Persimmon fruit has its origin in the East Asia. It is a fruit that has its own list of benefits for health. Though a native of China, it is loved by people all round the globe. This sweet and delicious fruit is filled with a lot of nutrients essential for our health such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It belongs to Ebenaceae family. The fruit reached the Korea and Japan and later, it reached California by the 19th Century.
Persimmon trees grow best in winters and summers. They reach around 25 feet in height and are generally classified into two major categories such as non-astringent fruits and astringent fruit. Persimmon fruits vary in shape. Some are flat, some are spherical and others are looking like squash. They also differ in size. The color of the fruit can be light yellow, orange, dark orange or red. Discard the seed and the calyx and the rest of the fruit can be consumed.
Health benefits of Persimmon Fruit
- Persimmon fruit has high calories. It has low fats and the flesh contains a rich source of dietary fiber that is very essential for the body. A small amount of 100 g of this fruit contains the right intake of insoluble and soluble fiber.
- The flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants that are health benefits like gallocatechin and catechins are found in Persimmons. Moreover, it also has a very essential antitumor compound named betulinic acid. Studies have found that Catechins have a lot of properties such as anti infective properties, anti inflammatory properties and even anti hemorrhagic properties.
- There are major antioxidants present in persimmon fruit like Cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, B-carotene, lycopene and lutein. With all these compounds working together as scavengers against all kinds of reactive oxygen species and oxygen derived free radicals, the processes that take place in the body like aging attack of diseases will be taken care of.
- Zeaxanthin, found in permissions is a very essential dietary carotenoid. It is taken into the retinal macula lutea inside the eyes. It acts as an antioxidant and a plays the role of a light filter, protecting the eyes. In the aged people, it prevents ARMD or Age related macular disease.
- Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, is found in Persimmons in large number. While consuming this fruit regularly, vitamin c is provided to the body in abundance. This helps the body to gain resistance against all kinds of infections and pro inflammatory free radicals.
- The fruit has B-Complex vitamins like folic acid, thiamin and pyridoxine. These help in various metabolic functions of the body
- Eating fresh as well as dry persimmon fruit provides a lot of minerals to the body like potassium, manganese, phosphorus and copper. Manganese works with the enzyme superoxide dismutase that is a very strong free radical scavenger. Copper works with many important enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and cytochrome c-oxide. It is also needed for the production of red blood cells.
Selection as well as Storage
Persimmon fruits that are of astringent variety are harvested when they are hard and matured completed. The Non astringent ones are good to harvest only when they have gained full color and when they have reached a bit soft consistency. The astringent ones will ripen at regular room temperature. The fruits are hand picked. Care should be taken not to choose bruised ones. Dried fruit is available in almost all leading supermarkets and they look similar to that of dried apricots. The hard and mature astringent ones are good to be stored in refrigerator for months. On the other hand, non astringent ones do not stay for long and should be stored at room temperature and consumed within that time.
The fruit can be consumed fresh, cooked or dried form. It can be eaten like an apple. The texture can range from firm to soft. It is very sweet to taste. The dried fruit is used in cakes, muffins, salads, cookies and puddings. It can be used to make dessert with other fresh fruits. Including persimmon fruits with breakfast cereal is a good option for beginning a healthy day.