Nutrition

Health and Nutrition Benefits of Persimmon

INTRODUCTION.

The nutritional properties and bioactive compositions (such as amino acids, sugars, phenolic compounds, and organic acids) of natural dietary plants, crops, fruits, and vegetables play an important role in human nutrition and health as potential sources of functional foods and nutraceuticals . These various nutritional constituents, including organic acids, sugars, and amino acids, are good sources of primary metabolites and are well known as chemical markers for ripeness, taste, flavor, and quality . Organic acids have a protective role against chronic diseases that result from antioxidant activities . Amino acids provide several health benefits, such as antimutagenicity, antiobesity, and antitumor effects, as well as the reduction of both blood cholesterol and sugars, and they are also essential agents in sweetening and food preservation . Phenolic compounds of secondary metabolites are widely distributed in natural edible plants and food products, and they display possession of biological activities, including some health-promoting properties . These compounds are of great interest in the food industry because of what they can add to the nutritional and overall quality value of foods . Nowadays, there is considerable evidence that antioxidants in edible sources play a crucial role in the maintenance of health and in prevention of diseases. Especially, natural antioxidants have attracted an increasing interest due to the safety concerns regarding the synthetic antioxidants BHA and BHT. For this reason, many researchers have focused on natural materials that could provide bioactive compounds to prevent numerous diseases.

Persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.) belongs to the family of Ebenaceae, and is a familiar fruit throughout Asian countries that has also been widely used for medicinal purposes . The leaves and fruits of this species have been used throughout history to cure cough, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and apoplexy . More recently, the flesh, peel, and leaves of persimmon have received unprecedented attention due to the various biological activities such as antioxidant, antitumor, anti-hyperlipidemia, and antidiabete effects . Persimmon fruits are associated with various biological activities, including antioxidant effects, and their potent radical scavengers were found to result from the flavonoid groups, namely catechin derivatives .

In recent years, there is a growing interest in fruit juices because of the possible nutraceuticals contained therein , and many studies have been carried out on a larger scale using clarified fruit juice from a wide variety of sources. Among these many fruit sources, persimmon, in particular, showed beneficial health effects due to several nutritional constituents . Additionally, this species showed potent scavenging action against active oxygen free radicals due to the flavan-3-ols . Although numerous researchers revealed that the biological activities of persimmon are due to phytochemicals , there is little information available regarding the changes in various components of this species that occur in different geographical regions. Moreover, there is no report of comparative studies on various nutritional constituents and antioxidant activities.

Top 6 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Persimmon.

Here are 6 benefits of persimmons, including how to incorporate them into your diet.

1. Loaded With Nutrients.

Though small in size, persimmons are packed with an impressive amount of nutrients.In fact, one persimmon (168 grams) contains :

▪️Calories: 118.

▪️Carbs: 31 grams.

▪️Protein: 1 gram.

▪️Fat: 0.3 grams.

▪️Fiber: 6 grams.

▪️Vitamin A: 55% of the RDI.

▪️Vitamin C: 22% of the RDI.

▪️Vitamin E: 6% of the RDI.

▪️Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI.

▪️Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 8% of the RDI.

▪️Potassium: 8% of the RDI.

▪️Copper: 9% of the RDI.

▪️Manganese: 30% of the RDI.

▪️Persimmons are also a good source of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), folate, magnesium and phosphorus.

These colorful fruits are low in calories and loaded with fiber, making them a weight loss-friendly food.

Just one persimmon contains over half the recommended intake of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin critical for immune function, vision and fetal development .

Aside from vitamins and minerals, persimmons contain a wide array of plant compounds, including tannins, flavonoids and carotenoids, which can positively impact your health .The leaves of the persimmon fruit are also high in vitamin C, tannins and fiber, as well as a common ingredient in therapeutic teas.

2. Excellent Source of Powerful Antioxidants.

Persimmons contain beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant qualities.Antioxidants help prevent or slow cell damage by counteracting oxidative stress, a process triggered by unstable molecules called free radicals.

