Monash University is thrilled to announce that Zespri Kiwifruit, our first ever low FODMAP certified fresh fruit product, is now listed in the Monash University Low FODMAP DietTM App.
Zespri is a New Zealand-based co-operative of kiwifruit growers that produce specialty cultivars of kiwifruit (non-GMO). These include the Zespri Green Kiwifruit and Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit. Both varieties are packed with nutritional benefits, however, have slightly different profiles in terms of taste, texture, colour and nutrition. Most notably, both contain dietary fibre, folate, potassium, vitamin E and a range of antioxidant compounds. Just one kiwifruit also provides over 100 percent of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C! Importantly, the natural sugar composition of Zespri Kiwifruit means they are both low GI and low in FODMAPs.
You can read more about the nutritional benefits of Zespri Kiwifruit on the Zespri website.
Material describing the digestive health benefits of kiwifruit dates all the way back to the Chinese Tang dynasty (618 – 907 AD), where the fruit was commonly prescribed medicinally to help with various gastrointestinal complaints. Researchers have since credited these benefits to the unique physiochemical composition of the kiwifruit – containing both soluble and insoluble fibre, substantial amounts of the protein digesting enzyme actinidin, and other polyphenols.
So how exactly does kiwifruit work to improve digestive function?
A study using MRI imaging in healthy people has provided some insight into the natural laxative effects of kiwifruit.(1) It showed that consumption of two Zespri Green Kiwifruit, twice daily, increased water retention in both the small and large bowel. This resulted in a corresponding increase in the frequency of bowel movements as well as the passage of softer stools.(1)
Several clinical trials have been completed using Zespri Kiwifruit in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders, including functional constipation and constipation predominate IBS.
One study investigated the effect of eating three Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit daily for four weeks on bowel habit and gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with functional constipation and constipation predominate IBS.(2) This was compared to a second, matched group of patients who were instead treated with 14.75g of Metamucil® daily for four weeks. The results showed the Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit treatment was more effective than Metamucil® at increasing the number of weekly bowel movements and producing softer, easier to pass stools. While both groups reported improvements in their gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, indigestion and constipation, the kiwifruit treatment significantly improved indigestion when compared to Metamucil®.(2)
Another study treated 45 patients with constipation predominate IBS and 16 healthy adults with two Zespri Green Kiwifruit daily for four weeks.(3) A further 15 constipation predominate IBS patients were given a placebo treatment instead. The study found the kiwifruit treatment improved IBS symptoms by significantly increasing the number of bowel movements per week and reducing transit time through the colon.(3)
Zespri Green and SunGold Kiwifruit have been tested for FODMAPs by Monash University and meet our low FODMAP criteria in a serving size of two medium fruit. Importantly, they have also been tested clinically in constipation predominate IBS and functional constipation patients and have shown to be well tolerated(4) and have numerous advantages in terms of symptom reduction.(5) If you are troubled by constipation, why not try adding a couple of kiwifruit to your daily routine? You have nothing to lose (except maybe your symptoms) and plenty of benefits to gain from this nutritious fruit!
1. Wilkinson-Smith V, Dellschaft N, Ansell J, Hoad C, Marciani L, Gowland P, et al. Mechanisms underlying effects of kiwifruit on intestinal function shown by MRI in healthy volunteers. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2019;49(6):759-68.
2. Eady SL, Wallace AJ, Butts CA, Hedderley D, Drummond L, Ansell J, et al. The effect of 'Zesy002' kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis) on gut health function: a randomised cross-over clinical trial. J Nutr Sci. 2019;8:e18-e.
3. Chang CC, Lin YT, Lu YT, Liu YS, Liu JF. Kiwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2010;19(4):451-7
4. Chen AGY, Offereins MSL, Mulder CJ, Frampton CM, Gearry RB. A Pilot Study of the Effect of Green Kiwifruit on Human Intestinal Fermentation Measured by Hydrogen and Methane Breath Testing. Journal of medicinal food. 2018;21(12):1295-8.
5. Richardson DP, Ansell J, Drummond LN. The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(8):2659-76.