Does Kiwifruit Lower Cholesterol? The Cholesterol-Kiwi Connection

Kiwifruit (or simply kiwi), also known as Chinese gooseberry, is a delectable fruit with qualities that can benefit your cardiovascular health.

Kiwi’s Influence on Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health

Although kiwi contains no cholesterol, it does contain elements that can help lower the levels of cholesterol in the human body and contribute to cardiovascular health. The sections below describe how.

Kiwi Antioxidants

cholesterol antioxidant

Kiwi shines in its content of one particular antioxidant, Vitamin C. As the nutrition table below shows, 100 grams of kiwifruit contain 105.4 milligrams of Vitamin C. This is an extraordinarily high quantity, which equals 176% of the recommended daily intake of someone with a diet of 2,000 calories a day.

Research studies have shown Vitamin C to have two major effects on the cardiovascular system. Intake of Vitamin C is correlated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease. Also, it can lower total cholesterol in the bloodstream for people with high cholesterol levels and less than full tissue saturation [1].

The overall strength of antioxidants in the human body is measured by the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale. Kiwi contains 862 micromoles/liter of Trolox equivalents per 100 grams, for an ORAC value of 862. As the graph indicates, this is not a very high level compared to other high-antioxidant fruits.

One major type of antioxidants is the polyphenols (of which flavonoids are a class). Although kiwi ranks high in polyphenals among tropical fruits [2], kiwi does not stand among the top one hundred foods in polyphenal content.

Fiber in Kiwi

cholesterol

Kiwi does have quite a bit of dietary fiber, as you might guess from all of the seeds present in the flesh of the fruit. As the nutritional table below states, kiwi has 2 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of fruit. This translates into 8% of the recommended daily intake of someone on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Forty-one percent (41%) of this fiber is soluble fiber (i.e., soluble in water) and the remainder is insoluble. The amount of soluble fiber is significant because research studies have shown soluble fiber to be beneficial to cardiovascular health. Namely, soluble fiber reduces the blood serum level of LDL cholesterol, the “bad cholesterol” that is an actor in the the process of artery clogging, without reducing the level of HDL cholesterol [3], the “good cholesterol” that has been shown to work against it.

Copper in Kiwi

Kiwi is fairly high in one mineral in particular, copper. Every 100 grams of copper have 0.15 milligrams of copper. This may not sound like much, but it is equivalent to 7% of the recommended daily intake for someone on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. The amount of copper in kiwi is relevant in the context of this web site because copper has been linked to cardiovascular health. Western diets tend to be low in this antioxidant mineral. Deficiency in copper can contribute to excess cholesterol in the blood and high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as adversely affect all stages of clogging of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis) [4].

Macronutrients In Kiwifruit

Component
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calories
60
Protein
1.23 g
2%
Carbohydrate
14.23 g
5%
Fat
.56 g
1%
Fiber
2 g
8%
Sugar
10.98 g
Water
83.22 g
Ash
.76

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Fat Types In Kiwifruit

Fat Type
Amount
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
.15
1%
Monosaturated Fat
.04 g

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vitamins In Kiwifruit

Vitamin
Amount
% Daily Value*
Vitamin C
105.4 mg
176%
Vitamin E
1.49 mg
5%
Vitamin A – IU
72 IU
1%
Vitamin D – IU
0 IU
0%
Thiamin – B1
.02 mg
2%
Riboflavin – B2
.05 mg
3%
Niacin – B3
.28 mg
1%
Vitamin B6
.06 mg
3%
Vitamin B12
. mcg
.%
Folic Acid
. mg
Food Folate
34 mg

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Minerals in Kiwifruit

Mineral
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calcium
20 mg
2%
Magnesium
14 mg
4%
Iron
.29 mg
2%
Zinc
.1 mg
1%
Sodium
3 mg
0%
Phosphorus
29 mg
3%
Potassium
316 mg
9%
Manganese
.06 mg
3%
Copper
.15 mg
7.0%
Selenium
3.1 mg
4%

*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

How I Enjoy Eating and Drinking Kiwifruit

Kiwi is a tasty fruit with quite a bit of versatility. My favorite way to eat it is just by itself, raw with a spoon. (Fruit retains more of its nutrient content when it is raw than when you cook it.) Sometimes I enjoy putting it in yogurt or cottage cheese as part of my breakfast. Kiwi pairs well with fish, chicken, and venison. You can even enjoy it with Korean braised ribs. Kiwi also goes well in salads. Try making a salad with kiwi, strawberry, and spinach. You can also make delicious salsas with it. Kiwi can be used as an ingredient in many delightful desserts, including crepes, cheesecakes, and tarts. But I find that kiwi really shines in smoothies and it can be used as an ingredient in a variety of mixed drinks.

Referenced Works

[1] Simon, JA. “Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: a Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 11, no. 2 (April 1992): 107-125

[2] Phenol-Explorer online database

[3] Jenkins D., Wolever T., Rao, A. V. et al. “Effect on Blood Lipids of Very High Intakes of Fiber in Diets Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol.” New England Journal of Medicine 329 (1 July 1993): 21-26.

[4] Allen, K. G. D. and Klevay, L. M. “Copper: An Antioxidant Nutrient for Cardiovascular Health.” Current Opinion in Lipidology 5, no. 1 (February 1994): 22-28.

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