Growing scientific evidence demonstrates the health benefits of kiwifruit

Media Release - 13 April 2016

From the digestive system to immunity and metabolic health, an increasing body of research demonstrates how beneficial kiwifruit is for human health. The latest research was presented in Tauranga, New Zealand this week by leading scientists at the first-ever International Symposium on Kiwifruit and Health.

The symposium brought together nearly 200 global health experts to consider the role of fruit, in particular kiwifruit, in a healthy diet. The event was initiated by the Riddet Institute of New Zealand and sponsored by Zespri, and presented 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.

Among key findings presented:

  • Kiwifruit regulates sugar highs and lows in your blood stream.
  • New results from human clinical trials reinforce that Zespri Green Kiwifruit improves digestive health function and comfort. This is due to its unique combination of actinidin (a kiwifruit enzyme), fibre and other components.
  • Kiwifruit boosts your immunity. Eating kiwifruit daily is very effective at increasing blood levels of vitamin C as well as levels 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 comments, “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, says the findings are 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,” says Dr Ansell.

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 kiwifruit 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 Dr Ansell.

Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, Co-director of the Riddet Institute, says this is the first time anywhere in the world that so much expertise on kiwifruit and health science has been brought together in one place. “Continued investment in world-class research on the health benefits of kiwifruit has value both for Zespri, for health practitioners and for consumers around the world, as the importance of a healthy and balanced diet becomes ever-more important and understood,” says Prof Moughan.

» Health Symposium (full media release)

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