Persimmons are delicious and exotic fruits that do more than serving 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.
What are Persimmons?
Persimmon is the name given to a number of different species of highly similar fruits from the same scientific family, Diospyros. As more information about ancient cultures has emerged, thanks to anthropology and archaeology, different types of persimmons have been classified into the Japanese persimmon, the American persimmon, the 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.
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 also been found in other parts of the world. This suggests that persimmon has been used for thousands of years, in many 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”.
Nutritional Value of Persimmons
Persimmons are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, as well as dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. They also contain organic compounds that include catechins, gallocatechin, betulinic acid, and various carotenoid compounds that fall within the B complex of vitamins.
The long list of health benefits that this interesting fruit can confer on people is primarily due to the presence of the above-mentioned vitamin and mineral content, as well as some organic compounds.
Health Benefits of Persimmons
Let us look at the health benefits of persimmons in detail below:
This delicious little fruit is packed with antioxidants, the anti-cancer agents that can boost your body’s ability to fight free radicals, improve overall health and protect against many diseases. Free radicals are the by-products of cellular metabolism that can mutate healthy cells into cancerous ones and damage various organ systems. Persimmons have high levels of vitamin C and A, as well as phenolic compounds like catechins and gallocatechins, which are directly connected to preventing different types of cancer. Therefore, adding persimmons to your diet can help you stay protected from various types of cancer.
Persimmons help boost immunity due to the presence of vitamin C. They have one of the highest ascorbic acid (vitamin C) content among other fruits and a single persimmon has approximately 80% of the daily requirement of this 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.
Aid in 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, increasing secretions of gastric and digestive juices, and relieving 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 them against lipid uptake, which can cause obesity.
Prevent Tumor Development
Along with the antioxidant properties that reduce the chances of cancer, you can also lower your 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 cancer from metastasizing.
Prevent Premature Aging
Persimmons are rich in a number of vitamins, specifically vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and cryptoxanthin. These vitamins function as antioxidants in the body 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 conditions.
The compounds in persimmons also have a proven benefit for the health of your eyes! Zeaxanthin, a member of the B complex of vitamins, present in persimmons, is directly linked to improved eye health due to its behavior as an antioxidant substance. Studies show that this compound reduces macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness.
Control Blood Pressure
Potassium is another mineral 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 lower blood pressure, making them a very good fruit for heart health.
Regulate Blood Circulation
Along with lowering blood pressure, persimmons provide copper, an essential element in creating new red blood cells. Without copper, you cannot uptake various 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.
Improve 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. And these elements ensure that your body’s systems function efficiently and effectively, thereby increasing your overall metabolism. Further, persimmons can boost energy levels, increase muscle tone, and improve digestion.
How to eat Persimmons?
Persimmons 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 of allowing them to ripen almost to a rotting state, but in reality, you should allow them to ripen until they are fully soft and pulpy.
Word of Caution: Persimmons may lower blood pressure significantly, so avoid intake if you are hypotensive. Other than that, enjoy these delectable fruits and the health benefits they will confer on you!