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The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review

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Purpose: To describe the nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit and the benefits relating to improved nutritional status, digestive, immune and metabolic health. The review includes a brief history of green and gold varieties of kiwifruit from an ornamental curiosity from China in the 19th century to a crop of international economic importance in the 21st century; comparative data on their nutritional composition, particularly the high and distinctive amount of vitamin C; and an update on the latest available scientific evidence from well-designed and executed human studies on the multiple beneficial physiological effects. Of particular interest are the digestive benefits for healthy individuals as well as for those with constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders, including symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The mechanisms of action behind the gastrointestinal effects, such as changes in faecal (stool) consistency, decrease in transit time and reduction of abdominal discomfort, relate to the water retention capacity of kiwifruit fibre, favourable changes in the human colonic microbial community and primary metabolites, as well as the naturally present proteolytic enzyme actinidin, which aids protein digestion both in the stomach and the small intestine. The effects of kiwifruit on metabolic markers of cardiovascular disease and diabetes are also investigated, including studies on glucose and insulin balance, bodyweight maintenance and energy homeostasis. Conclusions: The increased research data and growing consumer awareness of the health benefits of kiwifruit provide logical motivation for their regular consumption as part of a balanced diet. Kiwifruit should be considered as part of a natural and effective dietary strategy to tackle some of the major health and wellness concerns around the world.
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European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z
REVIEW
The nutritional andhealth attributes ofkiwifruit: areview
DavidP.Richardson1· JulietAnsell2· LynleyN.Drummond3
Received: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published online: 22 February 2018
© The Author(s) 2018. This article is an open access publication
Abstract
Purpose To describe the nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit and the benefits relating to improved nutritional status,
digestive, immune and metabolic health. The review includes a brief history of green and gold varieties of kiwifruit from
an ornamental curiosity from China in the 19th century to a crop of international economic importance in the 21st century;
comparative data on their nutritional composition, particularly the high and distinctive amount of vitamin C; and an update
on the latest available scientific evidence from well-designed and executed human studies on the multiple beneficial physi-
ological effects.
Of particular interest are the digestive benefits for healthy individuals as well as for those with constipation and other gastro-
intestinal disorders, including symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The mechanisms of action behind the gastrointestinal
effects, such as changes in faecal (stool) consistency, decrease in transit time and reduction of abdominal discomfort, relate
to the water retention capacity of kiwifruit fibre, favourable changes in the human colonic microbial community and primary
metabolites, as well as the naturally present proteolytic enzyme actinidin, which aids protein digestion both in the stomach
and the small intestine. The effects of kiwifruit on metabolic markers of cardiovascular disease and diabetes are also inves-
tigated, including studies on glucose and insulin balance, bodyweight maintenance and energy homeostasis.
Conclusions The increased research data and growing consumer awareness of the health benefits of kiwifruit provide logical
motivation for their regular consumption as part of a balanced diet. Kiwifruit should be considered as part of a natural and
effective dietary strategy to tackle some of the major health and wellness concerns around the world.
Keywords Kiwifruit· Nutritional composition· Vitamin C· Digestive health· Metabolic benefits
Introduction
Kiwifruit are a nutrient-dense fruit and extensive research
over the last decade on the health benefits of kiwifruit has
linked their regular consumption to improvements not only
in nutritional status, but also benefits to digestive, immune
and metabolic health. The health benefits of consuming fruit
are well documented [1]. Kiwifruit are exceptionally high
in vitamin C and contain an array of other nutrients, nota-
bly nutritionally relevant levels of dietary fibre, potassium,
vitamin E and folate, as well as various bioactive compo-
nents, including a wide range of antioxidants, phytonutrients
and enzymes, that act to provide functional and metabolic
benefits. The contribution of kiwifruit to digestive health is
attracting particular attention owing to a growing body of
evidence from human intervention studies. There are several
plausible mechanisms of action that are likely to act together
including the fibre content and type, the presence of actini-
din (a natural proteolytic enzyme unique to kiwifruit which
breaks down protein and facilitates gastric and ileal diges-
tion [2, 3]), and other phytochemicals which may stimulate
motility [4].
The kiwifruit of commercial cultivation are large-fruited
selections of predominantly Actinidia deliciosa cv Hayward
(green kiwifruit) and an increasing range of gold varieties of
various Actinidia species. The Hayward cultivar is an oval-
shaped berry with a dull brown hairy skin, however, one of
its most attractive features is the strikingly beautiful appear-
ance of the bright translucent green flesh interspersed with
* Lynley N. Drummond
drummondl@mac.com
1 DPR Nutrition Ltd., 34 Grimwade Avenue, Croydon,
SurreyCR05DG, UK
2 Zespri International Ltd., 400 Maunganui Road, Mount
Maunganui 3116, Tauranga, NewZealand
3 Drummond Food Science Advisory Ltd., 1137 Drain Road,
Killinchy7682, NewZealand
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2660 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
several rows of small black seeds. As an example of a gold
fleshed kiwifruit Zespri® Sungold (Actinidia chinensis spp.)
have a bright yellow flesh surrounded by a smooth, hair-
less, bronze-coloured skin. The flesh of the green Hayward
cultivar is described as a tangy, sweet and sour combination
providing a unique flavour combination, whereas the gold
cultivar is described as having a sweet and tropical taste
[5, 6].
History
In the twentieth century, kiwifruit came a long way from
being a wild species partially exploited by man to being a
commercial crop of international economic importance [7].
Kiwifruit are native to the temperate forests of the mountains
and hills of southwest China. Missionaries in the nineteenth
century made many contributions to the advancement of
botany and the distribution of horticultural plants [8]. The
first botanical specimens of A. chinensis were sent to Europe
by the Jesuit priest Père Pierre Noël Le Chéron d’Incarville
around the 1750s and later by Robert Fortune, a plant col-
lector. Robert Fortune was sent to China by the Horticultural
Society of London (1843–1845) to “collect seeds and plants
of an ornamental or useful kind”, and one of Fortune’s speci-
mens of A. chinensis was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens
at Kew, London. The first fruits of A. chinensis to be seen
in Europe were sent, preserved in spirit, to Kew in 1886.
Today New Zealand is a major producer of kiwifruit, and
all early commercial varieties of kiwifruit plants in New
Zealand and around the world can be traced back to a Church
of Scotland mission station in Yichang, China, in 1878.
Early in the twentieth century, the seeds and plants were
regarded as ornamental curiosities with no mention of the
edible fruit. The introduction of kiwifruit to New Zealand
can be traced to a school teacher, Isabel Fraser, who in 1904
returned from a visit to China with seeds [7]. Around 1922,
Hayward Wright, a nurseryman living near Auckland, New
Zealand, offered plants in his catalogue, listing the plant as
“a wonderful fruiting climber” and promoting it as a highly
valuable new fruit because it ripens in the winter over a long
period, thus making the fruit a valuable addition to the short
supply of winter fruits.
The Hayward cultivar has beensold widely from the late
1930s and the dominance of this cultivar worldwide is now
complete. The first commercial orchards and large-scale
plantings occurred around this time. Orcharding kiwifruit
required brave and courageous decisions as the work was
hard, there were no proven patterns of management by grow-
ers and agronomic problems were faced as they occurred.
World War II and then agricultural and marketing incentives
from the 1950s to the present day resulted in the rapid geo-
graphical expansion of orchards in New Zealand, Australia,
Chile, USA and Europe, mainly Italy, France and Greece. In
Italy, the high content of vitamin C gave kiwifruit the reputa-
tion of being the “frutto della salute”—the health fruit [8].
