It is becoming clear that the ecology and functionality of the human gut microbiota are extremely diverse and complex. The microbiota have coevolved with us metabolically to live symbiotically and to share the workload of extracting nutrients and energy from the diet. It is also clear that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals is good for general health and gut health and that this is due partly to the phytochemicals and partly to the nondigestible carbohydrates (or dietary fiber) that are present in plants. Kiwifruit contain polyphenolics and nondigestible carbohydrates in the form of pectic, hemicellulosic, and cellulosic polysaccharides, all of which can be degraded by various members of the gut microbiota and result in beneficial effects. This chapter summarizes how kiwifruit act to modify the colonic microbiota and the resultant beneficial effects on human health.
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