The mechanisms that make these fruits precious to fight constipation and help both the digestive system and our defenses against infections explained
Nell’ American Journal of Gastroenterology in June, an article confirmed and recalled the importance of kiwifruit for those suffering from constipation.
Two fruits a day are enough to improve the situation, without risking side effects, and with very low costs compared to many of the pharmacological remedies for this problem. The study compared 79 patients with chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, who were divided into three groups: those of the first ate two kiwifruit a day for four weeks, those of the second 12 prunes, always every day, those of the third they resorted to 12 grams of psyllium (fiber from the seeds of Plantago Arenaria or Indica) every 24 hours. In each group the doses of fiber taken were the same.
All remedies have been shown to be effective in regards to constipation, but the kiwifruit also reduced intestinal swelling, and side effects, such as abdominal pain, were less bothersome.
In recalling that Italy is the first kiwifruit producer in Europe and one of the first in the world – comments Elena Dogliotti, nutrition biologist, and scientific supervisor for the Umberto Veronesi Foundation – I stress that kiwis in the last decade have been the subject of in-depth research that they linked their regular consumption to improvements in nutritional status and positive actions on not only the digestive system, but also the immune system. In fact, kiwis contain high quantities of vitamin C (almost double that of oranges for the same weight) and, in addition to fiber, potassium, vitamin E and folate, as well as various bioactive components, including a wide range of antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes. .
What are the reasons that make these fruits the allies of the intestine?
The unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, polyphenols and actinidin (an enzyme in kiwifruit that breaks down proteins and facilitates gastric digestion) is thought to account for the gastrointestinal benefits, improvements in bowel movement and reduction of abdominal discomfort. And this both in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, and in healthy people suffering from constipation, all without side effects.
What role do they play in particular and what is their fiber content?
Consuming two kiwis a day provides around 6 grams of fiber: a significant contribution to the total daily intake which should be around 25 grams. Among the most important physico-chemical properties of the fibers of these fruit are that of retaining water by swelling and viscosity. Kiwi fiber may also contribute to beneficial changes in the colonic microbial community associated with gut health. Furthermore, the high fiber content explains why the glycemic index of these fruits is relatively low, especially in green kiwifruit, the most popular ones in Italy.
And how can you explain that, unlike other plant products, kiwis do not increase, indeed reduce, abdominal swelling?
These fruits are low in FODMAP, ie fermentable polyphenols, sometimes responsible for abdominal swelling, pain, cramps, excessive flatulence. A recent study showed that the consumption of two green kiwifruit was not associated with clinically meaningful evidence of fermentation in the colon.
So many advantages. Do they just have no flaws?
Actinidin, certainly involved in the mechanisms that make kiwifruit a precious ally for intestinal health, for also the main allergen of kiwifruit. Kiwis can in fact cause, in some people allergic to this fruit, reactions ranging from mild symptoms localized to the oral mucosa, which in most individuals are the most frequent, to anaphylactic reactions, especially in children.
December 11, 2021 (change December 11, 2021 | 20:21)
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