Kiwi for Constipation and More

Are Kiwis a true gut health “Superfood”?

I know what you’re thinking.

Kiwis?

Really?!

Yep, really.

This delightful green fruit has several properties that make it stand out from the gut health perspective including the fact that a standard serving (2 fruits) is considered Low FODMAP and contains a unique blend of both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as >100% of one’s Vitamin C requirement.

Vitamin C, as per my recent article on the subject, may confer unique benefits to the gut microbiome.

But there’s more to kiwis than that, they also contain a unique enzyme known as actinidin which may improve protein digestion.

Taken together, these characteristics may explain the numerous studies conducted around kiwi and gut health which I’m about to explore next.

Kiwifruit For Constipation & More

Before we dig deeper into the specifics, let’s start by outlining some of the potential gut health benefits of regular kiwi consumption, as per the European Journal Of Nutrition:

Now, let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis out of Future Pharmacology found that regular kiwi consumption (2-4 daily) was associated with improved bowel movement frequency in both healthy subjects and those affected by constipation. 

This particular study also speculated that kiwi’s unique content of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants may contribute to a reduction in gut barrier inflammation.

MRI data suggests that some of the kiwi's gut health benefits are linked to its water-holding capacity, which may be amplified by the unique nature and combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber found within the fruit.

Another study published last year, this time an RCT out of the American Journal Of Gastroenterology, found that kiwifruit (2 daily) may be as effective as psyllium fiber (12 grams daily) for short-term use in those with chronic constipation with the key consideration being that there were less adverse effects and patient dissatisfaction reported in the kiwi intervention.

It doesn’t end there as an even more recent systematic review (2022) out of Advances In Nutrition looked at abdominal pain and discomfort scores in habitual kiwifruit consumers and found that in all populations (healthy, IBS-C, chronic constipation) they reported less abdominal pain and indigestion, as rated by appropriate scales.

The significant volume of recently published review studies really speaks to the scientific community’s interest in the use of kiwifruit as a non-invasive and low-risk strategy to improve health outcomes.

But we aren’t done just yet.

Blood Pressure Bonus Round

The dietitian in me simply couldn’t resist this final push.

According to CDC data, nearly half of all American adults have either high blood pressure or formally diagnosed hypertension.

In fact, blood pressure-lowering medication is among the most frequently prescribed in the United States.

The dietary component that may be most helpful in contributing positively to blood pressure management is dietary potassium, with a pair of kiwis contributing a significant (10% DV) of this important and often under-consumed mineral.

Okay, I’m done I swear – hope you enjoyed it!

 

  1. Richardson, D. P., Ansell, J., & Drummond, L. N. (2018). The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. European journal of nutrition, 57(8), 2659–2676. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z 
  2. Lee, Y. K., Low, K. Y., Siah, K., Drummond, L. M., & Gwee, K. A. (2012). Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) changes intestinal microbial profile. Microbial ecology in health and disease, 23, 10.3402/mehd.v23i0.18572. https://doi.org/10.3402/mehd.v23i0.18572 
  3. Kaur, L., & Boland, M. (2013). Influence of kiwifruit on protein digestion. Advances in food and nutrition research, 68, 149–167. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-394294-4.00008-0 
  4. Antonelli, M., & Donelli, D. (2021). Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) Dietary Consumption for Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Future Pharmacology, 1(1), 27–40. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/futurepharmacol1010003 
  5. Wilkinson-Smith, V., Dellschaft, N., Ansell, J., Hoad, C., Marciani, L., Gowland, P., & Spiller, R. (2019). Mechanisms underlying effects of kiwifruit on intestinal function shown by MRI in healthy volunteers. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 49(6), 759–768. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.15127 
  6. Chey, S. W., Chey, W. D., Jackson, K., & Eswaran, S. (2021). Exploratory Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Green Kiwifruit, Psyllium, or Prunes in US Patients With Chronic Constipation. The American journal of gastroenterology, 116(6), 1304–1312. https://doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000001149 
  7. Bayer, S. B., Frampton, C. M., Gearry, R. B., & Barbara, G. (2022). Habitual Green Kiwifruit Consumption Is Associated with a Reduction in Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms: A Systematic Scoping Review. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 13(3), 846–856. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmac025 

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