Feeling depressed, lethargic, anxious? Don’t fret — eat fruit! Specifically, consuming two kiwifruit could yield a significant mood boost, plus increased energy and several other health benefits.
Such are the implications of a study conducted by the University of Otago, in New Zealand, in which 35 male university students (ages 18 to 35 years) were assigned to a six week kiwi regimen of either half a kiwi or two kiwis per day. Emotional scores were monitored based on a mood scale state questionnaire, while blood values were also assessed for various nutrients, including vitamins C, E, D, iron and carotenoids.
The results, published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, found that the two kiwi cohort enjoyed a 31% increase in energy, a 38% decline in fatigue and a 34% decrease in depression. By contrast the half kiwi group reported no overall improvement in mood or energy.
Blood values and digestion
Kiwis provide a host of unexpected health benefits. Indeed, the fuzzy little tropical fruit wonders were found to significantly lower blood clot risk, according to a study led by Professor Asim Duttaroy at the University of Oslo.
In a University of Hong Kong study, chronically constipated adults who ate two kiwis a day for a month enjoyed a 23% reduction in discomfort, reducing “transit time” (how long it took food to make it all the way through the digestive system) by 15 hours, which in turn doubled the frequency of their bowel movements.
These improvements are attributed not just to the fiber found in kiwis, but also to the enzyme actinidin, similar to pineapple’s bromelain, which is thought to improve digestion.
Kiwis for better sleep
In a different study from Taipei Medical University, 24 volunteers were told to eat two kiwis one hour before bedtime for four weeks. They ended up sleeping up to 15% longer — and falling asleep 41% faster than compared to baseline (non-kiwi-consuming days before and after the study period).
And kiwis just might help you breathe easier, as scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea have found out. The study provides evidence that kiwis reduce asmathic symptoms and lead to a reduction in white blood cells (which marshal in excess among asthmatic and allergy patients). Kiwi’s powerful enzyme – actinidin – may play a role. Other research has suggested the pineapple enzyme bromelain may reduce the inflammation associated with asthma.
Dole researchers found the enzyme to be concentrated in the fruit’s tangy green flesh.
Rich in vitamin c
Kiwis’ high levels of vitamin C also deserve some credit. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, rising levels of vitamin C correlated with a 34% drop in mood disturbances. In addition to moderating the mopes, vitamin C yields an encouraging array of other benefits, including better skin condition, stronger bones, reduced inflammation, and improved brain performance.
For all of these health benefits and more, add two kiwifruits to your daily diet. Add slices to salads, smoothies, or yogurts, or just snack on them plain – they’re tasty on their own!