Kiwi Wonder

The kiwifruit, once considered an exotic specialty has now become an immensely popular fruit during the past two decades, and deservedly so. This velvety bright green wonder sprinkled with a ring of tiny, edible black seeds not only blends well with other fruit and makes a striking garnish, it is nutritious on its own.

It is higher in vitamin C than most fruit including the orange and the grapefruit, higher in fibre and has a decent source of potassium that packs in more than an average-sized banana. Scientific studies in Northern and Central Italy with 6- and 7-year-old children found that children who consumed more kiwis are less likely to have respiratory related health problems including wheezing, shortness of breath or night coughing. The antioxidant protective properties of the fruit provide them a sort of healing power.

It has been shown that it is helpful in reducing the intensity of conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, prevents colon cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Other benefits of the kiwifruit would be the enzyme, actinidin, that assists in digestion. A good source of vitamin E and A which provides protection on all fronts, boosting the immune system, blood pressure and the heart.

The weight conscious will be glad to know that the kiwifruit contains less than one gram of fat per serving yet it has almost as much dietary fibre as one cup of bran flakes. Take one every day that easy way - slice and scoop, peel and munch, or slice and add to all sorts of food. So get out there and get those kiwis in your kitchen.

A few quick serving ideas of the kiwifruit:

> Peel with a knife and slice the fruit or cut the fruit in half and scoop it with a spoon to eat.

> Add kiwifruit to salads or to your chutney for a little change.

> Serve sliced kiwifruit, strawberries and other complementary fruit, and top it off with yoghurt. You can add muesli for an added zing.

> Blend kiwi with milk and yoghurt for a yummy smoothie.