Facts about kiwi

We found 15 facts about kiwi

Tasty and valuable

The kiwifruit, also known as Chinese gooseberry, is an extremely fascinating and unique representative of the plant world. Its exotic appearance, unusual taste, and abundance of nutrients attract the attention of both healthy lifestyle enthusiasts and scientific researchers.

It originates from areas of East Asia, especially China, where it has been valued for centuries for its taste and medicinal properties. 

Kiwi is a real treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Regular consumption of this fruit can bring numerous health benefits, so it is worth including in your daily menu.

Kiwi is the name for the edible fruits of several species of actinidia (Actinidia), a vine in the actinidia family (Actindiaceae).

The Actinidia family includes about 55-75 species, found in eastern and southern Asia, from Japan to Indonesia. Their greatest diversity is found in China, where as many as 44 species are endemic to that country.

The fruits (berries) of gourmet Actinidia (Actinidia deliciosa) and Chinese actinidia (Actinidia chinensis) and their hybrids are known as kiwis.

Less popular are also the edible fruits of the sharp-leaved Actinidia (Actinidia arguta) and the mottled Actinidia (Actinidia kolomikta), which are sometimes called minikiwi.

Kiwi is native to central and eastern China, where it grows wild as a vine.

The fruit was originally known as the Chinese gooseberry, native to the Yangtze River region, where it grows as a strong, woody liana or climbing shrub in the forests there. The original name of the kiwi is Yang Tao. However, this 19th-century name is rarely used in modern Chinese for kiwi, more often for carambola (Averrhoa carambola).

The common name in China, Taiwan, and other Chinese-speaking regions today is Mi Hou Tao for native kiwifruit or Qi Yi Guo for imported.

The first description of kiwi dates back to the 12th century, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

At the time, the fruit came from the wild and was used mainly for medicinal purposes. Cultivation was extremely rare.

Today, actinidia is cultivated in the Chinese provinces of Fujian, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang.

In the 20th century, kiwi cultivation spread to New Zealand.

The seeds were brought to New Zealand by Isabel Fraser, a faculty member at Wanganui Girls' College, who visited mission schools in Yichang (Hubei province in China). The seeds were sown in 1906 by Wanganui gardener Alexander Allison. The plants first bore fruit in 1910 and, after consumption by some people, were found to taste like gooseberries. Because of this association, the fruit was named Chinese gooseberry.

In New Zealand, kiwi cultivation and fruit were popularized.

In 1959, they were marketed in New Zealand as "kiwifruit" and spread to other parts of the world. The fruit began to be exported first to England (the fruit became very popular with British and American soldiers stationed in New Zealand during World War II), where it was very well received in the fruit market. From there, they made their way to continental Europe and North America.

The popularity of kiwifruit in the world began in the 1970s. Today, they are grown in various countries, including southern Europe, Australia, and the United States, mainly in California and Chile.

In Europe, one of the largest producers of this fruit is Italy, which exports kiwis to many countries around the world. They are also grown successfully in southern France, Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

The appearance of the fruit made New Zealand growers associate it with the kiwi bird - a symbol of the country.

It was an excellent marketing ploy. The fruit was named "kiwi" in the 1960s in honor of the country's symbol, which intended to launch exports to the rest of the world. The kiwi bird is a flightless bird with plumage in color and texture approximating the skin of the fruit. In New Zealand and Australia, the word "kiwi" has so far referred exclusively to the bird or as a nickname for New Zealanders.

The sale of the fruit with the name "Chinese gooseberry" did not bode well, and the name change influenced the growth of kiwi popularity in foreign markets and the development of its production.

In 2021, 4.467.099 tons of kiwifruit were produced worldwide.

China was responsible for half of the total global harvest. Europe produced 952.890 tons during the period, with Italy, Greece, and Portugal being the largest producers.

The world's five largest kiwifruit producers (China, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Iran) together produced 90.3 percent of the total crop in 2021.

Most of the kiwifruit sold belongs to several varieties of Actinidia deliciosa.

These are mainly varieties: "Hayward", "Blake" and "Saanichton 12". They have dull brown, hairy skin and light green flesh.

Actinidia chinensis (yellow or golden kiwifruit) has smooth brown skin, and the color of the flesh varies from light green to intense yellow. This species is sweeter and more aromatic in taste compared to Actinidia deliciosa. Among the varieties of golden kiwifruit, Zespri Gold is the best-known and best-selling worldwide.

All varieties of kiwi are extremely rich in vitamin C.

Eating 100 grams of kiwifruit (about one piece) satisfies the daily requirement for this vitamin by more than 100 percent. Compared to apples (about 5 mg/100 g of fruit), kiwifruit (93 mg /100 g of fruit) contains almost 20 times more vitamin C.

Kiwi fruit also contains vitamins E, K, folic acid, potassium, copper, carotenoids, and dietary fiber. 100 grams of this fruit contains 61 calories.

The kiwi fruit is a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals, including it in your daily diet can help improve your health.

Regular consumption of kiwi fruit can bring numerous health benefits. The substances it contains help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, lowering cholesterol and regulating blood pressure.

In addition, thanks to its high potassium content, kiwi can support nervous system function and maintain the body's electrolyte balance. Studies suggest that kiwifruit may have positive effects on the health of the digestive tract. The enzyme actinidin contained in it facilitates the digestion of proteins, which may help alleviate gastric problems.

Due to its composition, it provides antioxidant protection (flavonoids, vitamin C), strengthens immunity, and improves lung function in people with bronchial asthma. The introduction of fruit into the diet can improve the glycemic response of the body in diabetics, ensure healthy skin and have a positive effect on pregnancy.

Kiwifruit ensures a good night's sleep.

Studies have shown that eating two kiwi fruits a day improves sleep quality and makes it easier to fall asleep. However, do not eat more than two fruits per day, as they contain a significant amount of oxalates.

Kiwi fruits are eaten raw.

They can be eaten whole, along with the peel, which is also a rich source of vitamins. The fruit contains peptidase - the enzyme actinidin or papain, which can cause allergies in humans.

In people who are allergic to papaya or pineapple, kiwi fruit is not recommended.

Kiwi has its own holiday.

It is called Fenakiwi or Festa Nacional do Kiwi (Kiwi Festival). It is an annual festival in the city of Farroupilha, Brazil. The festival is held over three weekends and is attended by more than a hundred thousand people.

The shoots and leaves of the kiwi vine contain essential oils that are loved by cats.

Crushed kiwi seeds yield oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Kiwi fruits can be stored for a long time without compromising their health-promoting properties.

Even after storing these fruits for six months, the vitamin C content is about 90 percent.

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