Kiwi's Impact On Blood Sugar Management

  • Muna Hassan Bachelor of science in molecular biology and Genetics, Üsküdar Üniversitesi

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Ever wondered about the impact of Kiwi on your health beyond its tangy and sweet taste?

Kiwi, commonly known as Chinese fruit berry, is a green little fruit that botanically belongs to the Actnidiaceae family.

As popularly believed, kiwis are of Chinese origin and are obtained as edible berries of several species of wooden vine in the genus Actinidia.

The kiwi are a rich source of vitamin C, essential minerals, and dietary fibre with low cholesterol and sugar content. 

Studies have shown their nutrient content supersedes many other fruits, including oranges and apples.

Because of this, kiwi has often been referred to as a nutrition powerhouse.

The exceptional qualities of Kiwi as a nutrient-dense (containing many nutrients) fruit have propelled scientists to applaud it as one of the highly recommended fruits for blood sugar management.

Blood sugar management is a way of keeping track of your blood sugar level. This includes keeping track of what could make your blood sugar go up or down.

Minding the kind of food you eat is an effective way to keep track of your blood sugar.

Eating foods low in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar is required for effective blood sugar management.

Kiwi is an ideal example of a food aimed at managing your blood sugar level, considering its low calorie and sugar content in addition to its high vitamin C and dietary fibre content.

The reason for blood sugar management is to prevent abnormal increases (hyperglycemia) or decreases (hypoglycemia) in your blood sugar level.

However, this article focuses on kiwi and its ability to control abnormal increases in your blood sugar level having seen that dieticians strongly suggest this fruit to be healthy for people having high blood sugar.

This article hopes to help you understand the health benefits of kiwi and the importance of adding it to your diet. Read on to learn more.

Nutritional composition of Kiwi

As we earlier noted, kiwi is a nutrient-dense fruit as a result of the many nutrients it contains. Below is a list, containing the amount of nutrients per 100 grams found in kiwi as recorded by the USDA.

NameAmount and Unit
Energy             64 kcal
Dietary fiber 3g
Total sugar   8.99g
Vitamin C       74.7mg
Folate                    26µg
Vitamin E (α-tocopherol)1.3 mg 
Iron0.24 mg
Potassium, K198 mg
Phosphorous, P34 mg
Protein1.6 g
Lutein + Zeaxanthin122 µg

Dietary fiber content of Kiwi

Kiwis are high in dietary fibre. Fibers are a type of carbohydrate, but different from carbohydrates in the sense that they are non-digestible

While normal carbohydrate contributes to the increase in glucose level, which is inadvertently an increase in blood sugar level, fibres since they are non-digestible do have a zero contribution to sugar level.

Hence, kiwi is a perfect dietary choice for you even if your blood sugar has been diagnosed as abnormally high.

Vitamins content of Kiwi

Kiwi is packed with a range of vitamins and minerals. It has a distinctive vitamin C content, high in vitamin E, and is an essential source of potassium, magnesium, and folate. 

The vitamin C content of kiwi serves as a great support to your immune system. The fighting ability of white blood cells in the body—leukocytes— is dependent on the substantial amount of vitamin C it contains.

Vitamin E, on one side, has been proven by research to have shown a positive impact on glycemic indices and insulin resistance. It improves your insulin resistance by increasing your insulin sensitivity.

A higher insulin sensitivity fights high blood sugar as more cells tend to absorb the glucose processed by your body for use as energy. 

The result of this is a drop in the amount of sugar thrown into your bloodstream.

Minerals and folate content of Kiwi

The minerals contained in kiwi have an antioxidant effect and, thus, assist in supporting the immune system.

The folates as well as the vitamins and minerals found in kiwi all contribute to improving the immune system as well as improving your blood sugar level.

Still, having doubts about incorporating Kiwi into your diet plan?

How kiwi impacts your blood sugar levels

We've looked at the nutrient composition of kiwi and how they've convincingly stood out as a healthy option for blood sugar management.

However, It's important that you're aware of the mechanism involving the effect of kiwi's nutrient content on your blood sugar.

In this section, the antioxidant properties of kiwi; their glycemic index; their effect on postprandial blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance and sensitivity effect have been discussed.

Antioxidant properties of kiwi

Kiwi, as a fruit, is commonly reported to contain phenolics and ascorbic acid (vit. C), which possesses high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

The antioxidant effect of a food accounts for its effect in fighting against free harmful radicals— which are released as a result of oxidation, to protect your cells. 

Kiwi's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties can be attributed to the presence of carotenoid, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid.

Hence, kiwi can comfortably serve as an anti-inflammatory diet.

What's more?

A lot of people tend to appreciate only the juicy and tangy part of kiwi, throwing away the peels. However, studies have shown that the peels of kiwi have a higher nutritional value. 

What's more exciting than eating a fruit that's wholly healthy for your body system?

