Never had a Persimmon - A Good Time to Start

~ March 2001 No.124 ~

Our grocery stores are becoming more and more exotic each day. Foods from strange and distant lands are now common in many markets, even if many of us don´t know what these often colourful fruits and vegetables are, what they taste like, and what are their health benefits. So next time you pass the persimmons, perhaps it is time to pick a few up and try them.

Persimmon

A team of researchers led by Shela Gorinstein from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, recently published data on the effects of eating persimmons on cholesterol metabolism. The experiments were carried out on rats and therefore extrapolation to humans may be difficult, but it is evident from Gorinsteins=s work that eating persimmons alters fat metabolism in rats. The rats normal (basal) diet was supplemented at a level of 7%. The diet also contained added cholesterol. The persimmon-supplemented diet significantly lessened the rise in blood plasma lipids. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and lipid peroxides were all lower in the persimmon group. These blood plasma lipids normally rise in rats fed a diet containing added cholesterol. Liver cholesterol levels were also reduced in the rats eating persimmons.

Gorinstein and her team concluded that persimmon possesses hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties that are evident when persimmon is added to the diet of rats fed cholesterol.

Persimmon pulp and peel are both good sources of fiber. This may explain, in part, the positive effect on cholesterol metabolism. Persimmons have also been shown to contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and polyphenols which may also affect fat metabolism. In addition persimmons are good source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. Therefore, for many reasons, adding this colourful fruit to your diet may be a good idea.

Persimmon Facts
botanical name:Diospyros kaki (Japaneses persimmon)
The fruit (Japanese variety):orange or red in colour, apple shaped, 5-7.5 cm in diameter; American variety smaller and more yellow in colour
nutrition information (Japanese variety):moderately high in calories 77 cal/100g; contains 20% carbohydrates
Importance of crop:in Japan persimmons are third only to mandarin oranges and grapes in importance
Taste:American variety is puckery (astringent); the Japanese variety less so
Uses:jams and jellys (American variety); eaten raw (Japanese variety)
  1. Reference
    • Gorinstein S., Bartnikowska E., Kulasek G., Zemser M., Trakhtenberg S. Dietary persimmon improves lipid metabolism in rats fed diets containing cholesterol.J Nutr. 1998,128:2023-7

 

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Last modified

September 04 2015