets during the fall and winter months is harvested in California, while fruit sold in the spring and summer is from New Zealand. Because kiwifruit can be stored form more than 6 months, it is available throughout the year.
Sampling for the study was done in December 1982 and again in April, July and October 1983. This allowed scientists to take into consideration values for kiwifruit grown in California and New Zealand and at various storage intervals. All samples were shipped directly to the Hazelton laboratories America for analysis.
Both regional and national composites were made from the samples gathered across the country. These composites were then tested for nutrient content using methods required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for nutritional labeling. No controlled attempt was made to differentiate the nutritional variations between California and New Zealand kiwifruit, or to analyze specifically for storage changes. However, it is clear that kiwifruit nutrition tends to be quite consistent, and stable in storage. Since, California and New Zealand kiwifruit are almost entirely of the same variety, the nutrient content would be expected to be the same.
V. THE KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION LABEL Fresh fruit is technically exempt from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition labeling rules. But some general principles regarding the content of any food still apply and claims for nutrients are, technically, labels of content.
False claims of any kind constitute "misbranding." Therefore, the Produce Marketing Association has advises that all FDA labeling rules in studying and presenting nutrient values be followed before any claim of nutritional content are made to the public. PMA also advises this in the belief that produce marketers should give information about nutrition in a form to which consumers are accustomed.
Under these rules, nutrients should be stated in terms of their percentage of U.S. RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). The USRDA for a nutrient is an amount which should give adequate daily nutrition to the vast majority of people, from age 5 through adulthood. It tends to be high for children and for women (except for pregnant and/or nursing mothers, or for people who are much larger or more active than average). The decision of the FDA was to err on the generous side.
In order for a product to make of claims of special significance for a nutrient, the product must contain at least 10% of the USRDA in a serving. With kiwifruit, such claims may clearly be made for vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and vitamin E. They come close for folic acid (an important B vitamin) and copper. But some other important statements of significance can also be made, for reasons which are shown in detail later in this report.
· Kiwifruit Serving Size
Kiwifruit analyzed for the study were weighed and measured. Typical fruit averaged about 2.5 inches long and weighed a little more than 3.5 oz. Few fruits were much smaller, but some were much larger, up to over half a pound.
In FDA regulations, a serving is said to be an amount such as would be consumed in a meal by a typical adult male in a light to sedentary occupation. Based on this requirement, one average piece of kiwifruit was determined to be inadequate for a full serving, especially if peeled. Therefore, two peeled, average-sized kiwifruit fruit were set as a serving. At about 5 oz., this serving is equal to a modest apple, peach, etc.
· Kiwifruit Calories
There are only some 90 calories in a serving, since more than 90% of the weight of kiwifruit is water. These calories compare favorably to those for most tree fruit of the same weight, such as the orange or peach, banana or apple.
· Calories and "Nutrient Density"
Calories are a key to measuring nutritional value. Each of us has a budget for the calories we consume which is based on age, size, weight, activity level, etc. If we take in more calories than we need, we get fat.
So, we have to get our nutrients while staying within our calorie budgets. Too much table sugar, oil or alcohol uses up the calorie budget without returning many nutrients. These foods have low "nutrient density." Foods which supply much of our required nutrients for relatively few calories have good "nutrient density."
Kiwifruit are among those foods which have very good nutrient density. To see just how good that nutrient density is, here is an easy formula:
One serving of kiwifruit has less than 3.3% of the day's calories for an average man; less than 4.5% of those for the typical woman. Larger people consume more, smaller people need less. As a general rule of thumb, check the percent USRDA for any nutrient against the yardstick of 4%. If the vitamin or mineral is at a level of 4% or more, then the calories in that food item pay their way for this nutrient.
Most nutritionists think that, when there are 3 or more nutrients with a nutrient density of "1" a food should be considered nutritious. Kiwifruit has at least eight.
VI. KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION BASICS KIWIFRUIT PROTEIN
Kiwifruit does contain protein - 2 grams or about 2% USRDA. However, this is really of no significance in the United States where there is no shortage of protein in the diet. In fact, even poverty level families tend to get almost 200% of the daily requirement for protein.
