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Kiwi - oval shaped fruit is one of top 10 healthiest

February 27, 2001

Kiwi - oval shaped fruit is one of top 10 healthiest



By KEVIN CLAPP

kevinc@herald-mail.com




What other fruits are on the top 10 healthiest list?

  • Papaya
  • Strawberry
  • Blackberry
  • Guava
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Dried apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon


- Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest




John Fagundes makes his living growing an oblong, green golfball with fur, and wouldn't have it any other way.

continued

Prickily to the touch on the outside - like rubbing your hand across day-old stubble - slicing into the kiwi yields a power-packed nutritional source unparalleled in the fruit kingdom.

According to a 1997 study conducted by Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., kiwi contains almost twice the Vitamin C of oranges, high levels of magnesium and Vitamin E, and more potassium than bananas.

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Not bad for a fruit that 30 years ago was enigmatic at best on American soil.

"Kiwifruit went from just a peculiar fruit that no one really knew about to pretty mainstream," says Fagundes, president of Fagundes Farms, a California grower of kiwi. "You can go to just about any grocery store in the U.S. and see kiwifruit and see it year-round."

Two kiwi make one serving. The oval-shaped fruit can be sliced into salads, combined with other fruits for a fruit salad or sliced in half and eaten with a spoon.

And thanks to a variation in growing seasons around the world, shoppers never have a problem finding kiwi - also known as kiwifruit or the Chinese Gooseberry. When the California growing cycle ends in April, the Chilean crops begin. In June, New Zealand kiwi comes in and can supply fruit until California's season begins at the end of September.

In a year, Fagundes' farm will produce one million seven-pound packages of kiwi. One reason it has become popular, the farmer says, is its taste.

"A lot of people taste it, and some people like the sweetness, and some people like the tartness," Fagundes says.

It's a versatility that suits the fruit well. Its nutritional versatility spreads beyond its levels of Vitamin C and potassium as well.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Its level of lutein, a carotenoid that serves as an antioxidant, is rivaled only by yellow corn.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Eating kiwi provides soluble and insoluble fibers, which can protect against heart disease and diabetes (soluble) or reduce the risk of some cancers (insoluble).

You also don't have to worry about slurping down your kiwi within a few days of buying it at the supermarket. It can be kept, refrigerated, for weeks before it goes bad.

"It's a fruit you can store," Fagundes says. "It's not just picked and has to be sold within 30 days."

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