Grown on trees, persimmon is actually considered a berry. While it originated in China, it has since made its way to several other locations such as Korea, Japan, and the United States. A yellow-orange to orange-red fruit, persimmon is usually not much bigger than a walnut and looks a lot like a tomato. The name is derived from ancient Greek, and translates to “divine fruit”. Persimmons are loaded with health benefits and essential nutrients. It seems people were not far off when they called this fruit “divine”. This article explores some of the health benefits, nutritional value, and main uses persimmons.
Health Benefits of Persimmon
Studies show that diets rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Lycopene and Beta-Carotene lead to healthy, strong eyes and can even help to firm the skin surrounding the eyes. Some of these nutrients, like Vitamins A, C, and K can even work to reverse existing eye damage. The eye-healthy nutrients found in this fruit can even help to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Digestive System Health
Because of this fruit’s high soluble fiber content, adding them to your diet can help aid in digestive system health. Soluble fiber helps to keep waste soft, and allows it to move through the digestive system easily. This, in turn, helps to combat constipation. It also keeps waste bound together, preventing diarrhea.
Antioxidants are beneficial for fighting free radicals in the body. Due to its high antioxidant content, persimmons can help the body rid itself of free radicals that if left unchecked can do great damage to the body, including cause cancer. Vitamins A, C, K, and Lutein Zeaxanthin all help to flush free radicals before they are able to compromise healthy cells.
Vitamin C is very helpful in assisting the body in its fight against colds. The high content of Vitamin C can give your body just the immunity boost it needs when faced with cold causing bacteria.
The potassium content helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure by widening the blood vessels and making it easier for blood to pass through veins. When blood pressure is maintained at a healthy level, the heart does not have to work as hard, keeping it strong.
Because it is high in fiber, this fruit will leave you feeling fuller for longer. It can even help to curb a sweet tooth with a sugar content that is not so high as to be unhealthy but just enough to make it sweet.
So, now we know all of the health benefits, but what is the nutritional value? While it does contain numerous vitamins and minerals, most are only 2-3% of a daily value. However, persimmons do contain some vitamins and vital nutrients in larger quantities:
- Manganese 18%
- Vitamin A 33%
- Water 80% of this fruit is composed of water.
- Vitamin C 13%
- Vitamin B6 5%
- Fiber 9.5%
Other Vitamins found per 100 grams:
- Choline 1.5%
- Folates 2%
- Niacin 1%
- Pyridoxine 7.5%
- Riboflavin 1.5%
- Thiamin 2.5%
- Vitamin E 5%
- Vitamin K 2%
As far as electrolytes are concerned, this fruit contains no sodium, but does contain 2.5% of your daily requirement of potassium.
In addition to the numerous vitamins we mentioned, persimmon contains smaller amounts of essential minerals as well. Per 100 grams of fruit, you can expect to find:
Because they are low in calories and high in fiber, they are a very nutritious food and one would greatly benefit from adding it to one’s diet. There is nothing in one of these fruits that would be considered non-nutritious when eaten responsibly, and most every vitamin or mineral can have significant benefits to one’s health, as outlined above.
The fruit, alone, is sweet and pleasant to eat in its raw form. When harvested, the fruit is still very hard and will need time to fully ripen and mature. This makes them very easy to store for extended periods of time. So, when choosing fruits at a store, opt for pieces that are still a bit firm, with no visible bruising or defects. There are several ways to consume, and all have their own appeal.
Fresh – Very sweet and soft when fully ripened, the fruit is most often consumed in its raw form. Simply slice and enjoy.
Salad– Add the flesh to any salad composed of fruit. The taste and texture of persimmon is said to harmonize well with other common fruit salad additions.
Dried – Persimmon is a very popular snack when dried. While some sources claim the drying process is difficult and not worth the effort, Martha Stewart has a simple to execute recipe that will provide plenty of dried bites that keep for several days.
Punch – Persimmon punch is very easy to make. This recipe recommends adding ginger and cinnamon, but of course you can adjust the recipe to your preferences, or add other fruit.
Jam– If you happen to come into a large quantity of the fruit and want to make sure they are all used and do not go bad, consider making jam! Just peel the fruits, slice them and place them in a pot of boiling water. Add sugar and let it simmer until it starts to thicken. You can add lemon juice, to take some of the edge off, if it’s too sweet.
This “divine fruit” seems to not only be a sweet treat, but very nutritious. Adding persimmon to your daily diet can be very rewarding when you are trying to keep a healthy lifestyle. The versatility for consumption also ensures that you will not grow weary of eating it. Have you had an experience with persimmon? Do you have a persimmon recipe you would like to add to our list? Let us know your thoughts!