If you're still thinking about adding kiwi to your diet, you should get along with it already!

The glycemic index content of Kiwi

Kiwis have a low glycemic index. Hence, it's considered a low glycemic index (GI) diet.

The glycemic index measures the speed at which glucose is released into your bloodstream. 

Kiwi has a low glycemic index and this means that it releases little glucose into the bloodstream ie., the rate at which it increases your blood sugar is very slow.

This variably results in reduced stress following the release of insulin by the body—that is, the insulin demand of your body is lessened. 

The impact of this low-GI diet resultantly leads to weight loss, a decreased blood sugar level, a lower risk of diabetes as well as a low risk of heart and blood-related issues.

Kiwi's effect on postprandial blood glucose

Your postprandial blood glucose (glucose level after a meal), also known as a glycaemic response, is the effect a food has on your blood glucose after consumption.  

Studies have shown that kiwi has low glycemic potency and thus, is effective in managing postprandial glycemia. 

Incorporating kiwi into your diet

Having seen the numerous benefits of kiwi fruit, it would be a great idea for you to incorporate it as a part of your diet.

And if you're worried about the amount of consumption that would appear as excess, you could just stick to this recommended serving size.

Kids (ages 5–12):

  • Females: 2½ - 5 cups per day
  • Males: 2½ - 5 cups per day. 

Teens and Adults (ages 13 and up)

  • Females: 3½ - 5 cups per day 
  • Males: 4½ - 6 cups per day.

Note that a ½ cup of kiwi is about one medium kiwi.

Again, you can combine kiwi with other foods as your body requires enough fruits and vegetables to gain a healthy balance.

There are several ways of doing this. Here are a few listed options:

  • Combine kiwi with other fruits to make a smoothie.
  • Combine with a low-fat yoghurt to make a parfait.
  • You can use ripe kiwis for fruit salad.
  • Kiwi adds great flavour to your fruit salad.
  • Slices of kiwi can be added to your cake to improve its taste and also as decor.

Potential considerations and precautions to take when eating Kiwi

Although kiwi is a great fruit idea. There are a few precautions to observe when consuming this. This includes:

  • Allergies and Sensitivity
  • Interaction with Medication
  • Individual Variations in Response

Allergies and Sensitivity: Here are some allergies that can be associated with eating kiwis.  

  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Vomiting
  • Itches and swellings around the mouth area
  • Tightness of throat 
  • Red bumps on skin (hives)
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in swallowing(dysphagia)

Interaction with Medication: There is very little evidence as regards the adverse effect of kiwi with any drug. However, it's important you consult your doctor before taking any prescription.

Individual Variations in Response: Different individuals react differently to foods. While some people can suffer chronic allergies to kiwi, some may suffer mild or no allergies. 

It all varies with the individual's system. So, you should consult a healthcare provider if your body responds abnormally to kiwi.

Summary

Based on the pieces of evidence we've looked at in this study, there are no doubts that kiwifruits do have a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels. 

Its high vitamin C content ranges from its high dietary fibre content to low sugar content and glycemic value.

In addition, the effect of Kiwi as a rich source of antioxidants and other nutrients that may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation all stand to prove the essence of making Kiwi a part of your diet.

References

  1. Richardson, David P., et al. “The Nutritional and Health Attributes of Kiwifruit: A Review.” European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 57, no. 8, 2018, pp. 2659–76. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z.
  2. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2344734/nutrients. Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.
  3. Asbaghi, Omid, et al. “Effect of Vitamin E Intake on Glycemic Control and Insulin Resistance in Diabetic Patients: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Nutrition Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, Feb. 2023, p. 10. BioMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-023-00840-1.
  4. Liu, Zifan, et al. “Antioxidative Properties and Phenolic Profile of the Core, Pulp, and Peel of Commercialized Kiwifruit by LC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS.” Processes, vol. 10, no. 9, Sept. 2022, p. 1811. www.mdpi.com, https://doi.org/10.3390/pr10091811.
  5. Mishra, Suman, et al. “Equicarbohydrate Partial Exchange of Kiwifruit for Wheaten Cereal Reduces Postprandial Glycaemia without Decreasing Satiety.” Journal of Nutritional Science, vol. 5, Sept. 2016, p. e37. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1017/jns.2016.30.
  6. Gall, H., et al. “Kiwi Fruit Allergy: A New Birch Pollen-Associated Food Allergy.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 94, no. 1, July 1994, pp. 70–76. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-6749(94)90073-6.

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Adindu Favour

Bachelor of Applied Science - BASc, Pure and Industrial chemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University

My name is Adindu Favour certified in analytical and Industrial chemistry. I have several years of experience in writing technical health content and B2B SAAS content. Having worked in the research lab as an analytical chemist, I've been involved in methodology research for different projects and also in methodological reports. My research experiments cut across nutrition, food substances, and drugs. Currently, I'm enthusiastic about AI in healthcare.

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