· Kiwifruit Carbohydrate
The sweetness of fruits is part of the survival mechanism for plants, since sugar draws animals and birds to spread seeds for reproduction. Sweetness is also a basic means of identifying the main source of body fuel for humans - carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are so important to the human diet that modern nutritionists believe we should obtain at least 50 percent or more of our calories in the form of carbohydrates.
Basic carbohydrates include sugars and starches, which are sometimes called "complex carbohydrates". Contrary to popular belief, sugars are not harmful in themselves. The nutritional objection to sugars lies in the over consumption of refined sugars, which are sugars separated form the whole food which contains them. When we eat too much refined sugar, we may crowd out foods which carry the other nutrients we need. However, whole foods, such as kiwifruit, provide those other nutrients, along with sweet taste and energy.
· Special Values of Kiwifruit Sweetness
Kiwifruit's sweetness gives it some advantages in the everyday diet. Other carbohydrates contained in starchy foods, such as rice, pasta, flour or cereals, may have good nutritional value for similar calories but they are bland in taste. As a result, they are often consumed with added butter, cheese or oils to moisten them and add flavor, or sugar to sweeten their taste. Kiwifruit needs no added calories to make them taste good. They are naturally sweet, juicy and delicious.
· Is Kiwifruit Sugar Harmful to Anyone?
Medically, it is hard to find a group of patients who would be denied kiwifruit. Diabetics, for example, are encouraged to take their sweets from fruit. This is largely because most fruits have much of their sugar content in "fructose." Fructose is a simple sugar which is digested and released into the blood more slowly than other types of sugar and thus avoids a sharp impact of sugar in the sensitive diabetic system.
Another group of people have a kind of reverse form of diabetes called "hypoglycemia", or low blood sugar. A largely held belief is that hypoglycemics should avoid fruit sugars is false. In the vast majority of cases, the symptoms often attributed to low blood sugar are found to stem from anxiety reactions, not food.
Another popular idea that carbohydrates are fattening is absolutely untrue. Nutritionists believe that Americans should eat more, not less, carbohydrates and any "low carbohydrate" diets which seem to cause weight loss are nothing more than the result of meaningless loss of body water. The effects are temporary.
· Fiber: An Extra Kiwifruit Carbohydrate
Fiber, now much in the medical news for its possible preventive role in cancer, cardiovascular disease, digestive ills and even diabetes, is a carbohydrate. It is often defined as "indigestible carbohydrate", though this is not exactly true.
Some details of fiber are discussed below (and in the separate study: KIWIFRUIT DEITARY FIBER). Simply put, the fiber in kiwifruit appears to be exceptional in amount and quality. The "crude fiber" (average, 2500 mg) is greater than the fiber in a serving of bran flakes and is four times that of a cup of chopped celery. "Dietary fiber", which is more important medically, is several times as great.
Once again, it is important to note that people do not tend to consume bran cereal, whole wheat bread and other "high fiber foods" without adding some fat or sweet flavoring which possess extra calories.
· Kiwifruit Fat
Due to the seed and seed oil it contains, kiwifruit has slightly more fat than other fruits. However, the total fat content is less than a gram (about 1/28 oz.) per serving, adding about 8 calories.
Along with this tiny amount of fat, there is a good portion of vitamin E and some vitamin A. Kiwifruit seed oil is also presumed to be low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat, and there is no cholesterol involved.
· Kiwifruit Sodium
Sodium has been identified as having a dietary effect on blood pressure. Fortunately, there is so little sodium in kiwifruit that it can be labeled as zero. Typical U.S. daily consumption of sodium is guessed to be some 5,000 mg or more daily. On the average, a serving of kiwifruit provides some 6 ten-thousandths of this average daily intake.
In truth, with it's low sodium content and other nutritional benefits, kiwifruit exemplifies the reasons why fruits and vegetables are so strongly recommended for people who have heart and blood vessel problems.
