Help from the Kiwi Fruit?
An effectiveness trial published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology compares kiwi fruit to prunes and psyllium in reducing constipation. Chronic constipation is a gastrointestinal disorder that includes functional constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, and symptoms such as hard stool consistency, straining, reduced stool frequency, and may include pain and bloating. Kiwi fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine—to help with digestion and prevent kidney stones—and it has been studied as a constipation aid, but not in the US until now. Anywhere from 7% to 14% of Americans experience chronic constipation, adding up to about 4 million outpatient visits a year.
For 4 weeks, patients with chronic constipation had either green kiwifruit twice a day, 100 g/day of prunes, or 12 g/day of psyllium. The primary outcome was complete spontaneous bowel movements, for which all 3 treatment groups showed an increase. The psyllium group experienced the most adverse events, and the kiwi group had the lowest level of dissatisfaction. The study reports: “A growing body of literature supports the benefits of kiwifruit for gut health and in particular, abdominal discomfort and bowel regularity. Potential laxative effects of kiwifruit have been ascribed not only to fiber but also to oligosaccharides and the proteolytic enzyme, actinidin.”
Read the journal article.
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