Research findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrate for the first time that in women with low iron stores, ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, when eaten with an iron-fortified breakfast cereal, significantly increased their iron status.
ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are known to have high levels of Vitamin C and carotenoids, both of which potentially aid the uptake of iron and increase iron stores in the body.
These research findings are extremely important as iron deficiency is the number one micronutrient deficiency, affecting more than 1.6 billion people worldwide, and is the most common cause of anaemia.
Iron is an important dietary mineral that is involved in various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood. This is essential in providing energy for daily life. Iron deficiency means less oxygen is delivered to the cells, which can lead to fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity.
Iron deficiency during childhood and adolescence is known to impair physical growth, mental development, and learning capacity. In adults, it impairs physical performance and cognitive function.
“As dietary management is often recommended as the first line of treatment for people with mild iron deficiency, this research provides us with evidence that by regularly incorporating ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit into meals which also contain iron, women can better manage their energy and iron levels whilst providing positive effects on the brain and the immune system,” said Dr Cath Conlon, Principal Researcher at the Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University.
“This is the first study of its type to investigate whether a Vitamin C rich food was able to improve iron status in women with low iron stores,” said Dr Conlon.
“Whilst this study has been conducted with women who have low iron stores, it is realistic to expect that others who are at risk of iron deficiency would also benefit,” said Dr Conlon.
Individuals at highest risk of iron deficiency and anaemia include: preschool children; pregnant, breast feeding and pre-menopausal women; and athletes.
“These results further demonstrate how the high Vitamin C levels in ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit can strengthen the body’s natural defences for everyday protection,” said Jodi Tong, Category Manager GOLD who looks after ZESPRI’s Health Marketing.
“Two ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, eaten with iron rich foods* will provide direct benefit to people with low iron levels, or those at risk of anaemia, by increasing the body's iron stores and strengthening overall health and wellbeing,” added Jodi.