Persimmons are exotic fruits with a sweet flavor. They have originated in China and are a good source of phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C (1). The fruit tastes delicious and is also referred to as the fruit of the Gods or nature’s candy. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Persimmons also offer important health benefits. Here, we elaborately discuss them, the fruit’s nutritional profile, and also their potential side effects. Keep reading.
Health Benefits Of Persimmon
1. May Help Boost Immunity
Eating persimmons may help boost immunity as they are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (1). A single persimmon offers enough vitamin C required for a day. Studies suggest that ascorbic acid may improve the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells (2) ( 3). These cells are the primary line of defense for the body against viral, microbial, and fungal infections, and other toxins.
2. May Improve Vision Health
Persimmon is also rich in vitamin A and other carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin (4). These may help enhance the function of optic nerve and protect eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD causes vision loss)(5).
Consuming persimmons regularly may also decrease the risk of adverse ailments like glaucoma, night blindness, and other AMD diseases (5).
3. May Help Alleviate Digestive Disorders
Persimmon contains vitamin B6. It helps regulate the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and offers optimal metabolism and energy levels (4) (6) . It also may provide relief from flatulence, bloating, and constipation.
Phytonutrients in a ripe persimmon, like tannins and polyphenols, have antimicrobial features that may help reduce stomach infections. Fibers help balance gut microbial flora for smooth functioning of intestines (7).
4. Is An Excellent Source Of Antioxidants
Persimmon contains several beneficial plant compounds with powerful antioxidant properties. These antioxidants help prevent or slow down cell damage by counteracting oxidative stress (a process triggered by unstable molecules called free radicals).
Oxidative stress has been associated with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other similar conditions (8). Consuming antioxidant-rich fruits like persimmons may help lower the risk of these diseases.
Persimmons are also rich in carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene, which is a pigment found in various brightly-colored fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that a diet rich in beta-carotene may help lower the risk of heart disease (9).
5. May Lower The Risk Of Cancer
Persimmon fruit is known for its potential anti-carcinogenic effects. Including this fruit in one’s diet may reduce the risk of cancer. It is rich in flavonoids and carotenoids like beta-carotene. Beta-carotene may help reduce the risk of lung and colorectal cancer (9).
6. May Help Fight Inflammation
A study in rats found that the antioxidant properties of persimmon may help reduce inflammation and tissue damage (10). Further, the vitamin C content in Chinese persimmon may help combat inflammation. This may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer (11), (12).
7. Is Rich In Fiber
Persimmon is also high in fiber, especially when dried (13). Fiber may help lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body. Moreover, the soluble fiber in persimmons binds with the cholesterol in the body and may help reduce its levels (14).
These are the important ways persimmon may benefit your health. Interestingly, this fruit is available in different types. Let us explore them below.
Different Types Of Persimmons
Persimmons are available in hundreds of different types. The most common ones include the following:
- Astringent Or Hachiya Persimmon
Astringent or heart-shaped hachiya persimmons are high in tannins, a type of plant chemical (1). Tannins give the unripe version of the fruit a bitter, dry taste. Hence, you may eat ripened astringent persimmons for better taste.
- Non-Astringent Or Fuyu Persimmon
Non-astringent or fuyu persimmons can be eaten unripe although they also are rich in tannins. They are a seasonally available variety from New Zealand and have a shorter shelf life.
Persimmons are also classified into these other types:
- American persimmon
- Japanese persimmon
- Date-plum tree persimmon
- Black persimmon
- Indian persimmon
All persimmon types share similar nutritional values and health benefits. In the next section, we discuss the nutritional profile of persimmon.
Nutritional Values Of Persimmon
Persimmons contain vitamins A, C, E, and B6. They are also high in dietary fiber, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium (4).
A study published in the journal of Experimental and Clinical Sciences suggests that persimmons also contain other organic compounds, including carotenoids and catechins. Many of these contribute to various health benefits (1), (4).
How Can You Enjoy The Advantages Of Persimmon?
