The Many Health Benefits of Eating Persimmons

The often overlooked fruit known as the persimmon is rising in popularity. Eating persimmons also offers health benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’d like to add a little variety to your diet and still eat healthy, you may want to consider adding some persimmons to your grocery cart. This often overlooked fruit is growing in popularity as people become more open to exploring different tastes. Although this fruit has yet to gain mainstream popularity in the United States, it’s highly regarded in Japan where it’s the national fruit. Eating persimmons can provide a new taste experience as well as a variety of health benefits.

The persimmon is a versatile fruit which can be eaten raw or cooked. If eaten before fully ripe, the persimmon has a bitter, astringent taste due to high levels of tannins, the same polyphenols found in tea. As the fruit matures, the tannins change form which eliminates much of the bitter taste. For this reason, eating persimmons should be done after the fruit is soft and fully ripe.

What are the health benefits of eating persimmons? Persimmons are not only high in fiber but are an excellent source of vitamin A. This brightly colored orange fruit contains no fat but is rather high in carbs and natural sugars. In addition to the tannins which give the immature fruit its astringent taste, it contains two compounds known as shibuol and betulinic acid that are though to have anti-cancer properties. A study conducted in Japan showed that the peel of the persimmon contains phytochemicals known as proanthocyanidins which may protect cells against oxidative damage associated with aging.

Although eating persimmons may have significant health benefits, there’s one potential drawback. Because they contain the compound shibuol, they have the capacity to react in the acid environment of the stomach to form a gooey compound which can cause an intestinal obstruction known as a bezoar. In many cases, if a bezoar is formed from eating persimmons, it can require surgery. For this reason, persimmons should only be eaten on a full stomach and never eaten with crabmeat which can increase the tendency for bezoars to form.

Because of the growing popularity of persimmons, you can expect to see more of these sweetly tangy fruits in culinary creations served at higher end restaurants. At home, you can add persimmon slices to salads or puree them to make smoothies, jellies, a topping for pancakes, or use it as a flavoring for yogurt. It can also be mixed with other fruits to create a fruit salad. When choosing persimmons at the grocery store, look for ones that have a deep red coloration without blemishes. Avoid ones that are hard if you plan on eating them immediately since the immature persimmon has a bitter taste.

Eating persimmons can add a new taste sensation as well as be a valuable source of vitamins and phytochemicals. Look for the next time you’re at the grocery store.

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  1. Thks for all the info..

  2. Have you ever eaten one that was not 100% ripe. Your mouth goes all weird..heh

  3. I’m a big fan of this fruit but I didn’t know about the benefits until I finished reading your article. Hmm, I’ll just have to remember not to eat one when on empty stomach.

  4. I’ve eaten dozens of persimmons and never knew about bezoars, this must be a very rare condition as I come from China and persimmons are eaten by everyone during season.

    I like the Hachiya type (the acorn-looking elongated one) much more than the Fuyu type (the ones that look like doughnut peaches, flat). Only the Hachiya has the tannins, you have to let it fully ripen before eating. Eat only when the fruit has the consistency of jelly, with other fruits, this would be past the point of spoilage, but with Hachiya persimmons, this is when they are ripe. Unripe hard Hachiya persimmons will make you never want to eat one again. I always peel the skin off of these when I eat them but you don’t have to.

    Unlike the Hachiya, the Fuyu persimmon can be eaten ripe or raw without any fear of the tannin aftertaste. I don’t like these as much, and they are fully ripe when they are just a little bit soft. They can also be eaten when hard, these are crisp like an apple and have a much more delicate flavor than Hachiya. If you want the full flavor of a persimmon, I suggest you eat the Hachiya which is the most popular type in China by far. I had never even seen the Fuyu type until moving to the United States, I have no idea how they are popular here, perhaps the Japanese like light flavors. You can try both types and decide for yourself.

  5. Actually, unripe fuyu persimmon WILL have tannin. Trust me, I just went through that experience, oh, last week. No one ever said just because the fuyu type is in America doesn’t mean that it’s the only popular kind in Japan…

    I imagine Fuyu’s are more popular in general because you can keep them for longer, and have a longer range of edible time frame. Once hachiya’s are edible, they must be consumed within a couple days. 3 is perhaps pushing it.

    For one, it would make less sense for markets to sell hachiya’s as not enough people in the states would understand that it must be near spoilage to use. That and, once it fully ripens, stores must sell them immediately—you get where I’m going? It doesn’t make as much sense, business-wise, for the States at this point.

  6. i’m from mexico and i love these it’s practically my favorite fruit and i love eating them they’re so delicious…

  7. I love Persimmons there so sweet and have a tomatoe like texture to them.
    My dad’s girlfriend in who lives in South Bend Indiana first
    introduced me to this tasty fruit since she eats it alot when they are in season.
    They now sort of became my new favorite fruit and eat them alot when they are cheap and in season.

  8. Since I started eating well ripen perssimons a week ago i have an upset stomack . can any body tel me what to do?

  9. This is one of my top favorite fruit, it’s so delicious I personally love them when they are still hard and crisp. I grew up eating this and have never had any problems and my kids love them as well including my 13 month old (I feed her the over ripped ones). I don’t know how many different varieties are out there but the cone shaped ones that I’ve had these past few months were hard and crisp just like I like them and did not have that strange taste and gummy texture of previous ones that I’ve tried.

  10. I never used persimmon one day i bought two Persimmon they are so tasty like a honey.First day i ate half and half next day.They don’t upset stomach if they eaten after lunch.It should not be taken on empty stomach.It has many health benefits.Gisele Edmonston mentioned that his stomach up set after eating of persimmon.What you should do don’t eat one week and after one week use them after lunch never eat them on empty stomach.If after one week try to use them again if they up set your stomach then there will be another reason.They are very good fruit.

  11. I always eat them on an empty stomach :P Never noticed a problem

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