· Kiwifruit Potassium
For most Americans, there is little problem in getting enough of this mineral. There are, however, special situations in which potassium becomes more important - especially when people take medication for high blood pressure, or certain other prescription drugs, when they are exceptionally active, or when they suffer from some complaints such as abdominal cramping due to illness with vomiting and diarrhea.
When extra potassium is called for, many physicians recommend a banana or orange. The average six-inch banana has some 370 mg of potassium; a 7 oz. Orange has from 270 to 310. A 5-oz. Serving of kiwifruit averages over 450 mg of potassium, beating out both the banana and the orange.
· Kiwifruit Vitamin C
Vitamin C in kiwifruit is surprising. Calorie for calorie, it is hard to think of a more concentrated natural source. To be exact, a serving of kiwifruit provides about 230% of the USRDA for Vitamin C. That's enough C for some 2.3 days in one serving!
The nutrient density of vitamin C in kiwifruit is a huge 57.5. it is almost twice that of a medium orange or a large, raw green pepper and four times that of a grapefruit half.
Although kiwifruit does appear to lose some vitamin C in storage, transportation and display, the loss does not seem to be great. The probable reason is the mold acidity of the fruit, which preserves vitamin C and most B vitamins.
VII. KIWIFRUIT'S MINOR VITAMINS FROM A TO B
Kiwifruit does have some vitamin A, niacin and B vitamins including riboflavin and pantothenic acid, which are in high enough concentration to be legally shown on the kiwifruit label. However, these vitamins and minerals are plentiful in other foods with kiwifruit being only a "minor source".
Kiwifruit does indeed have other vitamins which are of higher content and, thus, more important in our discussion of kiwifruit nutrition.
· Vitamin E
As previously note, vitamin E is associated with oils and oil-rich seeds and nuts. It is rare to find a fruit with significant amounts, except for the avocado and, now, kiwifruit. Kiwifruit actually has twice the vitamin E of avocado, but has only 60% of the avocado's calories.
Although there is currently no evidence of a vitamin E deficiency in the United States, there is some controversy about whether typical U.S. diets actually meet the recommended optimum amounts. Kiwifruit is one low calorie food item which does contain vitamin E for those interested in improving their diets.
· Folic Acid
This hard-to-get vitamin is little known to most consumers, but nutrition experts see it as a key nutrition concern. Recently released information on folic acid is beginning to hit the general news media and we will undoubtedly begin to hear more about this nutrient in the near future.
There are two centrally important job s for folic acid. First, it is essential to the reproduction of cells and, second, it is vital to the formation of red blood cells, which enable us to make efficient use of oxygen, iron and other minerals.
Because of these two important functions, there is extra demand for folic acid in expectant mothers, in growing children or people who are healing. Lack of folic acid can contribute to some problems of anemia.
In the meat-centered U.S. diet, there tends to be a shortage of folic acid resulting from a limited use of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, and over consumption of fats. It is particularly clear that most pregnant women are short of an adequate folic acid intake and there are questions about whether many children and certain others get enough.
Even for those who eat a healthy diet, there appears to be difficulty in obtain enough folic acid. As with riboflavin, there are few foods truly rich in folic acid. It's main sources are leafy greens, a few other fruits and vegetables and liver. But even in these good sources, content is small.
There are few foods equal to kiwifruit in folic acid content per serving. Perhaps the richest common source in the plant world is broccoli. A generous serving of broccoli has about 25% USRDA. Kiwifruit has some 10% making it a very good source.
Keep in mind, however, that cooking quickly destroys folic acid. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the folic acid content in a food is lost during cooking and a 50 percent loss is typical. Since, kiwifruit is usually consumed raw, its folic acid content remains intact.
· Vitamin B6
The B6 vitamin is thought to be short in the diets of many Americans, especially those of women using oral contraceptives, those who are pregnant or breast feeding as well as some children and older adults. A serving of kiwifruit has some 4% USRDA of B6 making it one of the few foods rich in this vitamin.
VIII. KIWIFRUIT MINERALS
Besides potassium, there are four minerals contained in kiwifruit which have a nutrient density of one or more. These minerals are calcium, iron, magnesium and copper. In addition, kiwifruit also has a minor content of phosphorus.
