While fruit is always a healthy, sweet food to enjoy as part of a wholesome diet, it’s even more enjoyable to have a fruit salad or a refreshing piece of fruit to cool off during the warmer months. And while there’s no reason to ditch some of your go-to staples like berries, citrus fruits, apples and stone fruit, there are some lesser-known fruits that deserve to be explored. A persimmon is one of them, as there are many benefits that make it an underrated fruit worth trying.

A persimmon is a brightly-colored orange fruit that has a sweet, rich and tangy, almost honey-like flavor. It doesn’t taste like any other fruit, really. You can eat them fresh, dried, or cooked—they are incredibly versatile.

There are several types of persimmons, but the most common ones are fuyu and hachiya. “The fuyu are firmer when ripe and look like yellowish-orangish tomatoes, and the hachiyas are orange-red and shaped more like an acorn,” says Lyssie Lakatos, RDN.

When you’re buying persimmon fruit, you want to pick one that feels heavy for its size and has a glossy looking skin, without damage or bruises. That way you’re finding a good quality, ripe fruit, so you can get the greatest bang for your buck and really savor that deliciously unique flavor.

What’s more, the persimmon fruit benefits go beyond their diet-friendly nature, as they are low in calories and pack a nutritional punch. Here’s the nutritional info:

For a medium persimmon fruit of 6 oz: 118 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1 g protein, 31 g carbs, 25 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 70 percent DV Vitamin A, 20 percent DV Vitamin C.

Here are a few other persimmon fruit benefits to keep in mind

1. Persimmons are good for heart health

Persimmons may protect against heart disease. “They’re rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol, which help to fight oxidative damage and decrease the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease,” say Lakatos.

“Persimmons are also good sources of tannic acid and gallic acid, which have been proven to reduce high blood pressure, inflammation, and high cholesterol levels, which all are major risk factors for heart disease,” she adds. So, chop them up and enjoy them with plain Greek yogurt for breakfast or add to a leafy green and grilled salmon salad with chopped pistachios for a quick, healthy lunch.

2. Persimmons may improve joint health

Since they can decrease inflammation in the body, their benefits may extend into creating positive effects on joint health. They may protect against arthritis, too. “Persimmons are super stars when it comes to lowering inflammation, and inflammation is linked to arthritis,” she says.

“This inflammation lowering effect is in part due to persimmons’ high Vitamin C content, which helps to mop up damage from free radicals, keeping inflammation at bay and thereby keeping c-reactive protein and inerleukin-6, which are two substances that are produced when the body is inflamed, at lower levels,” she says.

3. Persimmons can help you poop

Eating persimmons can make it easier to stay regular. “They can help to fight constipation and keep your digestive tract healthy due to their high fiber content,” Lakatos says.

“With 6 grams of fiber in one persimmon, that’s nearly a quarter of the daily recommended amount of fiber for women,” she adds. That’s a lot—one serving a day can really make a difference and add up! Pair with cheese and nuts for a well-rounded snack.

More foods that help you poop:

4. Persimmons may boost eye health

Persimmons can help to keep your eyes healthy and promote greater eye health. “They’re rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid antioxidants that help to fight against age related macular degeneration,” she explains. They also contain 70 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A, an essential nutrient that’s needed for normal vision.

5. Persimmons may lower the risk of cancer

While more research is needed, persimmon fruit has been linked to potential anti-carcinogenic effects. “They may protect against cancer thanks to being rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which may be especially beneficial when it comes to fighting against lung and colorectal cancer,” she says.

How to enjoy the benefits of persimmon fruit

“You can start your day by adding sliced persimmons to a yogurt parfait, or on top of cold or hot cereal, pancakes, or French toast, for example,” says Lakatos. Or enjoy them as a snack or during lunch by slicing them and adding them to a salad or using them in a green protein smoothie.

You can make your own fruit roll-ups for a quick, sweet snack, or you can simply roast them to use as a topper for salads or as an ingredient in a healthy DIY trail mix to enjoy on the go.

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