The last 100years have seen the domestication of the
kiwifruit from being a wild plant (the so-called “Chinese
gooseberry”) to a stage where it is now an important crop
in several countries. The name “kiwifruit” was proposed by
Turners and Growers Ltd, an exporting firm in Auckland,
after the flightless bird, which is endemic to, and often taken
as, the emblem of New Zealand. Servicemen were also com-
monly known as “Kiwis”, and by 1969 the name kiwifruit
was well established and accepted.
The process of domestication of kiwifruit is a fascinat-
ing and complex story. It includes botanical identification,
the collection of seeds and propagating material, cultivation
techniques to grow and manage the plant, the management
of a dioecious perennial climber, selection of the best culti-
vars, the commercial discoveries of the cultural conditions
affecting yield, harvesting, storage, packing to extend the
season and transporting across the globe [8].
Of all the different species of Actinidia, the main cultivar
of economic importance is A. deliciosa, and all the com-
mercial plantings in New Zealand can be traced back to the
seeds introduced by Isabel Fraser. The geographic range, the
diversity of the wild population and subsequent development
of cultivars, including gold and red-fleshed varieties, indi-
cate that the gene pool, mostly sourced from wild types in
China, offers many opportunities for breeding programmes
for many desirable attributes, including very high levels of
vitamin C [5, 9]. Whilst the kiwifruit season requires winter
growing, the fruit can be stored very well once harvested and
also is produced in both the northern and southern hemi-
spheres. This means that kiwifruit is available throughout
the year which is important for those interested in regular
consumption for its health benefits [10].
The nutritional attributes ofkiwifruit
Comprehensive and independent data on the nutritional
composition of kiwifruit can be found in the USDA
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
[11] and the New Zealand Food Composition Database
(NZFCD) [12]. Chemical analyses are conducted on fruit
ripened to the “ready-to-eat” state to ensure that the data
are reflective of what would normally be consumed. Typi-
cally, kiwifruit (A. deliciosa and A. chinensis—“green”
and “gold” cultivars, respectively) are eaten with the skin
removed, and hence the analyses shown in Table1 are
completed on the edible flesh portion only. A recent update
to this information in the NZFCD now includes nutritional
composition of the skin, as there is anecdotal evidence of
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2661European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
growing number of consumers who choose to eat the skin,
particularly of the gold varieties since it is smoother, thin-
ner, and hairless. Consumption of whole SunGold kiwi-
fruit (including the skin) increases the fibre, vitamin E
and folate contents by 50, 32 and 34%, respectively [13].
Vitamin C
The total ascorbic acid content is the most distinctive nutri-
tional attribute of kiwifruit [12]. The levels in the Hayward
green cultivar are typically between 80 and 120mg per
100g fresh weight [14]. This natural variation of amounts
of vitamin C in fruit, including kiwifruit, is due to numerous
Table 1 Nutritional composition
of kiwifruit (Source: USDA
National Nutrient Database for
Standard Reference Release 28,
green and gold raw kiwifruit per
100g [11])
Nutrient Units/100g Green Kiwifruit Gold Kiwifruit
Proximates
Water g 83.1 82.4
Energy kcal 61 63
Energy kJ 255 262
Protein g 1.14 1.02
Total lipid (fat) g 0.52 0.28
Ash g 0.61 0.47
Carbohydrate, by difference g 14.7 15.8
Fiber, total dietary g 3 1.4
Sugars, total g 9.0 12.3
Minerals
Calcium, Ca mg 34 17.0
Iron, Fe mg 0.31 0.21
Magnesium, Mg mg 17 12.0
Phosphorus, P mg 34 25
Potassium, K mg 312 315
Sodium, Na mg 3 3
Zinc, Zn mg 0.14 0.08
Copper, Cu mg 0.13 0.103
Manganese, Mn mg 0.098 0.05
Selenium, Se µg 0.2 0.44
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 92.7 161.3
Vitamin B1-Thiamin mg 0.027 < 0.01
Vitamin B2-Riboflavin mg 0.025 0.074
Vitamin B3-Niacin mg 0.341 0.231
Vitamin B5-Pantothenic acid mg 0.183 0.12
Vitamin B6-Pyridoxine mg 0.063 0.079
Vitamin B9-Folate µg, DFE 25 31.0
Choline mg 7.8 1.9
Vitamin B-12 µg 0 0.08
Vitamin A, RAE µg _RAE 4 1
Vitamin A IU 87 23
Vitamin E (α-tocopherol) mg 1.46 1.51
Vitamin K µg 40.3 6.1
Others
Carotene, beta µg 52 14
Lutein + zeaxanthin µg 122 24
Scientific Name: Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia chinensis
Cultivar Hayward SunGold
USDA NDB No 09148 09520
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2662 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
factors including growing region and conditions, use of fer-
tilisers, maturity at harvest, time of harvest, storage and rip-
ening conditions [15]. In terms of nutritional value, using
scoring models that rank and compare the amount of impor-
tant nutrients present in foods, kiwifruit score well against
other fruit. This provides a useful means for communicating
those nutritional benefits to consumers [1618], and should
be noted that the high nutrient densityscore is largely driven
by their high vitamin C content [12]. Figure1 compares the
vitamin C content of various fruits to that of Hayward and
SunGold kiwifruit cultivars. The SunGold kiwifruit con-
tains 161.3mg vitamin C per 100 g—almost three times
the amount found in oranges and strawberries on an edible
flesh weight basis.
From the technical and sensory perspectives, the high
ascorbic acid and low tannin content in kiwifruit are thought
to explain why the cut fruit does not develop the typical
browning reaction that occurs in most other fruits [14].
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential dietary nutri-
ent for humans, as we lack the terminal enzyme
l
-gulono-
γ-lactone oxidase in the ascorbate biosynthetic pathway
[19]. There is an absolute requirement for Vitamin C for
a range of biological functions. Vitamin C is a cofactor of
metallo-enzymes necessary for the biosynthesis of collagen,
l
-carnitine, catecholamine, neurotransmitters, and peptide
hormones such as oxytocin [20, 21]. Vitamin C in involved
a in the regulation of transcription factors [22]. The strong
antioxidant properties of Vitamin C are well documented,
it scavenges free radicals and other reactive oxygen and
nitrogen species, with a capacity to regenerate other small
molecule antioxidants from their respective radicals [23,
24]. Thus, it protects biomolecules such as lipids and DNA
against oxidative damage [25, 26].
There is evidence from invitro, as well as animal and
human intervention studies that supports the role of vitamin
C in the functioning of the immune system. Leukocytes,
which are cells responsible for defending the body against
invading pathogens, contain high levels of vitamin C, indi-
cating a vital function in the immune system [27]. These
cells include neutrophils, the first cellular responders to
inflammatory challenge. Their primary function is to destroy
invading microorganisms and thereby prevent systemic
infection [28, 29].
A recent Cochrane systematic review [30] upholds the
role of vitamin C in improving immune function and reduc-
ing the duration of common cold symptoms in the ordinary
population. A Gold kiwifruit intervention study showed
enhanced plasma vitamin C concentration and reduced
severity and duration of upper respiratory infection symp-
toms in 32 elderly people supplemented with four kiwifruit
per day for 4 weeks [31].
An effectively functioning immune system is crucial for
maintaining physiological integrity, and the European Food
Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutri-
tion and Allergies (NDA) [32] considers that maintaining
normal immune function is a beneficial physiological effect.
