Persimmons are delicious and exotic fruits that do more than serve as a sweet and tasty treat; they have a wealth of health benefits packed inside them, including their ability to improve eye health, reduce signs of aging, prevent various types of cancer, improve digestion, boost your immune system, lower cholesterol, increase your metabolism, strengthen your bones, boost cognitive function, lower blood pressure, and take care of your skin. Furthermore, they can help your body heal faster, aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation and increase blood circulation throughout the body.
Introduction to Persimmons
Persimmons are the name given to a number of different species of highly similar fruits from the same scientific family, Diospyros. Although the most popular version of this fruit was originally native to China, it spread around the world over the past few hundred years, and similar species have been found in other parts of the world. This suggests that it has been used for thousands of years, in many different cultures. Therefore, there are a number of common names and nicknames for persimmons, including “Jove’s Fire”, “The Fruit of the Gods”, and “Nature’s Candy”. As more information about ancient cultures has emerged, thanks to anthropology and archaeology, the different types of persimmons have been separated into the Japanese Persimmon, American Persimmon, Black Persimmon, the Date-Plum Tree, and the Indian Persimmon. All of them share much of the same basic nutritional value and health benefits, with a few notable differences, like fiber content and trace amounts of unusual organic compounds.
These fruits can be eaten fresh, dried, raw, or cooked, which changes the flavor, but they are generally sweet and pulpy. If allowed to ripen fully, the flesh can almost be scooped out with a spoon. There is also a misconception to allow them to ripen almost to a rotting state, but in reality, you should allow them to ripen until they are fully soft, which is often misconstrued when compared with other fruits that are called “rotten” when they become very soft and pulpy.
Nutritional Facts of Persimmons
The long list of health benefits that this interesting fruit can confer on people is due primarily to its very high vitamin and mineral content, as well as some unusual organic compounds. These include vitamins A, C, E and B6, as well as dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Its organic compounds are probably the most important parts, and they include catechins, gallocatechins, betulinic acid, and various carotenoid compounds that fall within the B complex of vitamins.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
Cancer Prevention: This delicious little fruits is packed with anti-cancer agents that can boost your body’s ability to fight free radicals. Free radicals are the byproducts of cellular metabolism that can mutate healthy cells into cancerous ones and damage various organ systems. Antioxidants, which persimmons are packed with, seek out free radicals and eliminate them from the body, thereby improving overall health and protecting against a variety of diseases. Persimmons have high levels of vitamin C and A, as well as phenolic compounds like catechins and gallocatechins, which are directly connected to preventing various types of cancer. Therefore, adding persimmons to your diet can help you stay protected from various types of cancer.
Immune System: In a related quality to the antioxidant and cancer prevention properties of persimmons, they also boost the immune system considerably. Persimmons have one of the highest ascorbic acid (vitamin C) contents of any fruit, and a single persimmon has approximately 80% of the daily requirement of that beneficial nutrient. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system and increases the production of white blood cells, which are the primary line of defense for the body against microbial, viral, and fungal infections, as well as foreign bodies or toxins.
Digestion: Like most fruits, persimmons are a good source of fiber, containing almost 20% of the daily requirement in a single serving. Fiber helps the body process food in a more efficient way, by adding bulk to the stool, stimulating peristaltic motion to move the food through the digestive tract, increase secretions of gastric and digestive juices, and relieve symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Overall, a high-fiber fruit like persimmons can be a major boost to your gastrointestinal system, and can protect you from colorectal cancer and other similar diseases. It can also help people lose weight by defending against lipid uptake, which can cause obesity.
Anti-Tumor Properties: Along with the antioxidant properties that reduce the chances of cancer, you can also lower your health risks of developing tumors. Persimmons contain betulinic acid, which is a proven anti-tumor compound. This can reduce the chances of contracting tumors by inducing apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, and if you already have a tumor, it can reduce the size and stop the cancer from metastasizing.
Anti-Aging Properties: Persimmons are rich in a number of vitamins, specifically vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and cryptoxanthins. These can all function as antioxidants in the body as well, specifically to reduce oxidative stress and prevent signs of premature aging, like wrinkles, age spots, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, loss of vision, muscles weakness, and a number of other conditons.
Eye Health: Some of the compounds in persimmons also have a proven benefit for the health of your eyes! Zeaxanthin, a member of the B complex of vitamins, is directly linked to improved eye health due to its behavior as an antioxidant substance. Studies show that it reduces macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness.
Blood Pressure: Potassium is another of the minerals found in significant quantities in persimmons. Potassium can act as a vasodilator and lower blood pressure, thereby increasing blood flow to various parts of the body. Low blood pressure also reduces strain on the cardiovascular system and prevents various heart diseases from occurring. Persimmons also contain various vasodilating organic compounds that further drop blood pressure, making it a very good fruit for heart health.
Blood Circulation: Along with lower blood pressure, persimmons also provide copper, an essential element in creating new red blood cells. Without copper, you cannot uptake carious essential nutrients to make additional hemoglobin. Increased circulation of healthy red blood cells increases cognitive function, muscle tone, metabolism, and energy levels, as well as wound repair and cellular growth.
Metabolic Activity: Persimmons contain elements of the B complex of vitamins like pyridoxine, folic acid, and thiamin, which are all essential parts of various enzymatic processes and metabolic functions throughout the body, so keeping high levels maintained means that your body’s systems will function efficiently and effectively, thereby increasing your overall metabolism. This can boost energy levels, increase muscle tone, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
A Few Words of Warning: It does lower blood pressure significantly, so if you are hypotensive, it can be dangerous. Other than that, enjoy these delectable fruits and the health benefits they will confer on you!