It is cold and flu season, and it’s a doozy this year! Lots and lots of people are suffering from this hellacious virus, and reports say the flu shot is only about 10% effective this year. In spite of having medical training (and maybe BECAUSE I have medical training), I am not a flu shot advocate. It is only marginally effective, and has a lot of toxic by-products in it as well, including the neurotoxin, thimerosal.
The better way to fight off a cold or the flu is to eat foods loaded with antioxidants, especially organically grown fresh fruits and veggies. Some of these foods are literally bursting with antioxidants that will arm your immune system to fight off the toughest viruses—way better than a flu shot!
Kiwi is one of those super high antioxidant, powerful weapons to add to your arsenal. Why is kiwi so fantastic? Kiwi is loaded with at least 20 vital nutrients, including: vitamin C, carotenoids, polyphenols, fiber, and tons more vitamins and minerals. Even scientific research confirms that kiwi fruit have some seriously beneficial effects on the immune system. Kiwi has also been shown to influence a number of biomarkers that have to do with decreasing oxidative stress and creating a stronger, more robust immune system.
This amazing little green, furry fruit provides about 275% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C per serving – five times that of an orange!! Not only does kiwi help fight off colds and the flu, but these super antioxidants have immune-stimulating activity, which means they actually help to stimulate the immune system even more.
And even better, kiwi’s vitamin C helps to reduce wheezing and asthma symptoms in children as well. Research has also shown kiwifruit has a major protective effect against asthma and respiratory problems, including wheezing and coughing, due to allergies or colds and flu. This study conducted in Italy on over 4,000 children, showed that the children eating 6 or 7 servings of kiwifruit and other vitamin C-rich foods per week had a 44% lower incidence of wheezing! That’s quite a statement! Even those eating these foods only once or twice a week, had lesser symptoms, in comparative studies.
Kiwi also contains a large dose of vitamin E that also goes after free radicals in the body and protects the immune system, as well as strengthening heart health. It also contains a large allotment of vitamin K, which is especially helpful for preventing harmful blood clots, like those that cause heart attacks, strokes, and thrombosis.
There’s more to this valuable little fruit. Kiwi contains large quantities of vitamin A, which not only benefits the immune system as well, but it is great for fighting skin infections, protecting the bones, teeth, and the eyes.
Kiwi’s vast treasures also include B vitamins, especially B6 which is important for pregnant mothers to protect their growing babies against birth defects. B6 also helps the nerve and brain function, as well as being beneficial for a healthy mood. Kiwi also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which help to protect brain health, decrease heart disease, modulate ADHD, and help lift your moods.
Kiwi’s rich source of powerful polyphenols contribute to its antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties, which also helps to fight cancer. One of the body’s first lines against cancer is having a strong immune system, so kiwi is a tough weapon, along with a diet heavy in brightly colored veggies and fruits.
Kiwi comes in both green and gold varieties, and, although not as easy to find, the gold kiwi type comes out slightly ahead of the green variety when it comes to antioxidant strength.
Kiwi also can aid in a good night’s sleep, and increase the ‘feel good’ brain chemical, serotonin. It’s high fiber content helps to feed and nourish a healthy microbiome as well—which also contributes greatly to our immune health and happy moods. My friend Danette May also has an article on kiwi and sleep here: How 2 kiwis a day keep insomnia away
The conclusion: kiwifruit consumption is a powerful weapon to help boost the immune system, decrease free radicals, fight inflammation, and create massive health benefits. Although it is small, it has a mighty powerful punch!
Kiwi is often eaten skinned, but its thin brown skin is also edible and full of precious nutrients as well. While it is a little fuzzy, those little fuzzies actually increase its fiber content by three times. And the skin contains even more vitamin C! Be sure to choose organic kiwi when you can, and always wash the skin if you are going to eat it.
I like to throw kiwi into salads, make delicious fruity salsa as a topping for grilled fish, add to smoothies or just eat it plain, out of hand. Kiwi has a delicious sweet-tart taste, a little like strawberries, and most everyone likes kiwi! Choose ones that are firm but yield slightly. And remember, “A kiwi a day, keeps the Doctor away!”
Here’s more on kiwi: How kiwi fruit fights depression and fatigue