Plums are fruits of the subgenus and genus Prunus. Plums are from the same family as cherries and peaches rich in benefits, since they are all flowers that produce a fruit with a groove that runs on one side and a smooth stone or pit. Did you know that plum remains have been found in archaeological sites of the Neolithic Age along with olives, grapes and figs? In fact, plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. Commercial plums are medium sized, usually pruned at 16 feet tall. Plums are generally medium-sized, between 1-3 inches in diameter, and the shape is globular or oval. It is characterized as a drupa, which means that fleshy fruit surrounds a single hard seed. Plums come in a wide variety of colors and sizes; some have firmer meat than others, and the colors range from yellow, white, green to red. The taste of plum varies from sweet to acid. The fruit is juicy and delicious when eaten fresh; It can also be dried, used in jams and other recipes. Plum juice can even be fermented in plum wine.
Dried plums (or prunes) are also sweet and juicy; In addition, they contain several antioxidants and are considered a superior antioxidant food. Prunes and prunes are known for their laxative effect, which has been attributed to various compounds present in fruits, such as dietary fiber, sorbitol and isatin. Because it helps the digestive system, prunes and prune juice are often used to help regulate the functioning of the digestive system. A 2013 article published in Critical Reviews in Food and Science Nutrition suggests that snacks in dried plums can increase satiety and reduce food intake, helping to control obesity, diabetes and related cardiovascular diseases. Despite its sweet taste, dried plums do not cause a significant increase in blood glucose and insulin after meals. Dried plums also affect the gastrointestinal tract by preventing constipation and possibly colon cancer. The bioactive compounds in dried plums and their metabolites can also act as antibacterial agents in the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.
Nutritional Chart of Plums:
The many benefits of plums are the result of their vitamin and mineral content. Plums not only help digestion, but are also known to improve cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, help skin health, fight free radicals and reduce cholesterol.
A Cup of Sliced Plum has Approximately:
- 76 calories
- zero grams of fat
- 19 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
- 16 grams of sugar
- 1 gram of protein
- 15 milligrams of vitamin C (26 percent DV)
- 10 micrograms of vitamin K (13 percent DV)
- 569 international units of vitamin A (11 percent DV)
- 01 milligrams of thiamine (3 percent DV)
- 01 milligrams of riboflavin (3 percent DV)
- 7 milligrams of niacin (3 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams of vitamin E (2 percent DV)
- 01 milligrams of vitamin B6 (2 percent DV)
- 3 micrograms folic acid (2 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of pantothenic acid (2 percent DV)
- 259 milligrams of potassium (7 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams of copper (5 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams of manganese (4 percent DV)
- 11 milligrams of magnesium (3 percent DV)
- 26 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
- 3 milligrams of iron (2 percent DV)
9 Benefits of Plums for Health:
1. High Source of Antioxidants:
- One of the main benefits of plum are its powerful antioxidant properties.
- Plums contain vitamin C and phytonutrients such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid.
- Foods high in antioxidants help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation.
- When certain types of oxygen molecules can travel freely in the body, they cause what is known as oxidative damage or the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are very dangerous for body tissues and have been linked to serious diseases such as cancer and premature aging.
- The body uses antioxidants to prevent damage caused by oxygen.
- A 2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that plums are rich in natural antioxidants and protect granulocytes from oxidative stress.
- The study was designed to test the antirradical activity of seven varieties of plums, and their protective effects against oxidative stress were evaluated comparatively in the white blood cells of the mice.
- Some other benefits of eating plums and other antioxidant foods are slower aging, healthy and shiny skin, lower risk of cancer, support for detoxification and longer life.
2. Digestion Aid:
- Plums are a good source of dietary fiber and help regulate the digestive system. Dried plums, or prunes, in particular are more effective in helping digestive disorders such as constipation.