The best way to enjoy the goodness of persimmon is adding the fruit slices on top of cold or hot cereal, pancakes, or to yogurt parfait. You also can have them as a snack by adding them sliced to a salad or mixing them in a green protein smoothie.
Eating one medium-sized persimmon (about 100 grams) every day is ideal for optimal health.
Persimmons can be added to various dishes to provide an extra boost to your health. They pair well with both sweet and savory foods. Here are some of the ways you can add persimmon to your diet.
How To Add Persimmon To Your Diet?
- Roast persimmons in the oven and drizzle with honey for a tasty and healthy dessert.
- Top yogurt or oatmeal with fresh or cooked persimmon.
- Boil persimmon and serve with baked Brie as an appetizer.
- Bake persimmons with chicken or meat for a tasty and unique flavor combination.
- Mix dried or fresh persimmon into bread, muffin, or any cake mix.
- Combine with berries and citrus fruits for a delicious fruit salad.
- Slice and dry persimmons in the oven to make natural fruit strips.
- Add frozen persimmons to smoothies for extra nutrients.
These are some of the easiest ways to add persimmon to your diet. However, excess persimmon intake may have certain side effects. Continue reading to know them.
Side Effects Of Eating Persimmons
Eating persimmon in moderation is generally safe. However, certain individuals may be allergic to this fruit and experience nausea, stomach upset, or an anaphylactic shock (release of a flood of chemicals) in extreme conditions (15) (16).
Ingesting large quantities of ripe persimmon may lead to bezoars. These are hardened masses that are produced when the tannins in persimmon react with stomach acids. Bezoars can impede digestive passages and cause gastrointestinal issues (17). Hence, avoid excess intake of persimmon.
Persimmons are rich in nutrition and offer a range of health benefits. They contain minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help enhance digestion and improve heart health and vision. Consuming this fruit may also reduce the risk of chronic ailments like cancer and diabetes. Add persimmons to your diet in moderation to reap the maximum health benefits. People allergic to this fruit may experience nausea, stomach upset, or an anaphylactic shock – and they should avoid its intake. Also, excessive intake may block digestive passages and cause gastrointestinal issues. Hence, practice caution.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Do persimmons make you gain weight?
No. They are low in calories and loaded with fiber, which makes them a weight loss-friendly food. They are also rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Are persimmons high in sugar?
No. Persimmons are a good source of natural sugar and healthy carbohydrates. They also are fat-free. They are rich in fiber that can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar levels, and help keep the digestive system healthy. A persimmon has approximately 31 grams of carbohydrates, with 6 grams coming from fiber and 21 grams from natural sugars.
Are persimmons high in carbs?
No. Fifty grams of persimmons contain only 9 grams of carbs. A medium-sized fruit contains approximately 8.5 grams of carbs.
Can persimmons be poisonous?
No. However, one may experience an unpleasant feeling in the mouth when eating under-ripe persimmons. Eating even a slightly under-ripe fruit may cause your mouth to pucker due to its tannin content.
Should persimmons be refrigerated?
Ripe persimmons are best eaten immediately. But they can also be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. Unripe persimmons can be refrigerated for up to a month. Make sure to keep refrigerated persimmons unwashed in a plastic bag.
Can you eat the peel of a persimmon?
Yes. The peel of a persimmon is edible and usually thin. You may still peel it if you want. Put the fruit in hot water for a few minutes and peel it using tongs.
Do persimmons have a low glycemic index?
Yes, persimmons have a low glycemic index (50). They are ideal for a low-sugar diet.
Do dried persimmons cause constipation?
Persimmons, especially astringent varieties, contain tannins, a type of compound that may cause constipation by slowing down digestion (18). This is particularly true for the astringent variety of the fruit.
Can you eat persimmon with black spots?
Yes. The spots are generally harmless and are usually related to the weather conditions the fruit is grown in. The spots are only skin-deep and will not affect the fruit’s quality.
How do you pick a good persimmon?
Go for plump persimmons with shiny, smooth, orange peel free of blemishes or cracks. Buy ripe persimmons only if you choose to eat them within a day or two.
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