Persimmon Power

A tasty fruit with health benefits can also be harmful if eaten incorrectly

Persimmon trees, also known as Diospyros kaki, belong to the Diospyros family. These trees exist mostly in temperate zones but, when they were introduced to Vietnam, they were grown mainly in areas with a year round, cool climate. Persimmon trees were planted in Da Lat (Lam Dong) quite a long time ago. Today, they are sold fresh or dried, and are also used for making jam. Every year, from July to November, markets in Da Lat are filled with crunchy, sweet persimmons that have a light scent.

Persimmons contain 12 to 16 per cent sugar, mainly glucose and fructose, with only 0.1 per cent acid. In 100g of flesh, there is about 0.16mg of carotene, 16mg of vitamin C as well as vitamins such as PP, B1, B2 and organic compounds. Persimmons are commonly eaten fresh as well as dried. During the drying process, persimmons are covered with a layer of sugar which increases the amount of sugar they contain by 60 to 62 per cent.

The fruit can also be used as medicine. Persimmons soaked in alcohol can be used as a tonic to resist asthenia. The dried top leaf of a persimmon, called “thị đế,” is used to treat coughs, hiccups and indigestion. The sugar produced during the jam-making process is called “thị sương.” It contains mannitol sugar and can be used to treat sore or dry throats. The juice from unripe, dried persimmons, called “thị tất,” is used to treat high blood pressure.

Research shows that:

The yellow flesh of contains a high level of beta-carotene, which helps strengthen eyesight and slows aging. Beta-carotene is especially important to smokers as it can help prevent the formation of lung cancer.

Persimmons also contain vitamin C that helps the body fight against viruses, vitamin PP that helps combat fatigue and depression, and improves the condition of skin and hair, magnesium that is essential for the heart to function properly, iron for the blood, potassium to strengthen blood vessel walls, and iodine. The most valuable feature of a persimmon is the organic sugar it contains, which is highly beneficial to people with cardiovascular disease.

In addition, persimmons have a mild diuretic effect, good for people with high blood pressure. Just three to four persimmons a day can help stabilize blood pressure without taking any medicine.

Persimmons are also helpful for people who have stomach problems and intestinal disorders. People put persimmons on wounds and burns to help them heal quickly because of the fruit’s bactericidal effect.

Sweet persimmons help control hunger yet don’t contain many calories. Nutritionists often recommend overweight people add persimmons to their diet.

The fruit is very beneficial in both fresh and dried form. Dried persimmons taste like raisins. All types of persimmons are suitable for drying, but the seedless type is the best.

Dangers of persimmons

Persimmons contain tannin (acrid substance) and pectin. When eating unripe persimmons, people experience an acrid flavor. Tannin and pectin are substances that tighten the intestinal mucosa and affect the intestinal peristalsis. Eating too much tannin and pectin, especially when you are hungry, combined with the fruit’s relatively high level of fiber (100g persimmon has 2.5g fiber) will will cause clumping in the stomach. This results in indigestion and causes vomiting. If we eat too much, it can lead to intestinal obstruction. Nutritionists usually advise eating persimmons when we are already full and to avoid unripe ones.

Persimmons should not be eaten with food that contains too much protein since that can lead to slower digestion and cause clumping.

People who are constipated, have a sensitive digestive system, eat too quickly, and do not chew carefully should only eat small quantities of ripe persimmons. For elderly people with less effective intestinal peristalsis and salivary glands, eating persimmons can make bowel movements slower. If someone has had intestinal operations or damage, especially in the stomach, they should not eat this fruit.

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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