This unassuming fuzzy fruit, named for the kiwi bird of New Zealand, is a surprise as the most nutrient-dense fruit. Just one large kiwi, peeled, has as much potassium, which may help control blood pressure, as a small banana (about 10% of your daily needs) and as much vitamin C, important for a healthy immune system, as an orange, about 1½ times your daily needs. A kiwifruit has about three grams of fiber, 10% of your fiber for a day, and triple that if you eat the skin, which is completely edible. Many people are put off by the stickery fuzz, but you can use a soft brush to scrub that off if you find it objectionable.
Kiwis contain no cholesterol or saturated fat and have about half your recommended vitamin K, all for 56 calories, about 2/3 of the calories of an equal size banana. The surprising nutrient in kiwifruit is the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, and kiwi is just about the only nonfat source of that vitamin. A large kiwi has 7% of your vitamin E for a day, a real nutrition bonus. Kiwi are also a good source of copper and they’re rich in lutein, a carotenoid essential for vision health that can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Kiwifruit are inexpensive and are available year-round. Choose kiwis that are soft to the touch, like a ripe peach, or let them ripen on the counter for a day or two. After that, kiwis keep best in the refrigerator for up to a week. Kiwis are easy to eat, once you know the tricks. You can cut it in half and scoop it out with a spoon, or cut off each end and run a table knife around the fruit inside the skin.
You can add kiwis to any fruit salad and toss them into smoothies. Make chilled fruit kabobs with kiwi, peaches, and grapes or slice them onto a dessert pizza. Dice them onto breakfast cereal for a bright change from berries. Or try something new by spreading whole wheat tortillas with lowfat cream cheese, tucking in kiwi and mango slices, and grilling them for a healthy twist on dessert. Drizzle on a couple teaspoons of caramel ice cream topping and you have a treat everyone will love.