Persimmon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Persimmons
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Persimmon is an orange tomato-shaped fruit that is native to Asia (particularly Japan and China) with increasing popularity in the United States. If you've never had a persimmon before, you may be wary of how it will taste. Depending on the variety, persimmons can be astringent or non-astringent. If you enjoy their mild sweetness, persimmons can be a healthy way to introduce more variety to your fruit intake.

Persimmon Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for an average (168g) Japanese persimmon (2 1/2" in diameter).

  • Calories: 118
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 1.7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugars: 21g
  • Protein: 1g

Carbs

A typical persimmon has 31 grams of carbohydrates, with 6 grams coming from fiber and 21 grams from natural sugar.

Fats

Persimmons are naturally very low in fat, with less than 1/2 gram each.

Protein

Persimmons are also low in protein with just 1 gram per fruit.

Vitamins and Minerals

Persimmons are high in potassium and beta carotene. They also provide vitamin C, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.

Health Benefits

For centuries, persimmon fruits (along with their leaf and seed extract) have been used in Eastern folk medicine to treat a range of conditions. Here are some of the benefits supported by modern science.

Protects Vision

Persimmons offer an exceptionally high level of lutein and zeaxanthin, two forms of beta carotene that tend to accumulate in the retina. These compounds act as antioxidants, protecting against vision loss from age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, the vitamin C and vitamin E content of persimmons also guards against oxidative damage.

Promotes Brain Health

Persimmons contain a natural compound called fisetin, an antioxidant with several brain benefits. Fisetin enhances long-term memory, prevents neuronal dysfunction, and protects against age-related cognitive decline.

Fisetin, which can also be found in apples, strawberries, and lotus root, has also been reported to reduce brain damage caused by ischemic strokes. And by increasing serotonin levels, fisetin provides anti-depressant effects.

Supports Heart Health

When it comes to heart health, fruits and vegetables reign supreme. A large review of studies shows that getting 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day cuts heart disease rates by 28% and the risk of premature death by 31%.

The potassium in persimmons reduces blood pressure, while folate and vitamin C help prevent strokes and heart attacks. With 6 grams of fiber per fruit, eating a persimmon or two contributes towards the recommendation of at least 25 grams per day.

May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Fruits in the orange and yellow category, including persimmons, have been shown to reduce the rate of colon cancer in women. The beta carotene content is believed to help control the growth and spread of cancer cells. Persimmons are also a good source of fiber, which is essential for good digestion and the regular removal of toxins from the body.

May Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis

Persimmon leaves are rich in beneficial plant compounds that are thought to help with a variety of ailments. Recent research has studied their potential for bone health, finding that the polysaccharides in persimmon leaves inhibit the genetic expression of osteoclasts, the cells responsible for bone breakdown.

These findings indicate possible benefits in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, as well as periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Allergies

Persimmon allergies are rare but possible. Additionally, oral allergy syndrome can occur in people who are allergic to birch pollen and triggered by certain plant-based foods, including persimmons.

If you notice allergy symptoms after coming into contact with persimmons, speak to an allergist for a full evaluation. Typical allergic reactions include symptoms like hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and dizziness.

Adverse Effects

If you have stomach issues, like delayed gastric emptying or a history of stomach surgery, it's best to avoid astringent permissions, especially before they are fully ripe. When the natural compounds in unripe permissions combine with its non-digestible particles (fiber in seeds, skins, etc.), a formation can develop called a bezoar. This intestinal obstruction typically needs to be dissolved or surgically removed.

Varieties

The two main types of persimmon are Japanese and American persimmon. Japanese persimmon (also called kaki fruit) is widely grown in Japan and China, with some popularity having spread to Europe. In the United States, persimmons are commercially grown in California, but home gardens around the country also produce certain varieties. Persimmon varieties are usually described as being either astringent and non-astringent. One well-known non-astringent variety in the U.S. is Fuyu.

When It's Best

Persimmons are in season during the fall from September through November. You may find them with other exotic fruits in the supermarket, in Asian grocery stores, or at a farmers market. Look for persimmons that are plump but not firm. The skin should be bright, glossy, and free from blemishes.

Non-astringent varieties can be eaten before they soften. However, astringent varieties should be left to ripen at room temperature until their skin becomes translucent orange. The flesh of a ripe astringent persimmon should be gelatinous and runny before consuming.

Storage and Food Safety

Handle persimmons as you would other types of fresh fruit. Wash well under running water before eating or cutting into them. Once sliced, store persimmons covered in the refrigerator and use within a few days. Keep persimmons separate from other foods that could cause potential contamination, especially raw meats or fish. If permissions appear overly ripe or begin to smell rancid, discard them.

How to Prepare

There are different ways to use persimmon, based on the particular variety. Combine fresh persimmons with cheese or make them into a jam. Persimmons are also popular as desserts, such as persimmon custard and pudding. Add persimmon to a savory or sweet salad just like you might add other fruits. You can also enjoy dried persimmon alone or as a yogurt or ice cream topping.

The traditional Japanese method of drying astringent persimmon involves removing the leaf crown, peeling off the skin, and hanging them to dry in the sun. White, powdery sugar eventually precipitates, coating the fruit and making for a sweet treat.

Recipes

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