Given the multiple roles of the immune system providing
defences against infections and allergic manifestations
such as asthma, urticaria and eczema, the specific effect on
immune function is required for scientific substantiation
of health claims on a food/constituent. The requirements
for substantiation of health claims on maintaining normal
immune function in a population group considered to be at
risk of immunosuppression (e.g., older adults, individuals
experiencing stress or engaging in heavy physical exercise,
or after exposure to ultraviolet radiation) are provided in the
scientific opinion of EFSA [32].
The vitamin C content of green and gold kiwifruit is 92.7
and 161.3mg per 100g, respectively [11]. In the European
Union, the Reference Intake (RI) for vitamin C for labelling
purposes is 80mg [33]. For “source” and “high” nutrient
content claims for vitamin C, the amounts required for the
Fig. 1 Graph comparing the
vitamin C content of kiwifruit
with other commonly consumed
fruit
92.7
161.3
4.68.74
53.2
26.7
58.8
18
9.7
4.28.1
61.8
27.7
47.8
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid (mg/100g)
Fruit
100% EU RDA
15% EU RDA
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2663European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
claims are 15% RI, or 12mg, and 30% RI, or 24mg, per
100g, respectively. Hence the levels of vitamin C in kiwi-
fruit qualify them as being high in the vitamin, and eligible
for authorised health claims in the European Union (EU)
for vitamin C nutrient functions (Table2). Amongst a back-
ground of a large number of antioxidant species, the vitamin
C content of kiwifruit has the highest correlation with total
antioxidant activity of kiwifruit [34].
High levels of vitamin C in kiwifruit can improve iron
bioavailability [35]. Poor iron status remains one of the most
common micronutrient concerns globally [36], and is associ-
ated with a number of adverse health consequences [37]. In
a study of individuals with low iron status [serum ferritin
(SF) ≤ 25µg/L and haemoglobin (Hb) ≥ 115 g/L], eating
kiwifruit with an iron-fortified breakfast cereal was found to
improve iron status [35, 38]. In this study, 89 healthy women
were randomised to receive iron-fortified breakfast cereal,
milk and either two Zespri gold kiwifruit or one banana at
breakfast every day for 16 weeks. After 16 weeks, median
serum ferritin significantly increased from 17.0µg/L at base-
line to 25.0µg/L, compared to the banana group, which had
a median serum ferritin level of 16.5µg/L at baseline that
rose to 17.5µg/L at the end of the study (P < 0.001). Impor-
tantly, the 10µg/L increase in serum ferritin in the women
who ate kiwifruit increased levels to within the normal refer-
ence range of 20–160mg/L. Additionally, median soluble
transferrin receptor concentrations significantly decreased
by − 0.5mg/L for kiwifruit versus 0.0mg/L for banana
(P = 0.001) [35, 38].
Significant proportions of the population around the
world, including the UK [39], have very poor fruit and
vegetable intakes that result in suboptimal vitamin C sta-
tus. The maintenance of the body pools and of plasma and
cellular vitamin C concentrations are considered criteria
for establishing the requirements for vitamin C based on
the assumption that saturation of body pools and plasma
concentrations are associated with fulfilling the essen-
tial functions of vitamin C in the body [26]. Saturating
Table 2 Summary of well-
established functions of selected
vitamins and minerals under
Article 13.1 of the Nutrition
and Health Claims Regulation
(European Commission 2006)
and the proposed wording as
shown on the EU Register
Nutrients Health claims
Vitamin C Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of blood vessels
Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of bones
Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of cartilage
Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of gums
Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of skin
Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal
function of teeth
Vitamin C contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
Vitamin C contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
Vitamin C contributes to normal psychological function
Vitamin C contributes to normal function of the immune system
Vitamin C contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
Vitamin C contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Vitamin C contributes to the regeneration of the reduced form of
vitamin E
Vitamin C increases iron absorption
Vitamin C contributes to maintain the normal function of the
immune system during and after intense physical exercise
(> 200mg/day)
Vitamin E Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
Folate Folate contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy
Folate contributes to normal amino acid synthesis
Folate contributes to normal blood formation
Folate contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
Folate contributes to normal psychological function
Folate contributes to the normal function of the immune system
Folate contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Folate has a role in the process of cell division
Potassium Potassium contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
Potassium contributes to normal muscle function
Potassium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure
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2664 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
plasma levels, now considered to be associated with opti-
mal health and wellbeing, are found in only around 20%
of the normal, healthy population. Carr etal. [40] showed
that consuming kiwifruit had a strong effect on plasma
and muscle [23] vitamin C levels. To measure the con-
tribution of gold kiwifruit to dietary vitamin C intake,
plasma vitamin C levels were measured in a group of 14
male students with low vitamin C status (average baseline
plasma, 38mM). Participants were asked to consume half
a kiwifruit per day for 4 weeks, two kiwifruit per day for
6 weeks and finally three kiwifruit per day for 4 weeks.
The addition of as little as half a kiwifruit per day resulted
in a significant increase in plasma vitamin C. However,
one kiwifruit per day was required to reach what are con-
sidered to be healthy levels [40]. At two kiwifruit per
day, plasma levels approached saturation, with no further
increases with three kiwifruit per day. This observation
was confirmed by increased urinary output of vitamin C at
two kiwifruit per day, which coincided with plasma levels
reaching around 60mM. These results confirmed the phar-
macokinetic data of Levine etal. [41] and indicated that
plasma vitamin C levels in humans saturate at an intake
of about 200mg/day. This is equivalent to eating approxi-
mately two kiwifruit per day.
Furthermore, vitamin C and increased consumption of
fruits and vegetables have been shown to be associated
with enhanced feelings of wellbeing and vitality [4245].
It is well established that fatigue and lethargy are common
early symptoms of subclinical vitamin C deficiency and
can be resolved with vitamin C supplementation [46]. The
effects of vitamin C on fatigue are likely explained by its
invivo function as an enzyme cofactor for the synthesis of
important biomolecules such a dopamine, neurotransmit-
ters and hormones synthesised by the nervous system and
adrenal glands [47].
Vitamin E
Kiwifruit contain relatively high levels of vitamin E [12,
48], compared to other commonly consumed fruit. SunGold
and green kiwifruit contain 1.40 and 1.46mg per 100g
[11], respectively, of the main form, α-tocopherol present
in the flesh [49]. These levels are sufficient to permit the
use of nutrient function claims for Vitamins E in the EU
(Table2). Fiorentino etal. [49] showed that α-tocopherol is
found in the flesh of kiwifruit, possibly associated with cell
membranes and therefore potentially bioavailable. Fioren-
tino etal. [49], also identified a new form of vitamin E in
kiwifruit, δ-tocomonoenol, noting that its radical scavenging
and antioxidant capacity contributed to the total antioxidant
activity of kiwifruit. Studies showing that the consumption
of both green and gold kiwifruit correlates with increased
plasma vitamin E concentrations, suggest the vitamin E in
kiwifruit is bioavailable [31, 50].
Folate
Kiwifruit are often referred to as being a good source of
dietary folate. The folate content of kiwifruit green and gold
cultivars compared with other fruits are shown in Fig.2. The
folate content of 31µg per 100g in gold kiwifruit meets
the criteria of EU Regulation to make a “source” claim as
it exceeds the 15% of the Reference Intake of 200µg/day.
In other countries, where the recommended daily intake
is often higher (e.g., 400–500µg/day in Nordic counties,
400–600µg/day in the USA Australia and NZ), such nutrient
content claims cannot be made. The authorised health claims
in the EU for folate nutrient functions are shown in Table2.
