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Kiwis are one of those sweet and tangy fruits that tend to be a rather unexpected treat for most people. Whether they make a special appearance in a fruit salad or a sliced topping on a pie, the fruit always leaves a smile on the faces of those who love them. However, most people know very little about the brown and hairy delectable, leaving many to ask themselves the question, “is kiwi a citrus fruit?”
Despite having similar nutritional components as citrus fruits, kiwis are not citrus fruits. Kiwis may appear as if they belong in the same family, but looks can be deceiving if you base them on appearance alone. However, they are high in vitamin C and grow in hot places, just like citrus fruit. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about kiwis.
What is a citrus fruit?
Just like kiwis, citrus fruit is used for juices, jams, baking, candies, eaten fresh, and used in smoothies and milkshakes. What defines citrus? Citrus belongs to the Rue family of trees. These are trees that flower and produce fruits that are often sour and have thick, fleshy skins. They are also highly fragrant. Both the fruit and the leaves of the trees have a very distinct aroma.
The most common are oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, and limes. One of the biggest aspects of citrus fruit, besides their delicious taste, is their high vitamin C content. Historically, the vitamin C content in citrus fruits helped sailors deal with ailments such as scurvy. Eating citrus has been found to lower cardiovascular and heart disease risks and increasing life expectancy. Vitamin C also acts as a natural antihistamine and as an antioxidant.
Are kiwis a berry?
Kiwis are actually a berry, also known as the Chinese Gooseberry. They are sometimes referred to as kiwifruit to avoid confusion with the bird or people in New Zealand. While bigger than most berries people typically think of, kiwis are certainly closer to berries than citrus. Kiwis have very thin skins, no pulpy sections, their seeds are not large, and they are much sweeter than citrus, even sweet oranges.
The kiwi has certainly come a long way from its Chinese Gooseberry days. Its original name in Chinese, mihoutao, or macaque fruit, actually is a reference to the monkeys who loved to eat them, also called Monkey Fruit. The kiwi grows on vines on the tree. From a distance, they may look like they grow in clumps or bunches, but each one sprouts off the vine individually. They bloom fragrant flowers and have large leaves to protect the fruit on the vines.
Similarities between kiwis and citrus fruits
It’s easy enough to see why people well may ask if kiwi are citrus. Even though they are from different families, they do have a lot of similarities.
- They both grow in hot, humid climates
- They both have a lot of vitamin C
- They are both used in baking
- They can both be eaten raw
- They are often used in smoothies and shakes
- They are both tropical
- They are both delicious
Kiwis and citrus thrive in the same types of climates. They like wet or humid conditions, and they can be grown easily from their own fruit. While both have a high concentration of vitamin C, often, kiwis have much more. However, kiwis have a much milder taste than citrus. Even sweet oranges are much more overpowering when it comes to flavor. That makes kiwis nice for adding into dishes that have other milder flavors, so you will still be able to taste them.
Benefits of kiwis
Like most fruit, kiwis have great nutritional value. Here is the nutrition facts breakdown per an average-sized kiwi:
- Calories: 61
- Total Fat: 0.5g
- Sodium: 3mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 15g
- Dietary Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 9g
- Protein: 1.1g
- Calcium: 34.00mg
- Iron: 0.31mg
- Potassium: 312mg
If you are following a low sugar or low carb diet, you may want to limit how many kiwis you have per week. Many fruits are high in sugar, even though it is naturally occurring, it is still something you need to consider.
Health Benefits of Kiwis
Adding fruit to your diet every day is always going to be beneficial, and it is recommended. Here are some of the key health benefits of kiwis:
As mentioned, kiwis contain a very healthy portion of vitamin C. One single serving has 100% of your daily needs in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the functioning of the immune system, helps strengthen bones and ligaments, helps you heal faster, and contains plenty of antioxidant properties. Have one in the morning instead of your orange.
- 1 kiwi = 93mg of vitamin C
- 1 orange = 53.2 mg of vitamin C
Keeping your immune system in top functioning order is the best way to fight off colds, the flu, illnesses, and germs. Rich in vitamin C, it is also a great source of iron and vitamins B9 to help give you energy and fight against exhaustion.
Adding more fiber, fruits and vegetables will always help with your digestive tract. Kiwis are a great source of fiber, and green kiwi specifically contains a natural digestive enzyme called actinidin that can break down protein to help digestion.
Healthy Hair and Skin
Vitamin C in kiwi is an important antioxidant that can naturally stimulate collagen synthesis. That can help keep your skin firm and younger-looking, plus add moisture and vitamins to your hair follicles.
Ways to Enjoy Kiwi
Try adding kiwis to your salads, sliced up on your breakfast cereal, on your baking, in a healthy breakfast smoothie, in a jam, in muffins, and just peeled and raw and ready to go. They are very good on their own or added to your favorite dishes. They are not too overpowering, so you can add them to dishes for the kids to make sure they are getting their vitamin C.
Kiwis are not citrus fruits but equally delicious
As lovely and sweet and full of vitamin C as they are, kiwis are not in the citrus fruit family. They are lovely all on their own. Healthy, compact, tasty, they are a perfect addition to any fruit bowl. Take a few with you in your packed lunch for a sweet treat instead of that pastry or cake at your coffee break. Have one during the day for a little sweet energy boost, and you won’t fill up on junk food.