Daily consumption of kiwi fruit can eliminate chronic constipation
(NaturalHealth365) Kiwi fruit – long valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to promote good digestion – is gaining recognition among modern-day researchers as a natural tool for protecting gastrointestinal health. Recent scientific studies have supported the ability of this delicious fruit to safely ease chronic constipation – and more.
Constipation affects about 20 percent of the general population in the United States, with a higher incidence occurring among the elderly. And, while commercial laxatives can help relieve constipation, many feature potentially dangerous side effects, such as diarrhea, cramping, electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. (there is a better way to find relief.)
It’s official: Daily kiwi fruit consumption can alleviate and prevent chronic constipation
Constipation – generally defined as infrequent bowel movements (less than three a week) and/or difficult passage of stools – is considered chronic if it persists for more than a few weeks.
Rich in antioxidants and high in fiber, kiwi fruit has a potent anti-inflammatory effect that can cause overall improvement in bowel function – and relieve chronic constipation.
Specifically, studies have shown that daily consumption of kiwi fruit improves the softness and bulk of stools, thereby increasing the frequency and ease of bowel movements while reducing uncomfortable “straining.”
And, unlike harsh laxatives, kiwi fruit alleviates constipation without causing diarrhea.
Research has shown that even people not currently affected by constipation can benefit from consuming kiwi fruit daily – as a strategy to “stay regular.” In one study, a control group of participants (who were not experiencing constipation) ate kiwi fruit daily – and experienced no adverse gastrointestinal effects whatsoever.
Note: If you experience a persistent, unexplained change in bowel habits, a prompt visit to a qualified doctor is in order.
Kiwi fruit offers help for inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome
Kiwi fruit not only alleviates simple constipation, but helps to ease constipation arising from irritable bowel syndrome. IBS, a common gastrointestinal tract disorder, can involve alternating cycles of diarrhea and constipation, along with abdominal cramping, nausea and flatulence.
In a study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation consumed two Hayward green kiwi fruit a day for four weeks.
And the results were impressive.
The participants experienced significant increases in frequency of bowel movements, along with a substantial shortening of colon transit time – leading the team to conclude that the daily consumption of kiwi fruit improved bowel function.
In addition, a laboratory study in Cell Immunology showed that kiwi fruit extracts inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Researchers credited the extracts with “significant anti-inflammatory activity relevant to inflammatory bowel disease” – and called for further study.
Why kiwi fruit works: Actinidin and pectin deliver a “one-two punch” against constipation
Kiwi fruit owes much of its therapeutic powers to its content of actinidin, an enzyme that helps to promote digestive motility. In other words, it “keeps things moving” through the gastrointestinal tract.
Pectin, a plant fiber, adds bulk to stool and helps to speed the passage of waste through the intestines Pectin’s normalizing and regulating effects on bowel movements means that it is effective at treating both constipation and diarrhea.
Actinidin and pectin are both prebiotics – substances which provide food for “friendly” gut bacteria that are essential for immune health. Simultaneously, they discourage “unfriendly” (pathogenic) bacteria.
The merits of kiwi pectin were highlighted by a recent laboratory study in which researchers compared the effect of kiwi fruit pectin with other commercial prebiotics, including inulin and citrus pectin.
They found that pectin in kiwi fruit was the most effective of all in reducing the intestinal adhesion, or “stickiness,” of disease-causing Salmonella bacteria, while increasing the stickiness of friendly Lactobacillus bacteria. In other words, kiwi pectin literally prevented the Salmonella pathogen from “sticking around.”
Nutrient-dense kiwi fruit is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols
At a modest 42 calories, an average-sized kiwi fruit delivers 2.1 g of beneficial fiber, 64 mg of immune system-boosting vitamin C and 27.8 mcg of vitamin K – which helps to maintain healthy arteries by reducing the buildup of calcium.
Kiwi fruit is also a good source of vitamin E – which helps to maintain the integrity and function of heart muscle – and is rich in potassium, essential for regulating blood pressure.
In addition to the disease-fighting power contributed by vitamins C and E, kiwi fruit boasts a wealth of antioxidant citric and gallic acids – as well as vision-boosting carotenoids such as lutein.
Finally, kiwi fruit is rich in glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Sometimes called the “mother of all antioxidants,” glutathione not only prevents oxidative damage to the cells, but serves to recycle vitamins C and E in the body.
And here’s one more reason for enjoying kiwi fruit on a daily basis: a single kiwi a day has been shown to lower the risk of stroke, blood clots and heart disease.
A word of caution: Allergic reactions to kiwi fruit have been reported. Being allergic to pollens, rye, avocado and bananas makes a kiwi fruit reaction more likely.
Also, kiwi fruit is high in oxalates, so you may want to limit consumption if you are prone to kidney stones. A qualified health coach or nutritionist can advise you.
The takeaway: eating a fresh, organic kiwi fruit every day can enhance gastrointestinal health and help banish uncomfortable constipation. And – not only is kiwi fruit nutrient-dense and fiber-rich – but it is delicious.
In other words: it’s win/win. (enjoy!)
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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