Persimmon also referred to as the divine fruit or the fruit of the Gods is a berry that has its origins in China. For those of you who have never seen this fruit, it pretty much resembles a tomato but with orange color. This super fruit that grows well in areas that have mild summer and moderate winter can be classified into two categories – astringent and non-astringent types. The astringent type contains tannins and is fit to be consumed only after fully ripening while the non-astringent type, which is devoid of tannins can be eaten before ripening. In addition to being a sweet, delicious and exotic fruit, Persimmon also boasts of having an abundance of nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin and minerals that are extremely health benefitting to us.
Nutritional value of Persimmon
What makes persimmon a very healthy addition to your diet is that it is low in calories, low in cholesterol, low in saturated fat and at the same time, high in dietary fiber. It is a rich source of flavonoids, phytonutrients and antioxidants like betulinic acid, catechins and gallocatechins that have powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antihemorrhagic properties. This fruit provides you with essential vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6 and choline. Persimmon is a good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. This exotic fruit, when consumed fresh can offer you antioxidants like beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, and zea-xanthin, which protects your body from the toxic effects of free radicals.
Health benefits of Persimmon
The low calorie persimmon is not only a delicious fruit, but is also nutrient dense and health benefitting. Packed with high amounts of antioxidants, dietary fiber and other compounds, the nutritional value of persimmon is so high that it can be considered as a super food. Continue reading to know more about the health benefits offered by this wonderful fruit.
Persimmon prevents early aging
According to the Free Radicals Theory of Aging (FRTG), living organisms age mostly because of cell damage caused by the free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for damaging skin cells and in speeding up the ageing process. This is where the antioxidants come to the rescue. They help in inhibiting the ageing process and also in reversing the effects of ageing.
Persimmon promotes good eye health
Persimmon is a good source of vitamin A, which is vital for maintain proper health of your eyes. In addition, it contains antioxidants like vitamin C and phytonutrient zeaxanthin that protect your eyes from free radical damage and prevent eye problems like retinal damage, cataract and age related macular degeneration.
Persimmon aids in weight loss
Persimmon fruit is an excellent food option for those people who are trying to lose weight as it contains high amount of dietary fiber. The advantage of eating foods rich in fiber is that they help you feel fuller for a long time. This feeling of fullness in turn helps to curb your craving for food so that you are less likely to overeat. Being low in calories, Persimmon does not add extra calories to your diet either.
Persimmon improves your digestive system
Persimmon fruit is good for your digestive system as it is rich in dietary fiber. Fiber is a very important element that aids proper digestion by binding to the food and adding bulk to your stool. This helps in the easy removal of wastes and prevents digestive complaints like constipation. Fiber also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine, which in turns helps in boosting your digestive health.
Persimmon and cancer cure
Persimmon contains a high amount of antioxidants that protect your body from the damages caused by free radicals. Free radicals are associated with causing various health problem and diseases like cancer. These free radicals cause oxidative stress to your cells and result in DNA damage and cell mutations that may lead to the development of cancer. The phyto-nutrients and antioxidants in Persimmon have the ability to neutralize the effects of these free radicals and prevent oxidation damage to your cells and DNA. Therefore, incorporating antioxidant rich persimmon is an effective way to protect you from cancer. Studies reveal that persimmon is capable of killing breast cancer cells without causing any damage to the healthy cells. This capability can be attributed to the presence of high amounts of the flavonoid fisetin in persimmon. This flavonoid has also been found to be effective in getting rid of prostate and colon cancer cells.
Persimmon and diabetes
Persimmon is rich in fiber (pectin) that can help in controlling appetite and also in regulating blood sugar levels. Studies performed in rats revealed that this fruit helped in improving insulin resistance.
Persimmon and healthy heart
Persimmon is often called a heart healthy fruit because of its ability to protect your heart from heart diseases and heart attacks. Compared to apples, this fruit is considered to be more effective in preventing heart problems as it is packed with dietary fiber, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. Persimmon is low in sodium and contains high amounts of potassium. This mineral helps in lowering blood pressure by neutralizing the effects of sodium. It also contains proanthocyanidins, a type of flavonoids that are found to lower blood pressure because of their vasorelaxant effects. Persimmon is a rich source of fiber that binds with cholesterol aiding its easy removal from the blood stream. Studies have shown that this fruit is capable of lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), total cholesterol, lipid peroxides and triglycerides.
Persimmon increases your immunity
Persimmon is rich in nutrients like vitamin C that boosts your immune system and help in protecting you from common cold, flu and other types of infections. Vitamin C enhances your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which protect your body from viral, bacterial, fungal and microbial infections.
Persimmon stimulates the production of red blood cells
Persimmon has good amounts of copper, a mineral that is essential in the production of red blood cells. As the circulation of new and healthy red blood cells increases, your metabolic activities and functioning of other organs also improves.
Persimmon aids in detoxification
Persimmon is loaded with potential antioxidants that play a key role in detoxification and maintaining a healthy liver. These antioxidants aid in the removal of harmful substances and toxins that can negatively affect your health.
Persimmon prevents kidney stones
Persimmon is found to have excellent diuretic properties. Consumption of this fruit helps in preventing fluid retention as it increases the frequency of urination. This effect makes it particularly useful in promoting weight loss as well as in lowering blood pressure. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps in reducing the risks of kidney stones by increasing your body’s absorption of calcium and preventing the formations of crystals or stones. Persimmon is an excellent source of magnesium and hence its regular consumption is helpful in preventing kidney stones.
Boost your energy levels with persimmon
Being a storehouse of numerous important nutrients, Persimmon helps in increasing your energy levels and in preventing stress and fatigue.
Persimmon is good for pregnant women
Persimmon is a wonderful food option for pregnant women. It has all the vital nutrients required by pregnant women and also the growing fetus. It contains good amounts of folate that helps in preventing birth defects. Manganese present in Persimmon helps in cell regeneration and also in the growth and development of brain of the fetus.
Selection and storage of persimmon
While buying persimmons, make sure to select the ones with a bright orange color with no blemishes, marks, bruises, or noticeable soft spots. Ripe persimmons should be eaten immediately as they are likely to get spoilt quickly. However, if you do not wish to eat them right away, it is better to purchase unripe persimmons and then allow them to ripen at room temperature. Once they have ripened, store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
It is recommended not to eat persimmon in an empty stomach as the tannins and pectin in this fruit may coagulate leading to the formation of stones or bezoars, which may require surgery for removal. Since a large amount of the tannin is located in the persimmon skin, it is better to avoid eating the skin. Eating persimmon along with seafood like crab, shrimp etc is likely to cause upset stomach. Although Persimmon is good for high blood pressure, people with hypotension should be cautious while eating this fruit as it may raise the blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
Depending on the type of persimmon (astringent or non-astrigent) fruit you eat, you may either hate it or fall in love in with it. As the name implies, the astringent types are dreadfully astringent because the tannins in them can make your mouth dry, which is why they are rather underappreciated. However, when fully ripe, they turn into sweet, delicious and creamy delights bursting with flavor. If you’ve never had a persimmon fruit, probably it’s a good time to start now!Image Credits: Flickr - Koshy, Flickr - Fig Quince, Flickr - Chockylit