What does my family do when sickness strikes?
We depend on the research. Not just any Google search will do, but an in-depth Google Scholar search is best.
Today I’m revisiting the question, “Is kiwi good for a cold?”
My evidence for the answer comes from uncovering one or two old papers. Until more research is available, the old studies must suffice.
Research doesn’t get published unless:
- Funding is available
- A student passionate about a given subject has their professors’ approval to pursue a specific area of study
This system has prevented adequate research on the health benefits of many individual ingredients. It also explains why almost every paper ends with the ominous, “More research is needed.”
I believe that someday, governments or institutions will rally behind more comprehensive research on functional foods. Until then, I’ll make do with what’s currently available.
My Family’s Experience with Colds
How has my research impacted my own family’s coming down with colds?
I have five kids ages 7 to 17. Before I started my blog, we’d typically succumb to a few colds a year. They’d last for a week with all the symptoms most have come to expect:
- runny or stuffy nose
- sore throat
- body aches
- mild headache
Since I began blogging and putting what I’ve learned into practice, our susceptibility to colds has diminished greatly. But we haven’t eliminated them.
At the start of the year, my two youngest kids got minor colds lasting a day and a half. And after visiting cousins a month ago, we all contracted one.
In both instances, they lasted a couple of days instead of a week!
Unfortunately, three days ago, a summer cold caught up with my youngest boy. The next day, my second-youngest caught it, and this morning two more of my children are sick.
Am I next? I hope not! But we’ll see.
Vitamin C, Kiwifruit, and Colds
That Vitamin C plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy is beyond doubt. But Vitamin C tablets and powders have been shown to be ineffective at preventing colds.
However, the natural form of Vitamin C in whole fruits or vegetables is a powerful cold fighter. Vitamin C-loaded kiwifruit may amplify the immune system response.
When tiny bacteria and viruses enter the body, the immune system comes to the rescue. Leukocytes (white blood cells) with high levels of Vitamin C defend us from these pathogens.
How is kiwi good for a cold?
A 2020 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients showed that kiwifruit boosts the immune system and simultaneously improves our vitality.
In a randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 167 young adults, those eating two kiwifruits daily for four weeks experienced better moods and greater vitality than those in the placebo group.
Vitality isn’t a word I’d apply to someone with a bad cold, but kiwis rich in Vitamin C may be the exact answer for their lack of energy.
Is kiwi good for a cold in high-risk groups?
A 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that eating kiwifruit helps people 65 and older keep colds and flu symptoms at bay.
The randomized crossover trial included 32 of these older adults. One group ate four kiwifruits, and the other, two bananas, every day for four weeks.
The kiwi group had significantly milder and shorter-lived symptoms than the banana group.
While the bananas supplied the same number of calories as the kiwifruits, they contained only 8.7 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams. Compare that to green kiwis’ 92.7 mg or gold kiwis’ 161.3 mg per 100 grams!
And this 2013 review of kiwifruit’s health benefits analyzed a 2010 randomized, controlled trial involving children between 2 and 5 years old.
Like the older adults, this high-risk group ate either two servings of kiwifruits or the caloric equivalent in bananas five days a week for four weeks.
The kids eating kiwis had half the colds of the kids eating bananas and less severe symptoms.
Don’t get me wrong! Bananas are one of my favorite foods. However, for fighting colds and boosting my immune system, I prefer upping my kiwi intake.
My youngest has almost recovered today. His immune system vanquished his symptoms in just three days.
Will his cold catch up to his parents? Not if we can help it!
Clear evidence answers the question “Is kiwi good for a cold” by establishing it as an excellent source of Vitamin C.
To hopefully break our “family cold cycle,” my wife is picking up more kiwis as I write!