The calcium content of kiwifruit, at 5.5% USRDA, is not exceptionally high, however, it is higher than all but a few fruits. Many people, especially women, do not seem to get enough calcium. Calcium can obtain through green leafy vegetables. Kiwifruit is one fruit item which will provide calcium without the additional fat of dairy products.
The iron content of kiwifruit serving is about 4% of the USRDA. Not a large amount, but for those with problems of iron-deficiency anemia, small amounts can be meaningful.
A key cause of iron-deficiency anemia is that we tend to use little of the iron in our food. Interestingly enough, Vitamin C can greatly improve our bodies ability to use iron -- especially the iron we get from plant foods. As we already know, kiwifruit has a large amount of Vitamin C. This Vitamin C content, coupled with the iron content of kiwifruit provides an excellent combination for those interested in improving their iron intake. Remember, too, that kiwifruit vitamin C can similarly enhance iron absorption from other foods at a meal.
Kiwifruit has over 6% of the USRDA for magnesium along with a nutrient density of over 1.5 in a 100 gram serving. Magnesium is widely used by the body in enzyme systems and in maintaining nerve function, among other things.
Many researchers believe that a fairly large group of Americans do not get an optimum amount of copper. This trace mineral is found in many foods, but usually in very small amounts.
Scientists believe that it may be important to keep a good balance between the body's copper and zinc. Zinc is plentiful in U.S. diets as it is obtained through meats and grains. Copper is much more rare.
Kiwifruit averages some 8% of the USRDA for copper and has a nutrient density of about 2. This makes kiwifruit an unusually good source of copper when compared to other fruits.
IX. TRACE MINERALS
The world of trace minerals is a nutrition frontier. A common popular error is to assume that just because a mineral is not well known or understood, it is somehow less important than more familiar minerals.
Not so. The term "essential" in nutrition means just what it implies - without adequate amounts of such a substance, the body's chemistry fails and disorders result. However, our understanding of minerals and their uses in the body grows daily. Some of this knowledge is so new that we do not yet know how much we need of the mineral or where to find it.
Recently, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science, which sets the nation's basic guidelines for nutrient needs and provides a basis for the USRDA guidelines, arrived at some tentative requirements. These will eventually be refined to provide new nutritional standards.
Kiwifruit is an unusual supplier of some newly researched trace minerals. Two of these trace elements are manganese and chromium.
We know that manganese is an essential to the enzymes involved in our use of protein and food energy, and also in the marketing of body chemicals needed to protect both our respiratory and digestive tracts.
Tentative requirements for human nutrition have been set for manganese at between 2.5 mg and 5.0mg daily. At these levels, kiwifruit will eventually be judged to supply 2% to 6% of our need for manganese.
The amount of chromium needed in human nutrition has not yet been established. However, this element is known to be a key factor both in regulating the heartbeat and in the body's use of carbohydrates, like sugars and starches, which are our bodies' main sources of energy. Accordingly, chromium is thought to have a role in heart disease, diabetes and, possibly, in obesity.
Current research indicates that chromium requirements will fall between 0.05 mg and 0.2 mg daily. Kiwifruit has a mean value of 0.35 mg of chromium per serving. This means that once official chromium requirements are set, kiwifruit would supply from 20-70% of the daily need - an impressive amount indeed.
X. HOW TO CHOOSE KIWIFRUIT
The following guidelines for selecting kiwifruit have been established on the basis of interviews with industry experts.
· Choose kiwifruit with a moist and plump look;
· Choose kiwifruit that gives slightly to firm, broad pressure from the flat of the palm or extended fingers;
· Choose kiwifruit that is free of wrinkles. Wrinkles are an indication that water has been lost and, with it, both quality and good nutrition have been affected.
· Choose kiwifruit that are free of soft spots, cuts and bruises. Water spots or marks on the skin's surface have no significance.
XI. HOW TO STORE KIWIFRUIT
Once kiwifruit is ripe and yields to the touch, it should be refrigerated until ready for use. Coldness gives kiwifruit long life.
