As spring approaches, it’s likely you’re more drawn to bright and colorful foods at the grocery store, right? Fruits and veggies just seem to glow a little more than normal this time of year when our bodies start to crave a fresh sense of life. Brightly colored fruits and veggies are incredible sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and complex carbs our bodies need for energy and healthy mood function.

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So as you find yourself picking up a few more fruits and veggies, be sure you don’t limit yourself to the typical apples, bananas and oranges. While those are great choices, they’re not the only fruits we should be eating. One fruit you especially don’t want to miss out on is kiwis. Many people don’t know that kiwis are actually a berry, and we all know berries are incredibly nutrient-dense. Berries contain lots of fiber, less sugars than some other fruits, and high amounts of vitamin C and some B vitamins.

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Kiwis are also great to add to your meals in a variety of ways, or to snack on alone. Here are 5 ways kiwi can enhance your eats and your health at the same time!

1. They’re Great in Smoothies

Kiwis are great to add to smoothies and you don’t even need to peel them (but will need to choose organic.) Kiwis’ fibrous skin is actually tasteless for the most part and provides almost half the fiber found in the fruit (about 5 grams). Since they’re high in fiber, they make a smart smoothie choice since they’re more filling than sugary sweeteners. This will benefit your blood sugar and support digestion. Kiwis’ seeds also add a nice little texture to smoothies, a tropical flavor, and even a creamy feature too. Try this Tropical Raspberry Smoothie as a great example.

2. High in Vitamin C

One kiwi contains over 106 percent of your vitamin C needs. That’s pretty impressive for such a small green fruit, right? Vitamin C is important to prevent inflammation, it reduces stress to improve your mood, fights off free radicals that can make you sick and weaken immunity, enhances the absorption of iron, and it even keeps your skin healthy too since it supports collagen production in the body.

3. Digestion

Kiwis can help you stay regular due to the high fiber content, high vitamin C content, and tiny little seeds they contain which ensure things flow along as they should. They’re also one of the easiest fruits to digest, containing very little fructose, which is helpful for those with IBS or a fructose-sensitivity that may follow a FODMAPS or low sugar diet.

4. They’re the Perfect Dessert Topping

Pies, tartscakes and puddings of all kind all taste a bit better and look a bit brighter with kiwis. One reason they’re so great to use as a topping is because they hold their shape and don’t get mushy, and don’t change color (unlike bananas or apples that brown). You can include them in raw or cooked desserts of any kind. Just keep in mind their flavor is better if you use them as a topping instead of baking with them where they tend to get mushy and lose their sweet, tangy taste.

5. Vitamin K

Kiwis also contain vitamin K, approximately 31 percent of your daily needs per fruit. Vitamin K is important for strong and healthy bones, which makes kiwis one of the best sources from fruit you can choose. Other good sources include greens and celery.

How to Choose the Best Kiwis and Tips for Using

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When choosing kiwis, be sure you apply gentle pressure to test their ripeness. They should give a little but not be mushy. If they’re hard, then they’ll ripen in about 3 days on your counter, or you can place them in a brown paper bag overnight with a banana or apple to ripen them further. (These produce a gas that helps ripen foods faster). Once they’re ripe, keep them in the fridge where they’ll stay fresh for about 4 days. If you have kiwis that are fixing to go bad, cut them into cubes and freeze them in a storage container for smoothies like you would bananas.

Remember to always choose organic kiwis when possible since their peel is highly susceptible to pesticides. Since it’s one of the most nutritious parts of the fruit, you don’t want to have to cut all the peels off your kiwis every time you want to enjoy one. The plus side is, even organic kiwis are incredibly cheap and very easy to find.

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What’s your favorite way to use these healthy little fruits?

Lead Image Source: Jonatas Cunha/Flickr