What the hell is a persimmon?!?

Borrowed from wikimedia.org

I get my produce from a good friend of mine that works for a local organic produce distribution company.  I am super lucky to be able to call him with a list and then to pick up a box of the freshest and healthiest produce around.  I often give him specifics and then ask him to grab a variety of fruits that are available so I get some variety and often a few surprises.  This week was one of those weeks with a surprise: two beautiful looking persimmons.  I was surprised that I even knew what they were.  I have never purchased, eaten, nor seen a recipe that called for persimmons.  I have always known they existed because I have heard of them and I’ve seen them in the store.  I didn’t even know that they were a fruit until I looked them up on the internet yesterday.

To start this persimmon loving post, I am going to tell you about my experience eating the first persimmon of my entire life.  I knew I was going to write about this so I did a bit of a mindful eating exercise so I could best share this with others who have, undoubtedly, also never eaten a persimmon.  First off, a persimmon looks kind of like an under-ripe, swollen tomato.  Even the left-over sepals and petals (the leaves and stuff) on the fruit look like they are swollen compared to that of a tomato.  When I cut it open, I found that it had two tiny  pits.  I smelled it, and was completely underwhelmed.  It didn’t really have much of a smell to me, other than a generic smell of “freshness.”  As I ate my persimmon, I noticed that the texture of the flesh was sort of a cross between a mango and a cantaloupe, and the skin was similar to an apple.  The flavor was completely unremarkable.  It was super mild.  It vaguely reminded me of some other flavor, but I CANNOT figure it out.  It drove me nuts for a bit until I finally decided that it wasn’t important and will come to me eventually.  In conclusion, it was an OK experience.  I doubt I am ever going to have a craving for a persimmon.

Borrowed from gardencoachpictures

 

Now that we have completed what I can only describe as a completely uninspiring account of this new-to-me fruit, I will share with you the incredible health benefits of the persimmon.  First off, there are a number of persimmon varieties, but it seems the most popular is a variety native to Japan (this is the one that wound up in my produce box).  This first, most obvious benefit of the persimmon is the amount of Vitamin A that is present.  You can infer this by noting its color.  Also, due to its color, is the presence of lycopene which has been shown to reduce risk both for prostate cancer and stroke.  I’m also pretty impressed with the amount of potassium that is present.  You need potassium to keep your heart, kidney, muscles, digestive system and nerves in working order.  I wish I had known about persimmons back when heaps of bananas were being forced on me to help deal with leg cramps back in my dancing days.  The last component of persimmons that I would like to highlight is the fiber content.  There are 6 grams of dietary fiber in the average 2.5 inch diameter sized fruit.  Diets high in fiber are excellent for preventing colon cancer.  There are a number of other health benefits of high-fiber diets, but I have always been on an anti-colon cancer crusade.

I also read some information that stated persimmons had anti-tumor properties, but I was unable to verify this information.  It is safe to say, however, that there are cancer preventing properties due to the high levels of Vitamin A & C and the presence of lycopene (all are antioxidants).

OK!  Thanks for journeying with me into the wonderful world of persimmons.  They are clearly SUPER good for you, but I didn’t think it was that amazing to eat.  It rather makes me go “meh.”  Perhaps I need to find a good recipe to try!

Borrowed from rayabelna.com

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Foods to Fight the Cold and Flu

Borrowed from scenicreflections.com

I did not sleep more than a couple of hours last night because I and my 16 month old son have come down with the common cold.  Poor little guy couldn’t breathe so he couldn’t sleep.  The humidifier is doing a great job now and he is napping.  In my downtime I decided to do a little refresher on foods that help out the immune system and fight infection.

The best advice (as with any health problem) is to prevent the illness.  Our immune systems function optimally when we have diets chock full of fruits and veggies.  However, especially for those of us with small children, we can’t prevent everything.  In that case, its time to ramp up the nutritional arsenal.  The first thing we need to do, as just about everyone knows, is increase our intake of clear fluids.  Water, tea, juice, and broth-based soups should do the trick.

Now, foods to eat a lot of:

  • Garlic
  • Citrus
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Yogurt
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Coconut oil
  • Other herbs and spices such as turmeric, curry, cinnamon, cayenne, basil, and oregano

I wouldn’t suggest eating A LOT of coconut oil due to the saturated fat content, but do enjoy a little of it.  A person could make quite a delicious soup after sauteing some garlic and onion in coconut oil.  I would also suggest sticking to the greek-style yogurt while recovering from sickness to avoid high sugar intakes, but regular yogurt will still provide positive benefits.

Try an Indian-Style Raita for some immune boosting support:

2 cups greek-style yogurt

1 cucumber

1 apple

Dill (or other spice you enjoy)

Chili powder or cumin for a spicy garnish

Whisk the yogurt until smooth, add your choice of herb, mix in chopped cucumber and apple, dish out your serving and garnish as you desire.

Borrowed from talimpu.com

Here’s to rapid recovery from the cold bug!

References: http://www.nih.gov, http://www.livestrong.com

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