Most commonly grown in Japan, Persimmon is considered that country’s national fruit. Its name is derived from the Algonquin language Pasiminan, Putchamin, and Pessamin which literally means dry fruit. Persimmon can be eaten raw, fresh, cooked, or dried. Ripe persimmon has a sweet, delicate flavor with a texture similar to pudding. There are two types of persimmon: the astringent variety and the non-astringent variety. Astringent persimmons ripen very fast after harvest and can be eaten like an apple. Non-astringent persimmons are flatter and take longer to ripen, but can be eaten when the fruit is hard or soft. Most people prefer to peel them before eating, as the skin can be unpleasant, but not dangerous.
Persimmon is a good source of Vitamin A, which helps the body ward off infections and maintain healthy eyes and skin. Persimmons also contain ascorbic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, carbohydrates, vitamin C and beta-carotene. An average persimmon provides 50 percent of the RDA vitamin A intake, 20 percent of the RDA vitamin C intake and 2 percent of the RDA calcium and iron intake, and 1 gram of protein.
Some varieties of persimmon contain gallocatechin and catechin tannins as well as shibuol and betulinic acid.
Contains Vitamins for Aging, Eyes, Weight Loss and More
- Proanthocyanidins for Aging. Reverse damage caused by oxidation associated withaging. The peel of persimmon contains proanthocyanidins, a phytochemical that can protect the cellular walls from oxidation.
- Vitamin C. Regular consumption of persimmon will help in improving the body’s immunity to free radicals because of the high concentration of vitamin C. A medium persimmon provides 50 % of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
- Vitamin A. Persimmon has been found to be rich in Vitamin A, a vitamin that can fight cancer and promote better eyesight.
- Zeaxanthin is a dietary carotenoid that, when absorbed, provides anti-oxidation and protective filtration of light to the eyes’ retinal macula lutea. This makes the persimmon helpful in preventing age-related macular disease.
- Anti-oxidants. Fresh Persimmon is known to contain anti-oxidants which are beneficial to the body because they prevent damage and slow down the aging process. Some anti-oxidants that are found in persimmons include lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin.
- Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B complex, like thiamin, pyridoxine, folic acid, and others, is essential for many metabolic enzymatic functions of the body. There are eight B vitamins that together are known as Vitamin B complex or the ‘nerve vitamins’ as they help keep nerve endings healthy, or lessening numbness or nerve pain.
- Minerals. Persimmon contains manganese, copper, potassium and phosphorus. A single fruit contains about 15 % RDA manganese (0.355 mg) and 12% of copper’s daily recommended intake (0.113 mg). These minerals help oxidize free radicals and eliminate them from the body. Copper is also essential to the production of red blood cells.
- No Fat. Persimmon has no fat, making it ideal for people who are watching their weight. Its high-fiber content is good for digestive health and removing waste from the body. Persimmon also increases the metabolic process to burn calories more quickly.
Fights Constipation, Cancer, High Blood Pressure and Inflammation
- Constipation– Persimmon is high in fiber which makes it ideal for people with constipation. Fiber is essential to bowel health and cleansing waste from the intestine.
- Lung Cancer –Persimmon is rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which helps fight the growth of cancer cells.
- Lowers Blood Pressure. Persimmon contains water-soluble proanthocyanidins which have vasorelaxant effects, good for lowering blood pressure. A recent study showed that the systolic blood pressure in rats fell significantly just four hours after eating persimmon fruit.
- Aging and cell damage – Aging happens when the cell is damaged due to oxidation. Persimmon contains many anti-oxidants that can help reduce oxidation and cell damage done. By keeping cells healthy, wrinkles are less likely and skin is more likely to maintain a youthful and vibrant look.
- Inflammations– The Betulinic acid in persimmon is an anti-inflammatory property which can help people who suffer from asthma, arthritis, hemorrhoids, cough and other health problems caused by inflammation in the body. Persimmon also has a soothing effect on the nervous system.
- Low Blood pressure –While excellent for persons with high blood pressure, persons who are hypotensive should not eat persimmon because it could decrease the blood pressure to dangerous levels. People about to undergo surgery must not take persimmon either because of its vasorelaxant effects.
- Persimmon bezoars – Persimmon bezoarsare the gluey coagulum that forms in the stomach when unripe persimmon is eaten. Unripe persimmon contains tannin shibuol, and when this compound interacts with stomach acid, it forms persimmon bezoars. Fortunately, this is very rare in North America, as you need to eat a large number of unripe persimmons for the clots to form. They can be removed surgically or dissolved with coca-cola.
- Allergies –Allergies to persimmon are extremely rare, although some people have reported rashes, itchy skin, headaches, nausea and difficulty in breathing. If any of these occur, stop consuming the fruit and consult a doctor.
- Diarrhea –Over indulging in ripe persimmon will induce diarrhea. If you are having this problem, it is recommended that you cook the persimmon first to break down the fibers.
Persimmon is a healthy fruit, rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. With zero calories, fat and sodium, it is an excellent contribution to a heart-healthy or weight loss diet, or simply for those who want to a succulent fruit as part of their daily fiber. Persimmon is high in vitamin C, A, manganese, copper, vitamin B complex and anti-oxidants. It is good for high blood pressure, diseases caused by inflammations – asthma, arthritis, hemorrhoids, coughs – and skin and immune system health. Reactions to the fruit are extremely rare, so enjoy!