As folate is extremely labile and its presence in green
leafy vegetables is easily destroyed by cooking, fresh
kiwifruit can make a useful contribution to the total diet,
Fig. 2 Graph comparing the
folate content of kiwifruit with
other commonly consumed fruit
25
31.0
3
20
4
30
16
24
19
67
3
38
14
18
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
Folate g DFE/100g)
Fruit
15% EU RDA
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2665European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
especially during pregnancy when it is difficult to meet
folate requirements. During pregnancy, folate requirements
are 600µg/day, which can be safely achieved through the use
of conventional foods, foods with added nutrients and food
supplements [51].
Potassium
Green and gold kiwifruit are good sources of potassium,
containing typically around 301–315mg per 100g. These
amounts are sufficient to meet the criteria of EU Regulation
(EC) no. 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made
on foods to make a natural “source” claim, as it exceeds the
15% of the Reference Intake of 2000mg/day. The authorised
nutrient function health claims in the EU for potassium are
shown in Table2. The potassium content of kiwifruit com-
pared to other fruit is shown in Fig.3. In other countries,
where the recommended daily intake is often higher, such
content claims cannot be made.
Fresh foods such as fruits and green vegetables are gen-
erally good sources of potassium and low in sodium. The
sodium content of kiwifruit is only 3mg per 100g and
can be described as naturally low in sodium. The sodium
to potassium (Na+/K+) ratio of kiwifruit is consistent with
recommendations to increase potassium intake through
increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, and is
amongst the more favourable Na+/K+ balance of selected
fruits [52]. Studies have provided evidence that potassium
rich diets or interventions with potassium can lower blood
pressure, especially in individuals with hypertension [53,
54], however, more recently the dietary Na+/K+ ratio has
been shown to be more strongly associated with an increased
risk of hypertension and CVD-related mortality than the risk
associated with either sodium or potassium alone [55, 56].
Dietary fibre
The dietary fibre of kiwifruit comes almost entirely from
the plant cell walls, and particularly the polysaccharides
that form the major structural components of these walls.
Kiwifruit contain about 2–3% of fresh weight non-starch
polysaccharides [48] that make up the fruit cell walls, pro-
viding a valuable contribution of both soluble and insoluble
fibre to the diet. Analysis of dietary fibre of green and gold
kiwifruit has shown they comprise about one-third soluble
and two-thirds insoluble fibres, although kiwi gold fruit con-
tain considerably less total fibre than green [57]. The soluble
fibre fraction contains almost exclusively pectic polysaccha-
rides, whereas the insoluble fibre is mostly cellulose and
hemicelluloses.
Changes occur in the composition and structure of kiwi-
fruit cell walls during development and ripening. These
structural changes in cell wall polysaccharides are reviewed
in detail by Sims, Monro [58]. Cell wall polysaccharides are
generally resistant to digestion and absorption in the human
small intestine and are considered to be delivered to the
colon in a chemically unaltered state. However, even minor
chemical or structural changes can impact on the physico-
chemical properties and fermentability that determine their
impact on health.
In the hind-gut, the physiological benefits of fibre are
believed to arise from the products of bacterial fermentation
of the soluble fibre, and from the physicochemical proper-
ties of any fibre that remains unfermented [59, 60]. Among
the most important physicochemical properties of kiwifruit
fibres are the hydration properties, which include water
retention, capacity and swelling, viscosity (which requires
solubility), and properties that depend on the size, shape and
porosity of undigested particles. Water retention is physi-
ologically relevant because it influences transit time, faecal
Fig. 3 Graph comparing the
potassium content of kiwifruit
with other commonly consumed
fruit
312 315
107
358
191 181
166
153
228
77
119112
257
156
108
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Potassium (mg/100g)
Fruit
15% EU RDA
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2666 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
bulk, stool consistency and other functional benefits [60].
The high swelling and water retention of kiwifruit fibre in
comparison with other forms of dietary fibre such as wheat
bran, commercial preparations of sugar beet fibre and apple
fibre, accentuate the value of consuming kiwifruit as a natu-
ral whole product that has had minimal processing. Kiwifruit
dietary fibres are susceptible to fermentation, and so many
provide benefits through the production of the short chain
fatty acids [58]. Future studies on the mechanisms by which
kiwifruit dietary fibres, as part of a balanced diet, modu-
late digestion processes and act as a substrate for beneficial
colonic microbiota, may aid understanding of the actions
of fibre in the gut [61] and its beneficial effects on human
health.
Sugars
As kiwifruit develop and ripen, the concentrations of chem-
ical components in the tissue change. The most marked
change in the physiology of the fruit during ripening leads
to a rapid decrease in starch concentration and a consequent
increase in fructose and glucose. Kiwifruit tissue is very
hard while the fruit is developing on the vine, but flesh firm-
ness decreases during the later stages of development [14].
Fortunately, kiwifruit that are physiologically mature but
have barely started to ripen can be harvested and will con-
tinue to ripen successfully off the vine. Cool storage imme-
diately after harvest reduces the rate of ripening. It is these
particular characteristics of kiwifruit that allow producing
countries such as New Zealand to store unripe fruit and ship
to it distant markets over an extended period. Suitable indi-
cators of maturity for kiwifruit are used to ensure that fruit
reaches an appropriate stage of development before harvest.
A “maturity value” is important, and three changes in kiwi-
fruit are taken into account—decreasing flesh firmness, con-
version of starch to sugar and soluble solids concentration
(to measure sugar concentration) are all used to provide an
accurate assessment of final eating quality. The predominant
sugars present in Actinidia are glucose and fructose with a
small amount of sucrose present when the fruit is ripe and
ready-to-eat. The amount of total sugars and ratios of these
sugars vary not only as a function of maturity but also with
the variety of kiwifruit [62, 63]. The ratio of fructose: glu-
cose is important in terms of digestive health and preferably
should be around 1:1 to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal
discomfort, such as bloating, caused by rapid fermentation
by gut bacteria.
Interestingly, as they ripen, many fruits undergo a marked
decrease in chlorophyll content, and carotenoids and antho-
cyanins become dominant. These visual changes indicate the
stage of ripeness. On the other hand, in green kiwifruit there
is little if any decrease in chlorophyll content and the inter-
nal colour remains an attractive bright green when fruit are
“eating ripe”. As kiwifruit begins to ripen, starch concen-
tration decreases from 6% of fresh weight to trace amounts,
and total sugars increase to 12–15%. The concentration of
soluble solids also increases to reach a plateau of 14–16%
before fruit is eating ripe.
Understanding the factors affecting the rate of ripening
isof considerable commercial importance for fruit quality.
In fruit that is ready for consumption the sugars provide the
appealing sweet flavour of kiwifruit, which is balanced by
the organic acid composition [62, 63].
From a physiological perspective, the sugar content of
kiwifruit, like all fruit, may potentially influence the man-
agement of blood sugar levels following their consumption,
however current research suggests the glycaemic response
effects of kiwifruit as a whole food are potentially different
to that which could be expected of individual components
[64]. Interestingly the glycaemic index (GI) of kiwifruit is
relatively low (green kiwifruit, 39.3 ± 4.8 and gold kiwifruit,
48.5 ± 3.1 [65]). The low GI value of kiwifruit is observed in
both healthy human subjects and those with Type 2 diabetes
[66]. The importance of managing postprandial blood sugar
levels is covered in the section on metabolic health.