Moistures is a key to kiwifruit nutrition and quality. If you're not planning to use your kiwifruit immediately, keep the fruit in a plastic bag or the vegetable-keeper of the refrigerator, but do not freeze.
When purchasing firm kiwifruit, it will keep for 2-3 weeks, or more, in the refrigerator, provided it is kept isolated in a loosely closed plastic bag, away from other fruits and vegetables.
Kiwifruit is picked and sold ripe and must meet a minimum sugar level before they are harvested. However, it characteristically needs to soften before eating.
To soften, hold at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag, for 48-72 hours. Avoid unusual heat. Keep out of direct sunlight.
To speed up softening, put a ready-to-eat fruit such as a banana, apple, peach or other fruit inside the bag with the kiwifruit.
Once the kiwifruit is sliced or opened, refrigerate promptly, enclosed in a tight plastic wrap, to preserve their moisture and nutrition.
The mild acidity of the kiwifruit, which gives it its tasty tang, helps to protect the vitamin C and other vitamins, as does the acidity of citrus.
XII. PREPARING KIWIFRUIT
Although most people prefer to peel kiwifruit before eating, it is not necessary to do so. Simply scrub lightly and eat with skin on to keep the valuable flavor and nutrition of the peel. In fact, only about 2 ounces of kiwifruit peel has all the vitamin C you need for the day. Cutting away kiwifruit peel is nutritionally much the same as peeling a potato; except that the dietary fiber in kiwifruit is several times as great as that in potato peel.
If you do choose to peel or cut your kiwifruit, remember that, although the acidity of the kiwifruit does much to preserve its vitamin values, the fruit is still subject to the vitamin loss through heat, drying and oxidation. Therefore, kiwifruit should be cut immediately before use and no sooner. Once cut, it should be protected from the air, either in a closed container or under plastic wrap; as long as practical with refrigeration.
When slicing kiwifruit make slices as thick as possible to minimize oxidation and conserve the fruit's juicy flavor and nutrients.
XIII. PUTTING KIWIFRUIT NUTRITION TO WORK
· Get Your Vitamin C
Traditionally, breakfast is thought of as a time to get vitamin C. This is the reason why breakfast usually begins with C-rich fruits, from citrus to melons, berries to tomato juice, papaya or mango. Kiwifruit delivers more vitamin C than any of these. So much more, that half of one kiwifruit provides all our daily need for this vitamin. This means that a simple garnish portion of kiwifruit - perhaps 4-5 slices - will supply your day's vitamin C.
· More Fiber, Too
Breakfast is also a time to get fiber. That is obvious from all the bran breads, cereals and muffins Americans eat to start their day. Kiwifruit fiber content out classes that of the vast majority of breakfast cereals, even that of bran flakes. One serving of kiwifruit has from 5 to 25 times as much fiber as most servings of ready-to-eat cereals and as much as 50 percent more fiber than bran flakes.
· Avoid Cholesterol
Although the egg is a breakfast standard, the protein it contributes is unimportant in the typical U.S. diet and it has been found to have high levels of cholesterol as well. In most ways, kiwifruit can replace the vitamin-mineral value of eggs without adding cholesterol. Kiwifruit can also supply fiber which is completely lacking in eggs.
· Suggested Breakfast Menus
The nutritive values of kiwifruit suggest some other breakfast uses, for adding vitamins, minerals and fiber to breakfast, while adding little fat and few calories. For example:
· For a child's breakfast, consider a sandwich of peanut butter with thick slices of kiwifruit and a glass of milk.
· Or try an open-faced sandwich of ham or other luncheon meat, melt cheese over the top in your microwave and add kiwifruit for a refreshing tang.
· Kiwifruit is also excellent on top of frozen waffles, French toast or pancakes where it will help fill in some of the nutrition gaps and lessen the need for sugary syrup.
· Kiwifruit can also be served atop breakfast breads, like toast, bagels, muffins, rolls or biscuits or try the breads with kiwifruit and cottage cheese.
