The thing is, kiwi isn’t random at all: It has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to aid digestion; not to mention, kiwi is full of fiber—which is great for helping your bowels run smoothly. The tangy fruit also contains a special proteolytic enzyme, called actinidin, which helps break down protein.
And compared to other well-known fruits and plant-based fibers for digestion (prunes and psyllium, specifically), kiwi may come out on top.
During the experiment, researchers separated 79 participants into three groups: The first received two green kiwifruits; the second received 100 grams of prunes (by the way, that’s about 10 average-size prunes); and the third gobbled down 12 grams of psyllium fiber. Each group consumed their assigned fruit or fiber every day for four weeks.
During that time, they recorded their daily bloating and digestion experiences through an online symptom assessment tool. After the four-week period, they were evaluated again: What was their bloating and digestion like, and how well did they tolerate the nutrition intervention?
Now, the results you came for: While all three nutrition strategies helped increase bowel movement rate, stool consistency, and eased straining, only the mighty kiwi helped improve bloating, in particular. Not to mention, kiwi had the best side effect profile (i.e., fewer complaints): The participants who ate kiwi were less likely to report abdominal discomfort after eating the fruit, perhaps because kiwis are also low in FODMAPS (as opposed to prunes, which may not be as well tolerated by some people’s small intestine).
In other words, you can add kiwi to your list of nutrient-dense foods that help aid digestion and ease bloating (find our master list here). Or if you don’t feel like reaching into the fridge whenever you feel your stomach swell—sometimes the last thing you want to do is eat more food, no?—you can always opt for a high-quality probiotic supplement to promote regularity and abdominal comfort.* mindbodygreen’s probiotic+, in particular, contains four targeted strains specifically designed to ease bloating, aid digestion, and elevate your gut microbiome.*