Persimmons are the national fruit of Japan and are in season between between September and December. The fruit looks like an orange tomato and has recently become popular in the United States. Many studies confirm that persimmons contain nutrients that help reduce blood pressure, boost immune function, improve circulation, and enhance digestion.
What Are Persimmons?
The two most popular types of persimmon include Hachiya and Fuyu. The former has a high tannin content that contributes to its astringent flavor. The latter is non-astringent, offering a sweeter flavor that exists in both underripe and ripe states. There are other types of persimmons, but those are the best ones to purchase. All persimmons share the same nutritional benefits, for the most part, including trace minerals, organic compounds, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and more.
May Improve Vision
Persimmons contain zeaxanthin, which is a carotenoid alcohol that exists in B-complex vitamins. This compound is beneficial for your eyes, according to many optometrists. One study found that zeaxanthin has a direct connection to better eye health because of its antioxidant activity. Additionally, one persimmon contains about 70% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision.
May Improve Heart Health
People who focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables than processed and ultra-processed foods decrease the risk of heart disease by 28%. A large review of studies concluded that eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily reduced the risk of premature death by 31%. Persimmons are excellent sources of potassium, which can act as a vasodilator, an agent that naturally lowers blood pressure. Additionally, persimmons contain tannic acid and gallic acid, which have proven to reduce blood pressure, inflammation, and high cholesterol levels.
Potential Anti-Cancer Properties
As mentioned several times in this article, persimmons are excellent sources of antioxidants. The same antioxidants and flavonoids may exhibit anti-cancer properties. By boosting the body’s ability to fight free radicals and lower oxidative stress, persimmons may protect against numerous diseases. One study in Korean Journal of Nutrition explored the anti-cancer impact of persimmon leaf extract on human gastric cancer cells. The results determined that persimmon leaf extract exhibited powerful anti-cancer potential. More research is still necessary in regards to persimmon leaf’s ability to fight cancer. Persimmons are also rich in vitamins C & A, beta-carotene, and phenolic compounds, which have anti-cancer activity.
May Regulate Circulation
In addition to their ability to help lower blood pressure, persimmons may also regulate blood circulation. Persimmons contain a lot of copper, which aids with the production of new red blood cells. Without sufficient copper intake, the body cannot uptake essential nutrients to produce hemoglobin. Increasing the circulation of new, healthy red blood cells may improve metabolism, energy levels, cognitive function, and muscle tone. One animal study found that ethanol extract from persimmon leaves enhanced blood circulation and lipid metabolism in rats. Persimmons may improve circulation by hampering platelet activation and blood clotting, and lowering cholesterol levels.
May Improve Joint Health
One animal study found that the persimmon’s antioxidants were able to reduce inflammation and tissue damage. The vitamin C also has an anti-inflammatory effect. In fact, vitamin C has links to reducing inflammatory symptoms of diabetes, prostate cancer, and heart disease. In regards to joint health, the antioxidants work to reduce inflammation by keeping free radicals at bay. By lowering C-reactive protein and inerleukin-6, two inflammatory markers, persimmons help to lower overall inflammation.