Antioxidants
In addition to the various nutrients in kiwifruit described
above, for which there are dietary intake recommendations
and well described physiological functions, kiwifruit contain
a complex network of minor compounds that may also be
associated with beneficial physiological functions. Various
Actinidia species have been extensively analysed for their
antioxidant chemical profiles [6771]. As well as vitamins C
and E, the other antioxidants include the carotenoids lutein,
zeaxanthin and β-carotene, chlorophylls, quinic acid, caf-
feic acid glucosyl derivatives, β-sitosterol, chlorogenic acid,
phenolics, including flavones and flavonones, to name but
a few [7275]. The antioxidant capacity of kiwifruit con-
stituents has been measured by means of various invitro
chemical assays that monitor the quenching, scavenging or
retarding of free radical generation [6]. For example, the
total antioxidant capacity of kiwifruit was reported to be
higher than apple, grapefruit and pear, but less than rasp-
berry, strawberry, orange and plum [76, 77]. While these
invitro studies indicate that the various antioxidants are
capable of preventing or delaying some types of cell dam-
age from the unstable free radicals created every day dur-
ing normal metabolism, the detailed mechanism of how
this translates to effects invivo which are directly linked
physiological changes is yet to be fully understood [78]. In a
number of human studies, beneficial changes to biomarkers
of CVD, have been attributed to the antioxidant compounds
present in kiwifruit [7985]. The stability of antioxidants
during simulated invitro gastrointestinal digestion [86, 87],
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2667European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
and their bioaccessibility/bioavailability [88] provide sup-
portive evidence for the potential for physiological effects
of the antioxidants in kiwifruit. There is significant varia-
tion in the types and levels of antioxidant compounds and
total antioxidant activity both between Actinidia species, and
as a function of extraction solvent [7375]. Several studies
have explored the influence of growing practices and region
on the activity of bioactive and antioxidant compounds in
kiwifruit. Park etal. [89] found generally higher, but not
consistently significant, levels of bioactive compounds in
organically grown kiwifruit, whilst in an Italian study, the
geographical location of orchards did not significantly influ-
ence vitamin C or polyphenolic contents [90].
Although there are no dietary intake recommendations for
antioxidants in general, the scientific data suggest that eating
kiwifruit has the potential to inhibit oxidative and inflam-
matory processes, although the supporting data for antioxi-
dant activities are more substantial than those related to the
kiwifruit’s potential anti-inflammatory activities. The results
of human studies of the antioxidant efficacy of kiwifruit are
inconsistent owing to differences in experimental protocols,
the cultivar of kiwifruit used, the amount and duration of the
study as well as the biomarkers used [6]. Kiwifruit could
undoubtedly be a useful dietary vehicle for delivering anti-
oxidant nutrients and other phytonutrients. Future studies on
kiwifruit will explore the bioavailability, metabolism, tissue
distribution and biological effects of kiwifruit constituents
on relevant disease markers. The emerging evidence could
provide the basis for improved dietary strategies for achiev-
ing dietary antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits
in humans [91].
Actinidin andminor proteins
Kiwifruit contain several unique proteins and the cysteine
protease actinidin, the most abundant protein in kiwifruit,
of interest for their bioactive potential.
The characterisation and biochemical properties of acti-
nidin have been extensively studied [92, 93], and more
recently its potential role in human health [94, 95]. Actini-
din is active over a wide range of pH, including those of the
GI tract [96] thus having the potential to influence protein
digestion, and intestinal permeability [97]. In contrast to
potential benefits (see Digestive health), actinidin is also the
major kiwifruit allergen [90, 98]. Green and gold kiwifruit
have been known to cause allergic reactions ranging from
mild symptoms localised to the oral mucosa in the majority
of individuals to anaphylactic reactions, particularly in chil-
dren [99]. Very little information is available in the literature
on the prevalence of kiwifruit allergy, and human interven-
tion studies with kiwifruit have shown that kiwifruit are
well tolerated without any adverse side effects [35, 50, 84,
100]. The magnitude and patterns of reactivity to kiwifruit
allergens appears to vary with ethnic/geographical/cultural
differences, age of subjects and other clinical characteris-
tics of individuals exposed to kiwifruit [6]. Lucas, Atkinson
[101] have provided a detailed review of unresolved issues
regarding kiwifruit and have suggested requirements to be
met prior to designation of allergens to a database. Process-
ing may diminish the risk of allergic symptoms in those with
allergies to raw kiwifruit [102, 103].
Kiwellin is another protein in kiwifruit, that as a func-
tion of ripening stage and postharvest treatment of the fruit
is susceptible to actinidin activity, producing the peptide
kissper, and and KiTH [104, 105]. Kissper is of particular
interest for human health as it displays a range of beneficial
activities, including anti-inflammatory response, reducing
oxidative stress at the GI mucosal interface [106], and pH-
dependent and voltage-gated pore-forming activity, together
with anion selectivity and channelling [4]. This suggests that
kissper is a member of a new class of pore-forming peptides
with potential beneficial effects on human health, including
a potential effect on gastrointestinal physiology [4].
Digestive health
Early Chinese pharmacopoeia from the Tang Dynasty
onwards (AD 618–907) list a whole variety of medicinal
uses for “mihoutao” fruit, the Chinese name generally used
for Actinidia species, including aiding digestion, reduction
of irritability and curing of dyspepsia and vomiting.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are com-
mon and distressing [107]. FGIDs include functional dys-
pepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), affecting
an estimated 3–28% of the global population [108], particu-
larly the elderly and women, and may severely affect the
individual’s quality of life and wellbeing [107, 109]. Upper
gastrointestinal disorders include gastric reflux, stomach
ache, delayed gastric emptying, nausea and vomiting, and
lower gastrointestinal disorders include constipation, indi-
gestion, bloating and diarrhoea. Current interventions for
FGIDs include lifestyle and dietary modifications as well
as pharmacological interventions targeting pain, motility,
laxation and the gut microbiota [108].
The worldwide growth in the incidence of FGIDs has
created an immediate need to identify safe and effective
food-based interventions. For example, constipation may
be present in up to 29% of the population, depending on the
definitions used [110112]. Food ingredients such as psyl-
lium and wheat bran are the most studied for maintaining a
healthy gut and to manage abdominal discomfort. Addition-
ally, it is generally regarded that adequate intakes of fibre-
rich fruits and vegetables daily with sufficient water will
prevent constipation. Whole green kiwifruit have been used
and promoted for many years to maintain abdominal comfort
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2668 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
[113] and have been studied more recently under controlled
settings [114, 115]. The components found in kiwifruit have
been shown to increase faecal bulking and softness and ena-
ble better lubrication, assisting the propulsion of content
along the colon [116, 117].
It is thought that the unique combination of soluble and
insoluble fibres, polyphenols and actinidin, present in kiwi-
fruit, confers the gastrointestinal benefits, improvements
in laxation and reduction of abdominal discomfort, both in
individuals with either constipation-predominant irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and in normal healthy people suf-
fering from constipation without reported side effects. The
putative mechanism of kiwifruit on maintenance of normal
GI function has recently been reviewed [95]. The review
discusses the physiological functions of the digestive sys-
tem, the pathophysiological mechanisms behind functional
constipation, a summary of the work covering the effects of
green kiwifruit on the gut as well as hypothetical mecha-
nisms behind the gastrointestinal effects of green kiwifruit.
