Ahead we're delving into persimmon benefits plus sharing recipes ready to celebrate every last squeeze of this delicious fruit all season.
Why are persimmons good for you?
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, it's worth noting that regularly eating fruit is a great way to sustain a healthy diet for most folks. From antioxidants to fiber to a host of vitamins and minerals in between, getting in your daily dose of fruit is always a smart choice. While there’s no reason to ditch some of your go-to staples like berries, citrus fruits, apples and stone fruit, there are some lesser-known fruits we think deserve some extra attention this time of year. At the top of the list: persimmon, as there are many benefits that make it an underrated fruit definitely worth trying. So, let's delve right in.
- Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, registered dietitian and co-founder of The Nutrition Twins
What do persimmons taste like?
Persimmon is a brightly-colored orange fruit that has a sweet, rich and tangy, almost honey-like flavor. On the exterior, it's appearance resembles a tomato, with a waxy surface, and vine-like stem. In terms of shape, with a quick glance you might confuse it with some type of citrus if it weren't for it's smoothness; as it has a plump figure similar to that of a tangerine. But what really sets this wholesome fruit apart from most other varieties is that it doesn’t taste like any other in the bunch. Persimmons have a very unique and highly-delicate flavor profile, that's refined on its own, but pairs well with something as simple as a drizzle of olive oil or can be enhanced with other bold flavors, like in a citrus medley salad. What's more, you can eat them fresh, dried, or cooked—in other words, they're incredibly versatile.
Types of persimmon
There are several types of persimmons, but the most common ones are fuyu and hachiya. “The fuyu are firmer when ripe and look like yellowish-orangish tomatoes, and the hachiyas are orange-red and shaped more like an acorn,” says Lyssie Lakatos, RDN. When buying persimmon fruit, you want to pick one that feels heavy for its size and has a glossy looking skin, without damage or bruises. That way you’re finding a good quality, ripe fruit, so you can get the greatest bang for your buck and really savor that deliciously unique flavor.
Persimmon health benefits
The persimmon fruit benefits go beyond their delicious flavor profile, as they pack a nutritional punch. Here’s the nutritional value of persimmons info at a glance:
For a medium persimmon fruit (six-ounce serving): 118 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1 g protein, 31 g carbs, 25 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 70 percent DV Vitamin A, 20 percent DV Vitamin C.
Ready to get even more pumped about persimmon benefits? Let's delve right in.
1. Persimmons are good for heart health
First and foremost, persimmons may protect against heart disease. “They’re rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol, which help to fight oxidative damage and decrease the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease,” says Lakatos. “Persimmons are also good sources of tannic acid and gallic acid, which have been proven to reduce high blood pressure, inflammation, and high cholesterol levels, which all are major risk factors for heart disease."
To get the most heart health persimmon benefits the dietitian recommends chopping them up and enjoying them with plain Greek yogurt for breakfast or adding them to a leafy green and grilled salmon salad with chopped pistachios for a quick, healthy lunch. Swoon.
2. Persimmons may improve joint health
Since they can decrease inflammation in the body, their benefits may extend into creating positive effects on joint health. They may protect against arthritis, too. “Persimmons are super stars when it comes to lowering inflammation, and inflammation is linked to arthritis,” Lakatos says. “This inflammation lowering effect is in part due to persimmons’ high Vitamin C content, which helps to mop up damage from free radicals, keeping inflammation at bay and thereby keeping c-reactive protein and inerleukin-6, which are two substances that are produced when the body is inflamed, at lower levels."
3. Persimmons are great for digestion
Eating persimmons can make it easier to stay regular, and who wouldn't love a little gut-loving fiber that tastes this delicious? “They can help to fight constipation and keep your digestive tract healthy due to their high fiber content,” Lakatos says. “With six grams of fiber in one persimmon, that’s nearly a quarter of the daily recommended amount of fiber for women,” she adds. That’s a lot—one serving a day can really make a difference in helping you meet your daily fiber intake goals.
Quick refresher: Dietitians recommend consuming roughly six grams of fiber per meal via delicious foods that make you poop for maintaining optimal gut health. In terms off daily quotas, this means a target daily fiber intake goal for women that's around 21 to 35 grams of fiber per day; 30 to 38 grams of fiber per day for men. For a delicious, high-fiber snack, pair the fruit with cheese and nuts for a tasty spread that's packed with nutrients. Or add it to a low-fiber fruit bowl, to up the nutrient intake.
4. Persimmons may boost eye health
Persimmons can help to keep your eyes healthy and promote greater eye health. “They’re rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid antioxidants that help to fight against age related macular degeneration,” Lakatos explains. They also contain 70 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A, an essential nutrient that’s needed for normal vision.
5. Persimmons may lower the risk of cancer
While more research is needed, persimmon fruit has been linked to potential anti-carcinogenic effects, making it one of the best fruits for longevity. “They may protect against cancer thanks to being rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which may be especially beneficial when it comes to fighting against lung and colorectal cancer,” Lakatos says.
How to enjoy the benefits of persimmon fruit
Due to the versatility of this mild-tasting fruit, finding tons of ways to enjoy them is beyond easy. From savory to sweet, you'll likely never run out of options. “You can start your day by adding sliced persimmons to a yogurt parfait, or on top of cold or hot cereal, pancakes, or French toast, for example,” says Lakatos. Or enjoy them as a snack or during lunch by slicing them and adding them to a salad or using them in a high-protein fruits smoothie. You can make your own fruit roll-ups for a quick, sweet snack, or you can simply roast them to use as a topper for salads or as an ingredient in a healthy DIY trail mix to enjoy on the go. The world is your persimmon, fam.
More tasty foods that help you poop for healthier digestion and optimal gut health:
- Kim, Heon-Su et al. “Anti-cancer potential of persimmon (Diospyros kaki) leaves via the PDGFR-Rac-JNK pathway.” Scientific reports vol. 10,1 18119. 22 Oct. 2020, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-75140-3
- Ahn, Hong Ryul et al. “The Intraocular Pressure-Lowering Effect of Persimmon leaves (Diospyros kaki) in a Mouse Model of Glaucoma.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 20,21 5268. 23 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijms20215268
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