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Can kiwifruit reduce exercise-induced stress in active women?

Can kiwifruit reduce exercise-induced stress in active women?

Can kiwifruit reduce exercise-induced stress in active women?

While exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle can prevent communicable diseases, it can also cause a stress response. In women, the exercise-induced stress response is implicated in menstrual dysfunction, infertility and osteoporosis later in life. But new research on the benefits of eating kiwifruit may suggest otherwise.

Massey University researchers are investigating whether kiwifruit, which is high in vitamin C, can reduce the stress response triggered by exercise in women.

Dr Noha Nasef from the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence is leading the research, alongside Cameron Haswell, Wendy O’Brien, Marsanne Chabert and Associate Professor Ajmol Ali, all from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, Associate Professor Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick from the School of Health Sciences and Dr Carlene Starck from the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence.

“Several supplements are known for their beneficial effects on immunity and exercise-induced stress, most notably antioxidants such as vitamin C,” Dr Nasef says. “However, little attention has been paid to whole foods rich in vitamin C, such as kiwifruit.”

The first links that have been made between food and health came from observations of communities with specific dietary patterns associated with a reduced risk of disease, Dr Nasef says. “From these observations, researchers began to focus on isolating and testing the food derived compounds from the natural food instead of looking at the food as a whole. This resulted in many studies showing inconclusive and sometimes negative results. To better understand the link between food and health we need to study the natural food as a whole. In the context of this study, the efficacy of antioxidant-rich whole foods, grown locally in New Zealand, in alleviating the stress and immune response to exercise, is largely unknown.

“We know that exercise can trigger a stress response –Dr Ali and his team have previously shown that exercise increases stress markers such as cortisol in a sex-specific manner. We also know that women, particularly athletes, suffer long-term consequences of exercise like osteoporosis and menstrual dysfunction, and we think this is linked to the stress response. Vitamin C is known to reduce the stress response after exercise and so what we want to determine is whether vitamin C works better when it is eaten as a natural food like kiwifruit,” she says.

Health benefits of eating kiwifruit:

There are loads of other health benefits of eating kiwifruit, including:

  • Better sleep
  • A great source of fibre & good for digestion
  • A good source of Folate
  • A powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • Beautiful, more radiant skin

In addition to the above, kiwifruit contains omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoids, polyphenols, and promotes heart health. Making the benefits innumerable, adding them to your diet will be quite beneficial.

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