Call it persimmon, kaki, hamlok/amlok, japanese fruit, sharon fruit or whatever you like. This tomato like fruit has a lot to offer. Available from the start of winter season and once ripe, these bright orange fruit are soft, sweet and juicy.
Apart from its taste, here are the reasons why you should be having this fruit and the health benefits it has to offer:
Aids in weight lose
If you are looking forward to losing some weight, this fruit should be on top of your list. It is very high in fibre and 80% of the fruit is water, which means it offers the feeling of a full tummy at a cost of very low calorie consumption. Its natural sweetness prevents craving for other sugary stuff like chocolate or carbonated drinks. Its sugar content will also provide energy for working out (yes, you still have to workout) and the water content will help to partly replenish the fluid loss via sweat.
This fruit effectively has almost zero fats, so no need to worry about that.
Pack of micronutrients
Micro-nutrition (vitamins and minerals) – although required in trace amount by the body – are essential for normal growth and development. Persimmon fruit is full of them. It has sodium, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese, in amounts greater than that found in an apple. It also offers vitamin A, B, C and small amounts of vitamin E and K.
Although all the vitamin and minerals are important, the vitamin A provided by this fruit – in form of Beta-carotene and Lutein Zeaxanthin – are crucial for maintaining and improving vision. These are also known to prevent cataracts.
Improves digestive system
Its high fibre content provides the bulk of indigestible material for our gastrointestinal tract. This is useful as the fibres push the undigested material towards the rectum (part of the gastrointestinal tract where stool is temporarily stored before excreted out of the body). It increases the bulk of stool and softens it, preventing constipation. As constipation can also result in swelling of veins around the anus, leading to haemorrhoids, persimmon is known to be used for treatment or prevention of haemorrhoids.
Aside from fibre, persimmon also contains tannin, a compound which regulates gastrointestinal movements. Hence it improves your digestive system overall.
Good for heart
Sodium is a known culprit responsible for high blood pressure. High blood pressure itself causes several other problems, which is also why we call it the “silent killer.”
Sodium is found in Persimmon, but not in quantities that would cause high blood pressure. It contains enough sodium which is required for many normal functions within the body. Individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) can freely eat this fruit.
Persimmon also contains potassium. Potassium is a muscle relaxant and causes vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) hence providing low resistance for the blood flow. This – combined with control over blood pressure and the fact that it contains almost no fat – allows persimmon to contribute to the wellness of cardiovascular system.
Prevention of cancer and ageing
Oxygen radicals are produced normally within the body. However these radicals are harmful for the body as they act on cellular level damaging the DNA structure. This damaged DNA can replicate uncontrollably and may lead to cancer.
Normally this does not occur due to the antioxidants our body produces to eliminate the free radicals. Persimmon is packed with antioxidants to get rid of these free radicals faster and preventing any damage beforehand. A compound found in persimmon, betulinic acid, is itself an anti-cancer agent hence preventing cancers from developing.
Oxygen radicals are also known to speed up the ageing process, damaging the skin cells and leads to wrinkles. Antioxidants in the form of vitamin A, C and K are found in high quantities in persimmons keep the skin healthy. Antioxidants reverse premature ageing effects.
Apart from these, persimmons prevent inflammation due to the presence of phytochemicals, aids in clotting of blood, improves immunity and offers many more health benefits. But remember, over doing anything is harmful. Tannin – a compound found in persimmon, especially high in unripe fruit – is a particular risk factor as it is toxic in large quantities. Over eating this fruit may also lead to diarrhea. But as long as you eat it in a balanced amount, you should be fine.
So don’t miss out on the health benefits this tomato like fruit has to offer. Go ahead and make the most out of this fruit till the season lasts.