- The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that babies who eat solid foods should consume plums and other fiber-rich foods twice a day to treat constipation. This is because plums have soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber, found in the pulp of a plum, dissolves in a sticky dough. This mass traps fats and sugars, bacteria and toxins, and helps them get them out of the body. It breaks down carbohydrates, reduces bad cholesterol levels and improves cardiovascular health.
- Insoluble fiber, found in the skin of a plum, does not dissolve. Its rigid components clean the lining of the digestive tract, eliminating mucoid plaque, trapped toxins and other materials.
- Therefore, the benefits of plum include being one of the best natural remedies for constipation, promoting intestinal regulation and a constant level of blood sugar.
3. Lowers Cholesterol:
- Dried plums also reduce cholesterol levels naturally. The presence of soluble fiber in prunes can help reduce LDL cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
- Prunes reduce cholesterol by binding to bile acids and eliminating them from the body. These bile acids are compounds that are used to digest fat and that the liver makes from cholesterol.
- When removed from the body, through feces, the liver must create new bile acids, this consumes more cholesterol, resulting in the decrease of circulating cholesterol.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health:
- Flavonoids and phenolic components, such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin and catechins present in plums have anti-inflammatory effects on different body cells.
- Anti-inflammatory foods help prevent diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- The vitamin K present in plums is also beneficial for the heart, so consider addressing very common vitamin K deficiency immediately.
- It has been shown that this vitamin helps prevent calcification of the arteries, one of the main causes of heart attacks.
- It works by transporting calcium out of the arteries and not allowing hard and dangerous plaque deposits to form.
- It helps prevent hardening of the arteries because it can keep calcium out of the lining of arteries and other body tissues, where it can cause damage.
- Some studies show that vitamin K is an essential nutrient to reduce inflammation and protect the cells that line blood vessels, including veins and arteries.
- Consuming adequate levels of vitamin K is important to prevent high blood pressure and decrease the chances of cardiac arrest.
- A promising 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary intake of vitamin K is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, cancer or all causes in a Mediterranean population at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Support Cognitive Health:
- Phytonutrients present in plums serve as one of the main benefits of plum because they help reduce inflammation in neurological areas and improve the ability to learn and retain information.
- This means that plums help prevent age-related neurodegenerative disorders, which serve as natural treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- A 2015 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition states that “aging accompanied by a decrease in cognitive performance may be the result of the long-term effects of oxidative stress on neurological processes.”
- The study was designed to observe the effects of polyphenolic Oriental plums on cognitive function and the arrangement of protein expression in the brains of mice that were fed a high cholesterol diet for five months.
- The results showed that cholesterol concentrations in both the blood and the brain were significantly higher in the group that consumed a diet high in cholesterol compared to the control and high cholesterol in the groups of oriental plums.
- The researchers conclude that the incorporation of oriental plums in a diet high in cholesterol can improve some of the symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions (or neurons in the brain).
6. Help Skin Health:
- The vitamin C content in plums serves as a benefit to the skin and blood vessels.
- A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated more than 4,000 women between 40 and 74 years old and found that higher vitamin C intake reduced the likelihood of wrinkled appearance, dry skin and helped slow Aging naturally.
- Vitamin C is used to form an important protein that is used to produce skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.
- It helps heal wounds, and forms scar tissue. There is even some evidence that the use of vitamin C skin cream may decrease the amount and duration of skin redness after cosmetic procedures on the skin, such as removing wrinkles or scars.
7. Boosts the Immune System:
- The vitamin C content in plums is beneficial for people whose immune system has weakened due to stress.
- Given that stress has become a common condition in our society, a sufficient intake of foods with vitamin C can serve as an ideal tool for one’s overall health.
- A 2006 study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism states that “vitamin C helps maintain the redox integrity of cells and therefore protects them against reactive oxygen species generated during respiratory burst and in the inflammatory response.”
- The results of the study test the effects of vitamin C and zinc on clinical conditions, found that adequate intake of vitamin C and zinc improves symptoms and shortens the duration of respiratory tract infections, including the prevention of the common cold.
