The growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of kiwifruit for human health was presented at the first-ever International Symposium on Kiwifruit and Health which is taking place this week in Tauranga, New Zealand.
The symposium, organised by the Riddet Institute of New Zealand and sponsored by Zespri, brings together nearly 200 global health experts to consider the role of fruit, in particular kiwifruit, in a healthy diet.
Delegates were told of the most recent studies and the research underway into the health benefits of kiwifruit within the areas of digestive health, health and vitamin C, and metabolic health.
These include new results from human clinical trials that reinforce that green kiwifruit improves digestives health function and comfort due to its unique combination of actinidin (a kiwifruit enzyme), fibre and other components.
Other key findings show that kiwifruit regulates sugar highs and lows in the blood stream, and can boost immunity, with daily consumption an effective way of increasing blood levels of vitamin C as well as in other parts of the body.
The keynote speaker at the event, Professor Jacob Seidell from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, is the Netherlands’ foremost obesity specialist. He commented: “Today, there is general consensus that for much of the world, nutrient-poor food is a key driver in escalating rates of obesity and related chronic disease. Improved health outcomes are associated with diets high in nutrient-rich, low energy-dense fruit – such as kiwifruit”.
Reflecting on the Symposium, Dr Juliet Ansell, Zespri’s innovation leader for health and nutrition, described the findings as great news for Zespri consumers. “We know that the more people hear about the health benefits of kiwifruit the more they consume, and this week we have heard exciting research results from new scientific studies,” Ansell said.
Among the highlights of this symposium is the finding by Dr John Monro from Plant & Food Research on the glycaemic impact of kiwifruit, which shows that the fruit helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
The delegates also were presented with results from Zespri’s New Zealand arm of a new global clinical trial, which shows that eating two green kiwifruit a day significantly improves bowel function. “The body of scientific evidence for the health benefits of kiwifruit continues to grow,” commented Ansell.