8 Amazing Benefits of Persimmons

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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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?

Persimmons are orange or reddish-brown colored fruits, which are shaped like small, flat tomatoes. They are known to have a sweet and textured flavor. There are usually two kinds of persimmons –the astringent and the non-astringent varieties. Astringent persimmons are high in plant chemicals known as tannins, which tends to give the unripe version of the fruit a bitter and dry taste. One must wait for an astringent persimmon to ripen to eat it. Non-astringent, on the other hand, is a variety, which is also rich in tannins but can be eaten unripe.

Persimmons belong to the 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 following:

  • Japanese persimmon
  • American persimmon
  • Black persimmon
  • Date-plum tree
  • 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. there are a number of common names and nicknames for persimmons, including “Jove’s fire”, “The Fruit of the Gods”, and “Nature’s Candy”. 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.

Close up of fresh and tasty orange persimmons on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Persimmons, native, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]64.4
Energy [kcal]127
Protein [g]0.8
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.4
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]33.5
Calcium, Ca [mg]27
Iron, Fe [mg]2.5
Phosphorus, P [mg]26
Potassium, K [mg]310
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]66
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value of Persimmons

As per USDA National Nutrient Database, persimmons are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, as well as dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.  According to Dr. Masooq Sadiq Butt, M Tauseef Sultan et al, who wrote a report on this fruit in the Experimental and Clinical Sciences Journal, persimmons also contain organic compounds that include catechins, gallocatechin, betulinic acid, and various carotenoid compounds that fall within the B complex of vitamins, apart from other components like  proanthocyanidins, flavonoid oligomers, tannins and phenolic acids.

Health Benefits of Persimmons

Let us look at the health benefits of persimmons in detail below:

Anti-Cancer Properties

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. Dr. Kim HJ and Dr. Kim MK, Department of Food and Nutrition, Ewha Woman’s University, Korea, published a study in the Korean Journal of Nutrition that explored the anticancer impact of persimmon leaf extracts on human gastric cancer cells. It concluded that persimmon leaf extracts revealed strong anticancer effects.

Persimmons have high levels of vitamin C and A, beta-caroteneflavonoids as well as phenolic compounds like catechins and gallocatechins, which are linked to preventing different types of cancer.  Dr. Naresh Kumar, Dr. Masood Sadiq Butt, et al published a study in the Experimental and Clinical Sciences Journal that suggests that this fruit possesses carotenoids and catechins that hold anticancer perspectives against various cancer cell lines.

Boost Immunity

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. P. Koehler, R. Eitenmiller et al, University of Georgia, USA, in a study published in the Journal of Food Quality has stated that 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.

Aids 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 persimmon 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. Dr. Shela Gorinstein, Dr. Marina Zemser, Dr. Martin Belloso, et al., published a study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, which stated that fruits like persimmon that’s rich in dietary fiber improve lipid metabolism and prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), which halts the development of atherosclerosis.

Prevents 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 premature aging, like wrinkles, age spots, fatigue, loss of vision, muscles weakness, and a number of other conditions. A team of Japanese researchers published a study which supports the protective potential of a certain kind of polyphenol found in persimmon peel, that plays a crucial role against oxidative damage under the aging process.

Improves Vision

The compounds in persimmons also have a proven benefit for the health of your eyes! Zeaxanthin is a member of the B complex of vitamins, which is present in persimmons, and according to Dr. Kwak-Wai Lam and Dr. Paul But’s study, published in the Food Journal, zeaxanthin has a direct link to improved eye health due to its behavior as an antioxidant substance. It further states 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 vasolidating organic compounds that further lower blood pressure, making them a very good fruit for heart health.

Dr. Chin Fang Liu, Dr. Shizue Kurakane, et al, published a study in the Food, Science Technology Reserve, in which they investigated the antihypertensive effects of unripe persimmon in spontaneously hypertensive rats. The study showed that when the rats were fed the fruit for 2-3 days, there was a drop in their blood pressure. However, more scientific evidence and studies are required to support this claim.

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.

A team of Korean researchers led by Dr. Myung-Sook Choi, Kyungpook National University published a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food that revealed the beneficial effects of the ethanol extract of persimmon tree leaves on the blood circulation and lipid metabolism in rats, who are fed a high-fat diet. The study revealed that it has the potential to improve circulation by hampering blood clotting and platelet activation and by bringing down the plasma cholesterol levels. However, further detailed studies are required to explore this particular health benefit.

Improves 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. Dr. Long-Gang Zhao, Dr. Quing-Li-Zhang, et al., published a study in the Scientific Reports Journal, which states that beta-carotene present in persimmons can prevent metabolic disorders, apart from other grave diseases. 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 consist of flavonoid antioxidants and tannins, that are beneficial for heart health as they reduce blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol levels and lower inflammation. A group of Turkish researchers conducted a study on rats that showed that tannic acid and gallic acid, both found in persimmons, are effective at lowering high blood pressure. However, too much of 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!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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