Persimmon Fruit: Health Benefits and Nutritional Value

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Persimmon Health Benefits

Persimmon Fruit

A Persimmon is a fruit that looks like a bright orange tomato, with orange flesh inside.

Taste of A Persimmon

Persimmons don't really have a pronounced, distinctive flavour. Some people attempt to describe its flavour by comparing it to juicy pumpkin mixed with allspice and cinnamon.

The taste of a persimmon is partly owing to the fruit being high in tannins, which can give an astringent taste. Originally, all persimmons had high levels of soluble tannins -- meaning, they are available for your tongue to taste. This makes them unpalatable until the fruit has begun to rot a bit (see entry on Bletting), condensing the tannins so that they are less available for tasting.

A sub-family of permissions, called Fuyu, was developed in Japan specially so that tannins in these persimmons would condense during later stages of fruit ripening, so that these persimmons could be eaten while still in a firm state.

Consequently, there are two classes of persimmons that sum up the shape and ripening differences.

Varieties of Persimmons

1. Fuyu Persimmons

The Fuyu variety has squarish sides and a flat bottom. It can be eaten firm or soft. An Israeli variety of Persimmon, called Sharon Fruit, was developed from the Fuyu.

2. Hychia Persimmons

The Hychia (Hachiya) variety is more elongated, and somewhat cone shaped. It is at its best when it is over-ripe -- soft and and jelly-like -- before eating them (see Bletting), as before that the fruit will be very tart and have real pucker power.

3. Dried Persimmons (Dried Kaki)

Dried Persimmons are Persimmons that have been peeled and dried whole; they have a sweetness and a texture like dates. To make them, in Japan at least where they are very popular, the fruit is harvested leaving a small portion of the twig on each. They are then peeled, attached to ropes via their twiggy bits, dipped in boiling water, then hung to dry for at least one and a half months. An edible white mould that looks like icing sugar will form on them when they are ready. They are referred to as "dried kaki" in Japanese cooking. The peelings may be dried separately for use in Japanese cooking.

Many people feel that despite being smaller, the American Persimmon (Dispyros virginiana), is more flavourful than the Japanese varieties.

Persimmon Origin and History

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. 

Advantages of Adding Persimmon to Daily Diet Plan

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.

Persimmon Health Benefits and Nutrition

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.

Nutritional value 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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 conditions.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

How to Buy Persimmons?

In the stores, select fresh fruits featuring bright yellow-orange color without any surface bruises or cuts on them. "Dried persimmons" can also be available readily in the supermarkets and feature many similarities to dried apricots.

How to Store Persimmons?

Mature, hard, astringent persimmons can be stored in the refrigerator for several months. Non-astringent varieties have short shelf span and can be stored for only a few days at room temperature.
  • Wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months; when thawed, use for sauces. 
  • Do not, however, just refrigerate or the fruit will blacken. 
  • Freeze or keep at room temperature.

Persimmons: Preparation and Serving Methods

Persimmons can be consumed fresh, dried, or cooked. Raw fruits can be cut into quarters or eaten wholesome like an apple. Their texture ranges from a firm to mushy and is very sweet.

Serving Tips:

  • Dried persimmon fruits (hoshigaki in Japan) can be used in cookies, cakes, muffins, puddings, salads and as a topping in breakfast cereal.
  • Persimmon fruit pudding is a popular dessert which uses fresh fruits.
  • Dried fruits can be enjoyed as snacks or used in desserts. They widely employed to make traditional Korean spicy recipe, sujeonggwa, while a matured, fermented fruit is used to make persimmon vinegar called "gamsikcho"

Persimmons Cooking Tips

When puréed, the flesh of any type of Persimmon will be thick and hold its shape, with no watery run-off. You can use this purée as a base for sauces, frozen desserts, or puddings. You can sweeten the purée with a bit of sugar, flavour to taste with the flavouring of your choice (lemon zest, fresh grated ginger, a liqueur, or brandy or rum), then freeze in small dishes and serve as a frozen dessert.
The mashed pulp also works well in any recipe that calls for mashed banana or mashed pumpkin, or applesauce.
There is also a steamed pudding based on Persimmon.

Warning for Usage

Ripe persimmon fruits are safe for human consumption, including in the pregnant women. Allergic reactions to the fruit are very rare. 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

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