Health Benefits of Persimmons
Persimmons are not just an exotic fruit that adds the perfect touch to a sweet or savory treat.
This delightful nourishing fruit has the ideal composition of vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and complete proteins.
And to top it off, persimmons are said to have a mass amount of health benefits:
- Improve digestion
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve eye health
- Speed up metabolism
- Lower blood pressure
- Boost immune system
- Decrease signs of aging
- Strengthen your bones
- Prevent various types of cancer
- Boost cognitive function (the brain)
In addition, persimmons may help fight cancer, assist with weight loss, increase blood circulation, reduce inflammation and help your body heal faster.
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Low Calorie and High in Fiber
An average sized persimmon has 70 calories per 100 grams. For example, 1 Japanese persimmon that’s 2 ½” in diameter is about 118 calories. Persimmons are also high in fiber and will keep you feeling full. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 persimmon contains more than 20% of your daily fiber. Fiber is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol and normalizing the bowels.
Rich in Vitamins A and C
According to the CDC, one persimmon contains 50-55% of daily recommendations of vitamin A.
The CDC states that one persimmon also has 20% of the daily allotment of vitamin C. Vitamin A is known to improve eye health and help prevent age related eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vitamin C is said to help reduce colds and the flu, reduce wrinkles and boost your immune system.
Loaded with Antioxidants (Possible Cancer Fighter)
Persimmons also deliver various other important nutrients. In truth, many of the nutrients in persimmons are believed to be antioxidants, like manganese.
Numerous studies suggest that antioxidants work by destroying free radicals. A free radical can destroy beneficial cells and thus set an environment prone to cancer, premature aging and other diseases. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), free radicals are an extremely reactive chemical that has the potential to harm cells. High amounts of free radicals in the body can be hazardous and damage major structures of cells including proteins, cell membranes and DNA. The damage to cells says the NCI, plays a role in the growth of cancer and other health conditions. Further, antioxidants are elements that interact with and neutralize free radicals, states the NCI, thus preventing potential damage. The low down, Antioxidants are free radical scavengers.
Let’s get back to persimmons. I must say, I get carried away with trustworthy references. However, good resources are very important! When it comes to antioxidants, manganese is said to be an excellent source. Rendering the SELF NutritionData, 1 Japanese persimmon 2 ½ “in diameter provides 30% of the recommended Daily Value (DV).
One persimmon contains about 50 percent of your daily allotment of vitamin A and 20 percent of your vitamin C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (CDC). Vitamin A is helpful for fighting age-related eye ailments such as macular degeneration. It is also helpful for fighting cancer, enhancing the immune system and for people with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and sunburn. Vitamin C helps boost your immune system so you can better fight off infectious agents.
Possible Side Effects
WebMD claims that there is not enough information available to know if Japanese persimmons are safe for medicinal use. However, the fruit, eaten as food, can cause allergic reactions. In addition, Japanese persimmons may lower blood pressure and could make low blood pressure conditions worse or interfere with medications for high blood pressure.
Persimmons are in the genus Diospyros from the family of Ebenaceae. They are botanically classified as a berry. Yes, they grow on a tree. Its scientific name of Greek origin is ‘Divine Fruit’.
For the most part, persimmons are known as either astringent or non-astringent. Astringent persimmons have a high content of tannins (alum) and should be eaten fully ripe otherwise they leave a very dry and powdery texture in the mouth. Non-astringent varieties have a lower amount of tannins and can be eaten hard (like and apple) or at various stages of softness.
One of the most popular varieties is the Chinese native, Diospyros kaki. It is commonly known as the Japanese persimmon. The fruits skin is a brilliant orange in color. Keep in mind that Japanese persimmons can be either astringent or non-astringent.
There really are numerous persimmon varieties. Let’s break the varieties down to just a few popular ones you most often find in the market:
- Hana Fuyu – Also known as Fuyu or Fuyugaki. Non- astringent, large fruit may contain some seeds. It has a very sweet flavor. It is excellent for fresh eating or cooking.
- Ichi Kei Jiro – Has a flat shaped fruit. Non astringent with a pleasant sweet taste even when unripe.
- Hachiya – A variety often found in markets. Astringent, long acorn shaped fruit, deep orange color, very sweet and flavorful. Often used in baking.
- Kyung san ban si – Astringent, a Korean variety that has very large fruit.
- Great Wall – Astringent, very sweet fruit that is small to medium in size.
- Saijo – Astringent, has an acorn shape, usually seedless, medium size with rich, sweet and elegant flavor.
- Russyanka – Astringent, an American and Asian hybrid farmed in the Ukraine. Has small to medium fruit, no seeds and a very sweet flavor.
Hachiya persimmons are creamy and great for baking, while the Fuyu is enjoyed raw such as in salads or fresh. No matter what way you eat them, this super healthy fruit has outstanding antioxidant properties and are loaded with vitamins.
In 1607, Captain John Smith wrote (from Jamestown): “The fruit is like a medlar; it is first green, then yellow and red when it is ripe: if it is not ripe, it will drive a man’s mouth awrie with much torment, but when it is ripe, it is as delicious as the apricock.”
Buying and Storing Persimmons
Regardless of the variety, always look for persimmons that are bright in color.
A great persimmon will feel heavier than it looks. So search for plump beauties. Avoid fruit with bruises or cracks.
If the persimmons are not unripe, you can speed the ripening process by placing them in a brown paper bag.
Ripe persimmons can be stored at room temperature.
If your persimmons are over ripe, place them in a loosely fitted bag in the refrigerator.
Persimmons can be used in a wide variety of recipes, both savory and sweet. Here are a few healthy recipes to tease the palate and appetite:
- Persimmon Muffins
- Steamed Persimmon Pudding ~ gluten-free
- Spiced Persimmons with Mascarpone
- Quinoa Persimmon Salad
- Chicory, Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad
The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Before starting any diet, seek expert advice.
How To Find Persimmons when They cannot be Found Locally
Of course you want to reap the Health Benefits of Persimmons. Unfortunately this amazing fruit may not be available in your area.
Here are other ways to include the healthy fruit into your diet:
- Organic Dried Persimmons
- Organic Persimmon Fruit Leather
- Korean Organic Persimmon Leaf Tea
- Buy and Plant a Japanese Fuyu Persimmon Tree
- Have them Shipped Fresh – Organic Fresh Fuyu Persimmons
Persimmon and yellow bird: Japanese White-eye (メジロ) via photopin (license)
Numerous persimmons: fall’s fruit via photopin (license)
Close-up of persimmon: Color study: persimmon via photopin (license)
Persimmons with tops: Persimmon via photopin (license)
Manual persimmon harvester: 20131206_153709 via photopin (license)
Three persimmons on white plate: Fugi Persimmons via photopin (license)
Persimmons in grey ceramic tray: persimmons in my bowl via photopin (license)
Sliced persimmons: Persimmons 016 via photopin (license)
Colorful persimmons in tree: 柿 （Persimmon fruit ） via photopin (license)
One persimmon in tree: persimmon_20121215_1 via photopin (license)