Feeling depressed, lethargic, anxious?  Don’t fret — eat fruit!  Specifically, consuming two kiwifruit could yield a significant mood boost, plus increased energy (not to mention the myriad of health benefits from all that tropical nutrition).

Such are the implications of a study conducted by the University of Otago, in New Zealand, in which 35 male university students (ages 18 to 35 years) were assigned to a six week kiwi regimen of either half a kiwi or two kiwis per day.  Emotional scores were monitored based on a mood scale state questionnaire, while blood values were also assessed for various nutrients, including vitamins C, E, D, iron and carotenoids.  The results, published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, found that the two kiwi cohort enjoyed a 31% increase in energy, a 38% decline in fatigue and a 34% decrease in depression.  By contrast the half kiwi group reported no overall improvement in mood or energy.

As reported in this space previously, kiwis provide a host of unexpected health benefits.  Indeed, the fuzzy little tropical fruit wonders were found to significantly lower blood clot risk, according to the University of Oslo. Two kiwis per day also improved regularity and reduced discomfort among those suffering from constipation.  Eating two kiwis before bedtime helped volunteers sleep up to 15% longer and fall asleep 41% faster in one study.  And kiwis just might help you breathe easier: In one study, kiwi-fed mice enjoyed a  47% decline in asthmatic symptoms, plus a 48% reduction in white blood cell counts (which marshal in excess among asthmatics and allergy patients).  Kiwi’s powerful enzyme — actinidin — may play a role (Dole Nutrition Lab researchers found the enzyme to be concentrated in the fruit’s tangy green flesh).

Kiwis’ high levels of vitamin C also deserve some credit.   According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, rising levels of vitamin C correlated with a 34% drop in mood disturbances.  In addition to moderating the mopes, vitamin C yields an encouraging array of other benefits, including better skin condition, stronger bones, reduced inflammation,  enhanced fat burning and improved brain performance.  Happily, getting your vitamin C needs met is easily, and deliciously accomplished by adding any of the following to your diet (values indicated are per cup reflecting RDIs): Red bell pepper 320%, oranges 160%, pineapple 130%, papaya 140%, guava 630% and of course kiwis 280%. You’ll also get plenty of vitamin C from broccoli 170% and Brussels sprouts 160% (per cup cooked).

Enjoy kiwis’ health benefits in our featured recipe: Fruit Salad Parfaits.

Published September 1, 2014