Lack of dietary fibre is a contributing factor in people
with constipation [118], and both soluble and insoluble
fibres can add bulk, increase water retention in the colon
[119, 120] and change faecal consistency [121, 122]. Dietary
fibre can also decrease transit time [122, 123]. Soluble die-
tary fibres are the main substrate for the microflora in the GI
tract [60]. When setting the Dietary Reference Value (DRV)
of 25g /day for dietary fibre, the EFSA NDA Panel used the
role of fibre in bowel function as the most suitable criterion
[124]. Consuming 2 green kiwifruit per day would provide
approximately 6g of fibre (24% DRV), therefore, depending
on habitual dietary fibre intake this may be a significant con-
tribution to the total daily intake. Kiwifruit typically contain
about two-thirds insoluble fibre, and one-third soluble fibre
[125], and as previously mentioned, kiwifruit fibre has an
impressive water retention capacity [57, 58]. In the native
state, the capacity of kiwifruit fibre to swell, defined as the
volume fibre has in water after passively settling [126], is
more than six times higher than that of apple fibre, and one
and a half times higher than psyllium [58], but is signifi-
cantly reduced when subjected to processing conditions such
as dehydration [127]. Feeding studies in pigs [128, 129] as
well as observations in human studies [114, 115, 130] have
demonstrated that feeding kiwifruit increases water reten-
tion and faecal bulking, however animal studies suggest
the pectic substances of kiwifruit are highly susceptible to
fermentation in the hind-gut [131, 132]. Such fermentation
may produce short-chain fatty acids capable of stimulating
colonic motility [133] and contribute to the effects of kiwi-
fruit, however the role of kiwifruit fibre in human diges-
tive function is yet to be fully understood. In contrast, but
consistent with earlier findings of changes associated with
processed kiwifruit, the fibre of a dried kiwifruit product
consumed as a part of a mixed fibre diet, did not demonstrate
a significant contribution to faecal bulking in the rat [131].
A reduction in GI transit time has been linked to actinidin
[128]. Although a considerable proportion of short chain
fatty acids have recently been shown to be derived from the
fermentation of non-dietary gut materials [134], kiwifruit
fibre may also contribute to favourable changes in the human
colonic microbial community [135] and their metabolites
[136] which are associated with intestinal health [137].
The proteolytic enzyme actinidin from green kiwifruit has
been shown in invitro studies to aid protein digestion both in
the stomach and small intestine [2, 3]. For example, a range
of common protein sources derived from soy, meat, milk and
cereals were incubated with a kiwifruit extract containing
actinidin and pepsin at pH 1.9 (a simulation of gastric diges-
tion in humans) [3]. Results in this gastric digestion model
showed that for milk, soy and meat protein sources, the
presence of kiwifruit extract enhanced digestion to a greater
extent than pepsin alone [13]. Likewise, in an invitro, small
intestine digestion model, actinidin-containing kiwifruit
extract was particularly effective in improving the digestion
of whey protein, zein, gluten and gliadin [2]. These studies
suggest that actinidin may assist with protein digestion in the
gastric and ileal regions, that may be of benefit particularly
to individuals with compromised digestive function [138].
Under invitro conditions, gastric lipase remained active,
however actinidin effectively inactivated amylase suggesting
that when cooked starch is consumed together with kiwifruit
it is possible that starch digestion may be retarded [139].
There is growing evidence that kiwifruit have beneficial
effects on digestive health and general wellbeing, a poten-
tially important characteristic in the light of the increasing
proportion of the elderly population in ageing societies that
experience impaired bowel function, changes in gastrointes-
tinal function [138], and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Table3 summarises the findings from human clinical tri-
als with fresh green kiwifruit. The daily consumption of
two kiwifruit was found to increase stool frequency, includ-
ing the number of complete spontaneous bowel motions per
week, reduce gastrointestinal transit time and improve meas-
ures of intestinal comfort. These early human studies [50,
114, 130, 140142] were carried out in different countries
and included different study populations (e.g., differing in
age, health status), and the lack of a common protocol may
have led to results that were not applicable to the larger nor-
mal healthy population. Most studies consider the effects of
prolonged kiwifruit consumption, however recently Wallace
etal. [143] investigated the acute effects of green kiwifruit
on gastric emptying following consumption of a steak meal,
using a computerised SmartPill™, and measures of digestive
comfort. Although the SmartPill™, did not provide reliable
data following the meal event, there was a significant reduc-
tion in bloating and other measures of gastric discomfort
[143]. A multi-country, randomised, cross-over, controlled
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2669European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
human intervention study is currently underway to evaluate
further the effects of green kiwifruit on digestive function
[144]. Changes in bowel function in the general population
such as reduced transit time, more frequent bowel move-
ments, increase faecal bulk or softer stools are considered by
EFSA to be beneficial physiological effects, provided they
do not result in diarrhoea [32]. Similarly, reducing gastroin-
testinal discomfort [e.g., bloating, abdominal pain/cramps,
borborygmi (rumbling)] are considered appropriate outcome
measures in human studies that include the use of validated
questionnaires on severity and frequency of symptoms. The
EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products Nutrition and Allergies
(NDA) [32] has also stated that IBS patients or subgroups
of IBS are generally considered an appropriate study group
to substantiate health benefits on bowel function and GI
discomfort.
Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosac-
charides and Polyols (FODMAPs) are rapidly fermentable,
poorly absorbed carbohydrates found in food that can cause
digestive discomfort, especially for people with IBS [145].
The action of FODMAPS is likely via multiple pathways
[146], and includes the release of gases from the bacterial
fermentation of oligosaccharides and the proportion (if any)
of malabsorbed fructose, polyols, and lactose [147]. Symp-
toms associated with FODMAPs include abdominal bloat-
ing, pain, cramps, excessive flatulence and altered bowel
habit [146]. Low FODMAP diets are effective in the treat-
ment of functional gastrointestinal symptoms [148, 149].
Kiwifruit are certified as low FODMAP fruits by the
Monash University low-FODMAP diet digital application
(https ://www.monas hfodm ap.com/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/),
based on their relatively low proportions of fructose and
fructans per single fruit serve. A recent pilot study demon-
strated that the consumption of two green kiwifruit is not
associated with clinically significant evidence of colonic
fermentation as shown by hydrogen and methane on breath
testing [150], lending support for the low FODMAP status
for kiwifruit.
Metabolic health
Metabolic abnormalities such as dyslipidaemia [increased
blood total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein cho-
lesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TG), lower high density
lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)], hypertension, vascular
inflammation, abnormal glucose metabolism and haemo-
static disorders all play important roles in the pathophysiol-
ogy of the major causes of morbidity and mortality such as
diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke and demen-
tia [151153]. A number of studies have investigated the
effects of green and gold kiwifruit on some of these meta-
bolic markers, including the effects of kiwifruit on glucose
and insulin balance, and on bodyweight maintenance and
energy homeostasis.
Green and gold kiwifruit have clinically measured gly-
caemic indices (GIs) of 39 and 48, respectively [65], which
puts them in the GI “low” category (GI < 55). The glycae-
mic response to a fruit depends not only on GI, but also the
amount of carbohydrate consumed in the fruit. As kiwifruit
contains only about 12% available carbohydrate and a low
GI; the impact kiwifruit produces on plasma glucose levels
is low enough for the fruit to be suitable in managing diets
for people with reduced tolerance to glucose. The fibre con-
tent of kiwifruit may cause a delay in carbohydrate diges-
tion and absorption by way of swelling action that reduces
the rate of glucose diffusion [57, 127]. This reduction in
glycaemic response by 200g kiwifruit (approximately two
fruits) has been demonstrated in a human intervention study
conducted by Mishra etal. [154]. The authors concluded that
Table 3 Summary of findings from human studies with fresh green kiwifruit for digestive health
StudyCountry Population
group
Intervention Study
Quality
High
Low
X Not able
to assess
Frequency
↑, SS
↑, NSS
Stool form
↑, SS
↑, NSS
X not
measured
Ease/
comfort
↑, SS
↑, NSS
Transit
time
↓, SS
X not
measured
Side
effects
none
Chan et al. [131] ChinaFunctional
constipation
2 kiwifruit
per day
Chang et al. [115] Taiwan IBS-C2 kiwifruit
per dayX
Hiele [141] BelgiumFunctional
constipation
3 kiwifruit
per dayX
Cunillera et al.
