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Kiwi & Cholesterol

by
author image Michelle Kerns
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.
Kiwi & Cholesterol
A sliced kiwi on a wooden cutting board. Photo Credit Amarita/iStock/Getty Images

About 17 percent of the adults in the United States have high blood cholesterol, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An elevated cholesterol level increases your risk of developing heart disease. Exercise, weight loss and medications can help lower your blood cholesterol level, but diet also plays an essential role. Plant-based foods like kiwi are cholesterol-free and contain compounds that may decrease your levels of low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, and increase your high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol. Ask your doctor to help you develop a healthy diet and lifestyle plan for controlling cholesterol.

What the Research Says

In 2009, a study in the "International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition" reported that Taiwanese adults with high blood cholesterol who consumed two kiwis daily for 10 weeks experienced a significant decrease in their LDL cholesterol level along with an increase in their HDL level. The researchers concluded eating kiwi could be a good way to lower the risk of heart disease. Another study, published in the June 2013 issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition," determined that men with high cholesterol could lower their overall cholesterol level while increasing their HDL amounts by consuming a healthy diet that includes two kiwis daily.

Saturated Fat in Kiwi

One whole kiwi measuring 2 inches in diameter contains 0.36 gram of fat, with just 0.02 gram contributed by saturated fat. The National Institutes of Health says saturated fat is the most important dietary factor that impacts your total -- and LDL -- cholesterol level. Eating foods low in saturated fat helps lower cholesterol. The saturated fat in one medium-sized kiwi supplies less than 1 percent of the limit recommended for adults on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Fiber in Kiwi

The NIH advises that consuming plenty of dietary fiber can aid in lowering your cholesterol level, especially if you're taking in rich sources of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water in your digestive system and forms a viscous gel that may inhibit the ability of your intestines to absorb cholesterol. One kiwi contains about 1.7 grams of fiber, with 0.7 gram of soluble fiber. That's as much soluble fiber as you'd obtain from 1/2 cup of cooked kale, 1 cup of raw celery or 3 tablespoons of wheat germ.

Ways to Incorporate Kiwi

If you follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet developed by the NIH to lower blood cholesterol levels, you'll consume two to four servings of fresh or sugar-free canned, frozen, dried or canned fruit per day. A single serving of kiwi would be equivalent to 1/2 cup of fresh kiwi slices or one whole medium-sized kiwi. Try adding chunks of kiwi to low- or nonfat yogurt for breakfast, mixing it into your salad at lunch or using it as a healthy dessert after dinner.

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