When the kiwi fruit originated in China more than 300 years ago, it was called yang tao, Chinese for strawberry peach. Eventually, Europeans began to cultivate the fruit, renaming it the Chinese gooseberry. Growers in New Zealand started to call it kiwi, after a bird common to their land, and developed gold kiwi fruit, which is slightly larger than the green kiwi and not as common in the United States. The gold variety is generally more nutritious, but the green kiwi fruit offers a few advantages over the gold.
One cup of sliced green kiwifruit contains about 110 calories, 2 grams of protein and less than a gram of fat. The gold kiwi fruit is similar in caloric and fat content, but has about 0.2 grams more protein. The green variety is higher in fiber, with 5.4 grams per cup, compared to the gold fruit's 3.7 grams of fiber, but it is not as sweet, Green kiwi fruit has 16 grams of natural sugar, while gold has 20.
Both varieties of kiwi fruit are extremely high in antioxidants, but gold kiwi fruit is more vitamin-rich overall. A cup of green kiwi fruit has 167 milligrams of vitamin C, lower than the 196 milligrams in a cup of gold kiwi fruit, but either type is higher than the 156 milligrams of vitamin C in a cup of orange sections. The gold kiwi fruit contains about twice as much thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamins B6, A and E as the green variety; green has 72.5 micrograms of of vitamin K, while gold only has 10.2.
Kiwi fruit is rich in minerals, with each cup of gold kiwi fruit providing 588 milligrams of potassium and each cup of green providing 562. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get 3,500 milligrams of potassium per day and 265 to 350 milligrams of magnesium, which helps ensure proper nerve function. A cup of green kiwi fruit has 31 milligrams of magnesium, and gold has 26, so either will give you about 10 percent of your RDI for that mineral.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
"Eating for Your Eye Health" from the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences at North Dakota State University notes that the central region of your retina, your macula, is made of luteinand zeaxanthin, which uses to make vitamin A. While the Institute of Medicine has not released a recommended daily intake amount for lutein and zeaxanthin, getting a daily source of these carotenoids may reduce your risk of developing vision loss from eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Each cup of sliced gold kiwi fruit provides 212 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin, while each cup of green kiwi fruit gives you 84 micrograms.
- North Dakota State University: Eating for Your Eye Health
- U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Nutrient Database: Kiwifruit, Green, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Nutrient Database: Kiwifruit, Gold, Raw
- Purdue University Crop Index: Kiwifruit
- Institute of Medicine: Daily Reference Intakes
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images