Midlife Health: Vitamin C, the Kiwifruit Way

Although I don’t have too much of a “sweet tooth”, one of my favorite desserts is Pavlova. Basically it’s a round merengue “dome” with a soft, marshmallow-type center and topped with whipped cream and fruit.  Although I don’t make them often, I did have one just the other night while out to dinner at a New Zealand-style restaurant.  You will generally only find Pavlovas in Australia and New Zealand.

DownUnder we frequently put kiwifruit on top of the Pavlova, often along with strawberries.  So what’s in a Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa)?   They are delicious and loaded with Vitamin C along with other nutrients. The flesh is either a translucent, bright-green color (the most common one) or golden which is less common but equally delicious.Their skin is furry and although edible, not very tasty. The fruit itself has more Vitamin C than a similarly-sized orange, more vitamins E and K than most other fruits, almost as much potassium as a small banana and as much fiber as one of my favorite breakfasts – a cup of cooked oatmeal.

Kiwifruit was “born” in China and was originally know as Chinese Gooseberry, a name I still remember from growing up in Australia. New Zealanders however named it in honor of their national bird when they began to cultivate it commercially. Italy, Chile, Greece and France are now also commercial producers.

Components of kiwifruit have potential properties of a natural  blood thinner.  From a study performed at the University of Oslo in Norway it was reported that eating two to three kiwifruit daily for 28 days significantly reduced the stickiness of platelets and  blood triglyceride levels (something along the lines of “aspirin therapy”), potentially reducing the risk of blood clots.  The fruit is also a natural source of provitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

One other benefit that appeals to me is that kiwifruit is low on the pesticide contamination list so if you can’t find organic ones, then conventionally grown fruits will add very little to your body’s pesticide load. Always a important consideration when buying foods today!

And in case all this talk of Pavlova has started you salivating … How to Make a Pavlova

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