The Sandwich Alternative
The typical American lunch is a sandwich. This meal provides meat and grain. The addition of a leaf of lettuce or a slice of tomato can add taste and some nutrition, but kiwifruit into the lunchbox or brown bag along with a knife and a spoon. Cut the kiwi in half, then scoop out the fresh kiwifruit. It's easy to eat and the traditional apple, pear or peach cannot compare nutritionally.
You might also try kiwifruit slices instead of tomato on a variety of luncheon meats from bologna or meat loaf to liverwurst. Add a half a carrot sliced into sticks to supply more than a day's vitamin A, or use kiwifruit slices to brighten and moisten the taste of a cheese sandwich on rye or wheat bread.
You can even make a gelatin salad with cottage cheese and other vitamin A-rich fruits like apricots and papaya. Add raisins and nuts for extra iron and top with kiwifruit. Then add a roll for a balanced, low calorie lunch.
Kiwifruit for Lunch at Home
Kiwifruit can go with any salad plate - chicken salad, ham or tuna salad - to add vegetable-like nutrients and fiber to lunch. Place slices of kiwifruit on these meat and fish salads stuffed into tomato, avocado or green pepper.
You can add kiwifruit to the standard chef's salad to supply nutrients which lettuce and tomato cannot add to the standard meats and cheese. Or serve kiwifruit with pasta salads. The kiwifruit will supply nutrients which are absent from the usual additions of olives and beans.
Try variations of the classic Nicoise salad - chunks of tuna, bits of Greek Feta cheese, canned or leftover green beans, cold boiled potato chunks and black olives. Then ad kiwifruit slices and cover with French or Italian dressing sprinkled with capers. Again, kiwifruit fills in lacking nutrients, from vitamin C to folic acid, vitamin E, copper, potassium and other trace minerals.
· An Addition to Meat The typical American dinner tends to remain a meat entered meal, with some starchy foods like potatoes, rice or noodles. Salads are sometimes added, but they tend to provide scant nutritional values from lettuce with a heavy addition of calories and fats from the dressing. Vegetables often consist of peas, corn or carrots, with limited nutritional qualities. The few calories added by kiwifruit can supply many of the nutritional qualities which are low or absent. Kiwifruit can also be used as a topping for beef or pork roasts and meat loaf.
· A Nutrition Plus for Light Meats Many Americans are shifting from red meats to poultry and fish to keep proteins in the diet but reduce fats. Unfortunately, the nutritional result can be questionable. While fish and poultry supply plenty of high quality protein, they commonly supply perhaps only a third of the minerals, such as iron and B-vitamin, contained in red meats.
Kiwifruit can help to fill these gaps. Just add kiwifruit to recipes for fish and poultry. Not only will kiwifruit add extra vitamins, but will give a tangy flavor to cooked fish and chicken, in barbecuing or baking.
To serve with pork, beef or meat loaves, warm kiwifruit slices and top meat immediately before serving. The kiwifruit can also add its sweet-sour taste to Chinese-style barbecue. You can also try wedges of kiwifruit instead of tomatoes in your salad.
· Kiwifruit As A Meat Tenderizer One little known fact about kiwifruit is its value as a meat tenderizer. Kiwifruit contains an enzyme which breaks down protein. Simply lay slices of kiwifruit and top a piece of meat for about 30 minutes per each inch of thickness.
Remember that this same enzyme also breaks down the protein in gelatin, preventing it from jelling. So kiwifruit should not be used in jellied salads. But it can be placed around gelatins, as an attractive and nutritious garnish.
Snacks & Desserts
For desserts or snack, try kiwifruit chunks topped with plain yogurt and sprinkled with nutmeg or cinnamon. The yogurt will supply dairy group nutrients while kiwifruit gives its vitamins and minerals to make dessert part of the meal.
Or consider such possibilities as "kiwisauce", instead of applesauce, or as a more nutritious replacement for syrup, on pancakes or waffles. You can even make your own syrup by simmering kiwifruit slices with a small amount of brown or white sugar, flavored with vanilla. A similar mix can be stirred into cooked oatmeal or other hot cereals, to improve vitamin-mineral values. For another nutritious snack, high in vitamin-mineral values and fiber, try kiwifruit with nuts and dried fruits.
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