Medically known as , kiwano is a fruit native to New Zealand and southern and eastern Africa, but is now grown around the world.

Also called the African horned cucumber or horned melon due to its prickly, oval shape, kiwano contains a variety of nutrients and can be easily added to the diet along with other fruits. Although the research is limited, studies suggest some health benefits of this exotic fruit.

Source of essential nutrients

Fruit is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and kiwano is no exception. It contains vitamin C, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, and small amounts of vitamin A, B6, zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Unlike most fruits that are low in protein, kiwano contains higher protein levels that make up about 16% of its calories. One kwiano is about 209 grams and provides 92 calories.


Contains Antioxidants

Kiwano fruit contains a variety of nutrients, and the seeds are particularly high in carotenoids and tocopherols, which have strong antioxidant qualities. The fruit also contains vitamin C, zinc, and other antioxidant compounds.

These substances have the ability to neutralize the damage caused by free radicals, which are associated with heart diseases and cancer


May have Antiviral and Antiparasitic Effects

The sweet varieties of kiwano are used in folk medicine to help treat people with HIV/AIDS. In Nigeria, the fruit is consumed raw and the seeds ground into fine flour, eaten to eliminate parasites from the body.

Some preliminary studies in test tubes and animal subjects suggest that kiwano may have antibacterial and antiviral qualities.


May Help Prevent Iron Deficit Anemia

Iron deficit anemia is a very common condition worldwide. Iron-rich foods like kiwano could be a great addition to the diet. However, keep in mind that plant-based or nonheme iron is less bioavailable than animal sources of iron. Luckily, vitamin C helps increase the absorption of iron and is also found in this fruit.


Great For The Skin

Many antiaging creams contain vitamins C and E and minerals. These nutrients help protect the skin against UV damage and may reduce the skin pigmentation and wrinkles caused by sun exposure.

The fruit contains these nutrients along with aminoacids, while the seeds contain healthy unsaturated fats. Fruits can be easily incorporated into skin routines as facemasks, either alone or combined with egg yolk or oats.


May Prevent Age-Related Eye Diseases

As a source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, kiwano may help prevent age-related eye conditions, such as cataract and macular degeneration.

Until more research confirms the benefits of this fruit for eye health, kiwano can simply be combined with other eye-healthy fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, blueberries, carrots, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.


Diabetes-Friendly Food

A small study conducted in animal models found that kiwano extract helps reduce blood sugar levels in subjects with high glucose levels, while did not impact those with normal glucose levels.

Based on the glycemic index measurements, kiwano fruit has a moderate glycemic index. This means it can be consumed in moderation by individuals with diabetes.


May Promote Heart Health

Also known as “ the master mineral,” magnesium is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions and processes in the body, including blood pressure control and heart function.

Anyone who follows a heart-healthy diet should consume magnesium-rich foods like kiwano, green leafy vegetables, nuts, quinoa, bananas, and avocados.


Source of Electrolytes (And Hydration)

Electrolyte drinks are very popular among fitness enthusiasts for a good reason. Water and minerals are lost during sweating and they need to be replaced. While many brands of electrolyte and energy drinks are available in stores, some people choose natural options like coconut water and fruits.

Kiwano is not only rich in minerals and water but also protein, which is essential for muscle repair.


Easy to Incorporate in the Diet

Kiwano's exotic flavor makes it versatile for many dishes. It tastes like a combination of banana, cucumber, melon, and lime. It can be consumed raw or cooked, alone or in combination with other fruits in salads or smoothies.

While is not widely available in supermarkets, kiwano can be found in small grocery stores that carry exotic foods from various countries.


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