Autumn Persimmons - A Deliciously Healthy Fruit

Posted by javanuddin on Saturday, March 3, 2012

Persimmons or Sharon fruit are available now, and I have been looking forward to them for some time. In Pakistan they are called amlok or Japani phali although they originated in China and not Japan as is sometimes assumed. The Japanese certainly took to these fruit s in a big way and they are a national fruit. The Japanese make a tea from the fruit, which is a remedy for diarrhoea as it is rich in tannin and has astringent qualities. They also make a tea or tisane from the leaves, and this is rich in vitamin C and according to Japan's "Longevity" magazine, drinking persimmon leaf tea can help to reduce the risk of melanoma or skin cancer.

All persimmons are from the Diospyros genus, and are, according to this name, the fruit of the gods. The type of persimmon that grows in Pakistan is Diospyros lotus and unfortunately for the rest of the world, it is thinner-skinned than most so cannot be exported as the fruit bruises easily. It is a sweeter fruit than the one usually found in Europe Diospyros kaki, and doesn't leave and astringent after-taste in the mouth. To me it seems juicier too, although perhaps I have forgotten how juicy others are This persimmon is dark orange-red like a tomato which shows that it has a high beta-carotene content as well as being high in lycopene.

Persimmons contain many health-giving nutrients, as beta-carotene which gives fruit and vegetables (such as sweet potatoes) their distinctive orange colour, and which have potent antioxidant properties. This means that persimmons can help us in the fight against cancers as antioxidants combat the scavenging free radicals in the body which damage healthy cells and can make them cancerous. Beta-carotene has been found to have some anti-skin cancer properties and can reduce the damage caused by the sun. Lycopene is the compound which gives fruit such as tomatoes and watermelons their red colour and is thought to help reduce the risks of some cancers, notably colon, lung, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as others.

These delicious fruit also help eyesight as the vitamin A and E along with the zeaxanthin present in them helps to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and also these nutrients help to prevent night-blindness. Vitamin K is also in this fruit's arsenal of ailment combating substances.

Catechins and gallocatechins in persimmons help the body to fight infections and so does vitamin C which boosts the immune system. These substances also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to prevent excessive blood-clotting.

Persimmons also contain several of the B-complex vitamins and the minerals zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron and phosphorous. The zinc, potassium, lycopene and help with erectile dysfunctions so these fruit are particularly good for a man's sexual health.

They are a good source of dietary fibre and help to prevent constipation. Even the leaf tisane can get rid of fats or lipids and so can help in a weight-loss diet.

You shouldn't eat the skin of a persimmon, although a little won't harm you; but in Pakistan 15 children were treated in a hospital in Hazira in North West Pakistan for bowel obstructions when persimmons were to be found on trees in abundance. However don't throw the skin away, put it on your face, as it is a good skin toner and helps stop blemishes and is said to stop wrinkles forming and smooth out the ones you may already have.

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