[142]
SpainFunctional
constipation
3 kiwifruit
per dayX
Ohsawa et al. [143]Japan Prone to
constipation
2 kiwifruit
per dayX
Rush et al. [114]
Pre-trial
New ZealandHealthy1 kiwifruit
per 30kg
bodyweight
X X
Rush et al. [114]
Main trial
New ZealandHealthy
elderly
1 kiwifruit
per 30kg
bodyweight
X
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2670 European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
the low invivo glycaemic impact could partly be attributed
to the carbohydrate in kiwifruit being fruit sugars (fructose)
and partly to the non-digested fibre components reducing the
rate of intestinal processes such as digestion, sugar diffusion
and mixing of intestinal contents. This partial substitution of
starch-based staple foods, such as a high carbohydrate break-
fast cereal, with kiwifruit could be an effective and healthy
way to improve glucose homeostasis [154]. Further explo-
ration of this effect was investigated by Mishra etal. [64]
to better understand the role of non-sugar components in
kiwifruit in modulating glycaemic response. Kiwifruit con-
sistently reduced the amplitude of the glycaemic response of
participants following a series of wheat-based cereal meals
adjusted to match the available carbohydrates from kiwifruit
leading the investigators to conclude that components other
than the available carbohydrate in kiwifruit, such as cell wall
remnants or phenolic compounds, may be involved in the
improved glycaemic response to co-ingested foods [64]. The
energy value of foods is also an important dietary aspect
in managing risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Using an
invivo–in vitro model that determines the available energy
(AE) content based on ATP yield at the cellular level [155],
Henare etal. [156] found the AE of green and gold kiwifruit
was significantly less than that predicted by the traditional
Atwater system, suggesting kiwifruit are useful in dietary
weight management strategies. Further studies will explore
the use of kiwifruit as an effective dietary strategy to reduce
postprandial hyperglycaemia while at the same time increas-
ing the amount of essential nutrients consumed.
Regular consumption of green and gold kiwifruit can also
affect beneficially certain physiological biomarkers, particu-
larly in individuals with metabolic abnormalities related to
major causes of morbidity and mortality, such as diabetes,
cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke and dementia [157].
For example, Chang, Liu [158] investigated the effects of
two kiwifruits on the lipid profile, antioxidants and mark-
ers of lipid peroxidation in hyperlipidaemic adult men and
women in Taiwan. After 8 weeks of the intervention, the
HDL-C concentration was significantly increased, whilst the
LDL-C/HDL-C ratio and TC/HDL-C ratio were significantly
decreased. Vitamin C and vitamin E, the antioxidant nutri-
ents, together with plasma antioxidant status, also increased
significantly in fasting blood samples.
Gammon etal. [100] found that consumption of two green
kiwifruit per day for 4 weeks favourably affects plasma lipids
in a randomised controlled trial in 85 normotensive and pre-
hypertensive hypercholesterolaemic men compared with the
consumption of a healthy diet alone. Small, but significant,
differences occurred, including an increase in HDL-C and a
decrease in TC: HDL-C ratio and TG’s. There were no sig-
nificant differences, however, between the two interventions
for plasma TC, LDL-C, insulin, high-sensitivity C-reactive
protein (hs-CRP), glucose and blood pressure (BP). In a
further exploration of the study, no beneficial effects on
markers of cardiovascular function, or on BP were noted
[159].
In 2012, Karlsen etal. [80] demonstrated that intake of
three kiwifruit per day for 3 weeks promoted pronounced
anti-hypertensive effects, as well as antithrombotic effects
in male, middle-aged and elderly smokers. The authors
commented that this dietary approach may be helpful in
postponing pharmacological treatment in individuals with
high-normal blood pressure or hypertension. From a fur-
ther randomised, controlled study over a period of 8 weeks,
Svendsen etal. [79] concluded that among men and women
aged between 35 and 69years with moderately elevated BP,
the intake of 3 kiwifruit added to the usual diet was associ-
ated with lower systolic and diastolic 24-h BP compared
with one apple a day. The authors observedthese results
were in contrast those of Gammon etal. [159], noting the
differences in study population criteria (normotensive [159]
versus moderately elevated BP [79]) may have been a con-
tributory factor. Although Svendsen etal. [79] found no dif-
ferences in measures of endothelial function in their study,
they suggested that an increase in plasma antioxidant status
(lutein), and in increased dietary potassium, resulting from
the kiwifruit intervention, could be an explanation for the
improvements in BP observed.
In vitro studies on antioxidant and fibrinolytic activities
have also indicated the potential cardiovascular protec-
tive properties of kiwifruit extracts [160]. Evidence that
consumption of kiwifruit can modulate platelet reactivity
towards collagen and ADP in human volunteers was pro-
vided in a study by Duttaroy, Jørgensen [84]. The authors
concluded that kiwifruit may have the potential to increase
the effectiveness of thrombosis prophylaxis.
Habitual intakes of high levels of fruits and vegetables
have long been associated with beneficial effects that lower
the risk of chronic diseases, including CVD in humans
[161]. The presence of antioxidant components such as vita-
min C, vitamin E, polyphenols [162], a favourable Na+/K+
ratio [52], and other bioactive components in kiwifruit could
explain their beneficial physiological effects [157].
Concluding remarks
This review highlights the nutritional attributes and health
benefits of green and gold kiwifruit. The nutritional compo-
sition, particularly the high amount of vitamin C, supports
its position as a highly nutritious, low energy fruit. With the
plethora of man-made, processed health foods available to
the consumer, one aspect that sets kiwifruit apart is that it is
a natural, whole food. Nature compartmentalises many bio-
active and nutritional components within the complex struc-
ture of cell walls, cells and the matrix in between. Human
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2671European Journal of Nutrition (2018) 57:2659–2676
1 3
digestion interacts with fresh whole foods to break down
the structures and digests the complex carbohydrates slowly.
Many health care professionals now recognise whole foods
are ideal for the release and delivery of nutrients and health
components to various locations along our digestive tract.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the ben-
eficial effects of kiwifruit in gastrointestinal function in
healthy individuals as well as in individuals with consti-
pation and other gastrointestinal disorders [143, 144, 163],
and recognition for the role of kiwifruit in their manage-
ment [164]. This presents an evidence-based opportunity
for health care professionals to adopt dietary recommenda-
tions, and for consumers to recognise the impact of diet, in
particular whole foods, on specific body function, and their
health and well-being. Green and gold kiwifruit are well
characterised and the mechanisms of action for the benefits
on gastrointestinal function and modulation of glycaemic
responses now being better defined.
Overall, the scientific evidence for the health benefits
of kiwifruit needs to be expanded through the conduct of
well-designed and executed human intervention studies that
clearly define the study populations, the amount and dura-
tion of kiwifruit consumption and the specific beneficial
physiological effects. A greater understanding of the mecha-
nisms of action of kiwifruit and its bioactive constituents in
promoting health also needs to be fully elucidated.
The increased research data identifying the nutritional
and health benefits of kiwifruit and their growing consumer
acceptance as a part of a balanced diet, will undoubtedly
offer opportunities to tackle some of the major health and
wellness concerns around the world.
Acknowledgements Funding for this review was provided by Zespri
International Ltd, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest DPR and LND have served on advisory boards and
been paid to undertake and present work on behalf of Zespri Interna-
tional Ltd. JA is an employee of Zespri International Ltd.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Crea-
tive Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creat iveco
mmons .org/licen ses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribu-
tion, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate
credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the
Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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... It is a fuzzy fruit with vibrant green interior and tiny black seeds. Nutritionally relevant levels of dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin E and folate as well as various bioactive components including wide range of antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes provide functional and metabolic benefits to the fruit, (Richardson et al., 2018). ...