Oxidative stress has been linked to certain chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s .

Fortunately, consuming antioxidant-rich foods like persimmons can help fight oxidative stress and may decrease the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Diets high in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants found in high concentrations in the skin and flesh of persimmons, have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, age-related mental decline and lung cancer .

Persimmons are also rich in carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene, a pigment found in many brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

Studies have linked diets high in beta-carotene to a lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and metabolic disease .

Additionally, a study in over 37,000 people found that those with a high dietary intake of beta-carotene had a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. May Benefit Heart Health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and negatively impacts the lives of millions of people .Fortunately, most types of heart disease can be prevented by reducing risk factors, such as an unhealthy diet.

The powerful combination of nutrients found in persimmons makes them an excellent choice for boosting heart health.

Persimmons contain flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.Consuming a diet high in flavonoids has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in several studies.

For example, a study in over 98,000 people found those with the highest intake of flavonoids had 18% fewer deaths from heart-related issues, compared to those with the lowest intake .

Diets high in flavonoid-rich foods can support heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreasing inflammation .

What’s more, the tannins that give unripe persimmons their mouth-puckering bitterness may lower blood pressure.Many animal studies have shown that tannic acid and gallic acid, both found in persimmons, are effective at lowering high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

4. May Help Reduce Inflammation.

Conditions like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer and obesity are all linked to chronic inflammation.Luckily, choosing foods that are high in anti-inflammatory compounds can help reduce inflammation and lower disease risk.Persimmons are an excellent source of the potent antioxidant vitamin C. In fact, one persimmon contains 20% of the recommended daily intake.Vitamin C helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and combats inflammation in the body.

Vitamin C reduces free radical damage by donating an electron to these unstable molecules, thus neutralizing them and preventing them from causing further harm.C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 are substances produced by the body in reaction to inflammation.

An eight-week study in 64 obese people found that supplementing with 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 .

Plus, large studies have linked higher dietary intake of vitamin C to a reduced risk of inflammatory conditions like heart disease, prostate cancer and diabetes.

Persimmons also contain carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin E, all of which are potent antioxidants that fight inflammation in the body.

5. Rich in Fiber.

Having too much cholesterol, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack.Foods high in soluble fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, can help lower high cholesterol levels by helping the body excrete excess amounts of it.

Persimmons are a high-fiber fruit that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels.One study found that adults who consumed cookie bars containing persimmon fiber three times a day for 12 weeks experienced a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol, compared to those who ate bars that did not contain persimmon fiber .

Fiber is also important for regular bowel movements and can help reduce high blood sugar levels.Soluble fiber-rich foods like persimmons slow carbohydrate digestion and sugar absorption, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes.

A study in 117 people with diabetes showed that increased consumption of soluble dietary fiber led to significant improvements in blood sugar levels .Plus, fiber helps fuel the “good” bacteria in your intestines, which can positively impact your digestive and overall health.

6. Support Healthy Vision.

Persimmons provide lots of vitamin A and antioxidants that are critical for eye health.

In fact, one persimmon delivers 55% of the recommended intake of vitamin A.Vitamin A supports the functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. Moreover, it is an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein necessary for normal vision .Persimmons also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid antioxidants that promote healthy vision.

These substances are found in high levels in the retina, a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye.

Diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, a disease that impacts the retina and can cause vision loss .

In fact, a study in over 100,000 people found that those who consumed the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40% lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration than those who consumed the least amounts.

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 called a bezoar can develop. This intestinal obstruction typically needs to be dissolved or surgically removed.

Reference:

Jillian Kubala (5-5-2018), “Top 7 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Persimmon”، www.healthline.com

Jin Lee, Yong Lee, Woo Seo, and others (6-2012), “Comparative Studies of Antioxidant Activities and Nutritional Constituents of Persimmon Juice (Diospyros kaki L. cv. Gapjubaekmok)”، www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Malia Frey (29-4-2020), “Persimmon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits”، www.verywellfit.com

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