- Reviewed by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
October kicks off kiwifruit season, which lasts through May. The tasty green fruit is great in salads, smoothies, and desserts. And it might have an added bonus of helping to ease chronic constipation, according to a small randomized trial. Scientists asked more than 180 adults (some with constipation, some without) in Italy, Japan, and New Zealand to take part in two four-week courses of treatment. In one regimen, they ate two peeled kiwifruits per day. In the other, they took 7.5 grams of psyllium (a natural ingredient found in fiber supplements such as Metamucil or Fiberall) daily. The order of the two regimens was randomly assigned, and participants took a four-week break in between. The results: both treatments seemed to help constipated participants produce more bowel movements and experience less straining and abdominal pain, with kiwi being slightly more effective than psyllium. Scientists say kiwi contains not only fiber (about 3 grams per half-cup serving), but also raphides (natural needle-shaped crystals), which both help improve bowel function. The findings were published in the June 2023 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
About the Reviewer
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
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