... Similarly the native fruit jack fruit shows 1.594mg/g. Richardson et al., (2018) noted that the protein content of kiwi fruit as 1.4 mg/g, which is slightly lesser from current study. It may be due to the seasonal variation or variation in growth conditions that these samples selected were exposed to. ...
... Dragon fruit and kiwi contain higher amount of protein compared to native fruits. According to Ansell et al., (2018), Kiwi fruit should be considered as part of a natural and effective dietary strategy to tackle some of the major health and wellness concerns around the world. ...
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... deliciosa and A. chinensis-"green" and "gold" cultivars, respectively) of commercial cultivation are large-fruited selections of predominantly green kiwifruit and an increasing range of gold varieties [30]. The flesh of the green Hayward cultivar is described as tangy, sweet and sour, a unique flavor combination, whereas the gold cultivar is described as having a sweet and tropical taste [30][31][32]. The mango (Mangifera indica L.) is a tropical fruit, originally from the South of Asia, and it is available worldwide today. ...
... The total vitamin C content is an attribute of kiwifruit (80 and 120 mg/100 g fresh weight Hayward green cultivar, while 18 mg/100 g is given for melon and 27.7 mg/100 g for fresh mango). This natural variation in the amount of vitamin C in fruit, including kiwifruit, is due to numerous factors, including growing region and conditions, time and maturity at harvest, and storage conditions [32,55]. The vitamin C content in the sorbets was significantly lower (<0.5 mg for melon sorbets, <9.5 mg for mango sorbets and <15 mg for kiwifruit sorbets) due to a lower content of the fruits in the products, but also due to the low initial content of vitamin C in the fruits that were used in the sorbets' production. ...
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Inulin is a popular prebiotic that is often used in the production of ice cream, mainly to improve its consistency. It also reduces the hardness of ice cream, as well as improving the ice cream’s organoleptic characteristics. Inulin can also improve the texture of sorbets, which are gaining popularity as an alternative to milk-based ice cream. Sorbets can be an excellent source of natural vitamins and antioxidants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the addition of inulin on the sensory characteristics and health-promoting value of avocado, kiwi, honey melon, yellow melon and mango sorbets. Three types of sorbets were made—two with inulin (2% and 5% wt.) and the other without—using fresh fruit with the addition of water, sucrose and lemon juice. Both the type of fruit and the addition of inulin influenced the sorbet mixture viscosity, the content of polyphenols, vitamin C, acidity, ability to scavenge free radicals using DPPH reagent, melting resistance, overrun and sensory evaluation of the tested sorbets (all p < 0.05). The addition of inulin had no impact on the color of the tested sorbets, only the type of fruit influenced this feature. In the sensory evaluation, the mango sorbets were rated the best and the avocado sorbets were rated the worst. Sorbets can be a good source of antioxidant compounds. The tested fruits sorbets had different levels of polyphenol content and the ability to scavenge free radicals. Kiwi sorbet had the highest antioxidant potential among the tested fruits. The obtained ability to catch free radicals and the content of polyphenols proved the beneficial effect of sorbets, particularly as a valuable source of antioxidants. The addition of inulin improved the meltability, which may indicate the effect of inulin on the consistency. Further research should focus on making sorbets only from natural ingredients and comparing their health-promoting quality with the ready-made sorbets that are available on the market, which are made from ready-made ice cream mixes.
... Among these flavonoids, 18 flavone, and 64 flavonol compounds were the main flavonoids. More than half of the 118 flavonoids were glycosides, which are the most abundant form of flavonoids in plants (Ren et al., 2014;Kim et al., 2018;Richardson et al., 2018;Wang et al., 2021). It is worth noting that one isoflavone (daidzein) and one flavone compound (procyanidin) were identified in these fruits for the first time. ...
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Actinidia arguta Sieb.Zucc. is a fruit that is rich in flavonoids. Nevertheless, details of flavonoid formation and the potential mechanism behind flavonoid biosynthesis have not previously been reported. In order to explore the biosynthetic regulation mechanism of flavonoids in A. arguta Sieb.Zucc., we conducted a combination of extensive targeted metabolite analysis and analyzed transcriptomes to determine the flavonoids present and the genes bound up with flavonoid biosynthesis in the two main cultivated varieties of A. arguta Sieb.Zucc. in Northern China. The maturity period is from August to September. A total of 118 flavonoids were found in fruits. Among them, 39 flavonoids were accumulated at significant levels after fruit ripening. Transcriptome analysis indicated that most flavonoid biosynthesis structural genes and certain regulatory genes exhibited differential expression between the two varieties. Correlation analysis of transcriptome and metabolite profiles showed that the ways of expression of 21 differentially expressed genes related to structure and regulation between the 2 varieties were more highly correlated with 7 flavonoids after fruit ripening. These results contribute to the development of A. arguta Sieb.Zucc. as a food and drug homologous functional food.
... Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) is rich in nutrients [1,2], and it is one of the wild fruit trees that have been domesticated and cultivated 100 years ago [3][4][5]. e first record of it seem appears to be in the Book of "Shijing" before AD 1000-500 [1], while the definitive first record is in a poem written by Censen. ...
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Kiwifruit is an important economic crop in the world today with a high nutritional value. It can cause huge damage by causing kiwifruit rot disease; however, at present, the control methods for this disease are limited. In this study, the rotten fruits of kiwifruit (Cultivar “Jinyan”) were collected from Pujiang city (Sichuan province), Xixia city, (Henan province), Zhouzhi (Shaanxi province), Meixian city (Shaanxi province), and Bijie (Guizhou province), China, and the pathogenic fungi were identified by isolation and purification, pathogenicity test, morphological characteristics, and analysis of ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (rDNA-ITS) sequences. The results showed that the pathogenic fungi of kiwifruit rot disease were Botryosphaeria dothidea and Dothiorella gregaria. Meanwhile, the in vitro antifungal activity of 11 kinds of fungicides and 5 kinds of plant essential oils against B. dothidea and D. gregaria were determined and the results showed that all the tested fungicides and plant essential oils had a certain inhibitory effect on B. dothidea and D. gregaria. Among them, propiconazole had the best inhibitory effect on B. dothidea with an EC50 value of 4.10 mg/L, and quinolinone had the best inhibitory effect on D. gregaria with the EC50 value of 10.05 mg/L. Moreover, the pesticides and essential oils have practical application values for prevention and treatment of fruit rot diseases pathogens.
... In recent years, it has become an important commercial crop and is widely cultivated in New Zealand, Italy, China, and several other countries. It is favored by consumers worldwide because it contains more key micronutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and folic acid, than most other fruits [1]. According to the Chinese kiwifruit industry development report in 2020, the planting area of kiwifruit in China was 290,700 hm 2 by the end of 2019, with the total output reaching 3,000,000 tons. ...
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... At present, China (2.1 million tonnes) is the largest kiwifruit producer, accounting for 50% of the total, followed by Italy (555,000 t) and New Zealand (437,000 t) (Research and Markets, 2020). As the king of fruits, kiwifruit contains a wide range of nutritional compounds, including sugar, organic acids, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamin E, folic acid, antioxidants and phytonutrients, particularly the exceptionally high content of vitamin C (Ma et al., 2017;Richardson et al., 2018;Zehra et al., 2020). As an important horticultural cash crop, the kiwifruit is not only consumed domestically, but also imports from abroad, constituting a globally traded commodity (Ma et al., 2017). ...
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