- In addition, vitamin C and zinc reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria and diarrheal infections, especially in children in developing countries.
8. Fight Diabetes:
- Diabetes is a disease that causes high blood sugar levels.
- If the pancreas does not produce adequate amounts of insulin, or if our cells cannot properly process insulin, diabetes occurs.
- Because glucose is not used properly, it accumulates in the bloodstream, which results in the common indicator of diabetes: high levels of glucose or blood sugar.
- Plums have a low glycemic index and plum extracts help reduce blood glucose and triglyceride levels in the body.
- The presence of flavonoids is another benefit of plum because they protect the body against insulin resistance. It is also the presence of soluble fiber in plums that helps normalize blood sugar levels and serves as a natural remedy for diabetes.
- Soluble fiber helps the stomach to empty at a slower rate, which affects blood sugar levels and has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity. This helps control diabetes.
9. Improves Bone Health:
- Polyphenols and potassium in plums are beneficial for bones because they improve bone density and prevent bone loss.
- This can be extremely useful for people with osteoporosis.
- The potassium found in plums is necessary to help protect the bones so that they do not become weak and prone to breakage or fractures.
- When people have low levels of potassium, their bones are not adequately protected from the effects of sulfer acids, and can be demineralized, weakened and porous.
- This is what increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Osteoporosis occurs when small holes or weakened areas form in the bone that can cause fractures, pain and even a widow’s hump.
- It is usually seen in women older than 50 years. The main causes of osteoporosis include aging, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.
- Plums and other potassium-rich foods serve as a natural treatment for osteoporosis because they help strengthen bones and improve bone formation.
How to Buy and Use Plums?
When buying plums, look for ones that are slightly firm and will give a little pressure. Do not go for plums that are already soft or bruised. If the plum has a sweet aroma, it is ready to eat. Plums should be stored in the refrigerator, unless the plum is too firm and you want it to ripen quickly, then keep it at room temperature in a dark place, such as a paper bag. There are so many fun and healthy ways to incorporate prunes in your diet. Plums are a great addition to many baked goods, snacks and salads. Try adding this delicious fruit to:
Dried plums are also very beneficial, and like fresh plums, they can be added to a number of healthy dishes. They are soft, sweet and tasteful. Sometimes people mix prunes and port wine or brandy to intensify the taste. Use dried plums or plums in:
- Chicken dishes
- Pork Dishes
- Bacon Dishes
- Dinner cakes
Recipes with Plums:
Plums are great with breakfast, they are soft, sweet and easy to digest. Adding them to your morning yogurt or oatmeal is a great way to take advantage of these incredible benefits of plum. Try adding sliced plums to the Almond Flour Pancake Recipe. They would also be delicious in the gluten-free quinoa porridge recipe. Add a small plum to your fruit smoothies, like this Berry smoothie recipe. Believe it or not, plums are delicious with recipes for lunch and dinner, like my Autumn Chicken Salad Recipe.
“Sliced plums would add a great sweetness to this salad, or you can try dried plums to get a richer flavor”.
Frozen Berries with Coconut and Lime Recipe:
Are you looking for a super healthy way to eat plums for dessert? Add them to this delicious recipe. Plums, berries, coconut and lime create a refreshing dessert, and will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 people
- 1 cup of berries (choice)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Place the berries in a bowl and pour the coconut milk and lemon juice.
- Mix and freeze until hardened.
- Possible side effects of plums
- Plums contain oxalates, which can cause kidney stones. For this reason, people with a history of kidney stones should avoid eating plums.
- It is also believed that in some people these oxalates decrease calcium absorption, which causes calcium levels to increase in the kidneys.
- Ultimately, this can cause the formation of small or even large stones in the kidneys and bladder.
- People with kidney stones can eat a small amount of plums, so take it slowly and pay close attention to the results of plum consumption.