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Less Discomfort, Improved Regularity, with Sweet, Tangy Fruit

It’s a discomfiting condition — one most sufferers are too embarrassed to discuss, yet chronic constipation (less than three bowel movements a week) affects roughly 6 million Americans, particularly women and the elderly. New research suggests kiwis can offer significant relief.

In a recent University of Hong Kong study, chronically constipated adults who ate two kiwis a day for a month enjoyed a 23% reduction in discomfort, reducing “transit time” (how long it took food to make it all the way through the digestive system) by 15 hours, which in turn doubled the frequency of their bowel movements. These improvements are attributed not just to the fiber found in kiwis, but also to the enzyme actinidin, similar to pineapple’s bromelain, which is thought to improve digestion.

Indeed, with more vitamins and minerals than 27 other commonly consumed fruits, kiwis offer a possible array of other health benefits. Eating two kiwis a day could significantly lower blood clot risk, according to research from the University of Oslo. With over twice your needed daily vitamin C, two kiwis may combat signs of aging and increase fat metabolism.

Published February 1, 2009


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