Sour, salty and full of health benefits, umeboshi plums have been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries. Also known as “acid plum,” “Japanese apricot,” and “Japanese plum,” plum umeboshi is made from dried and pickled ume fruits, a type of fruit closely related to apricot. The umeboshi plums are round and wrinkled with a clearly acidic taste thanks to their high citric acid content. In fact, the fruits are picked at the end of June, just when their juice has reached its maximum acidity. Due to its intense flavor, umeboshi is typically combined with white rice and consumed as a garnish or in a rice ball. Umeboshi pasta and umeboshi vinegar are also available for an easy way to season any dish.
In terms of nutrition, umeboshi plums contain a good part of the potassium, manganese and fiber you need in a day. In addition, it is low in calories, which gives you the best nutrition option for your money. In addition to having a fairly impressive nutrient profile and a distinctive flavor, this pickled plum has also been shown to have many beneficial health effects. Studies show that it can reduce liver damage, promote digestion and regularity and even block the growth of cancer cells. If you seek to optimize your diet, improve your health and consume as many nutrients in your day as possible, umeboshi plums may be the perfect dietary addition.
Nutrition Facts of Umeboshi Plums:
They are low in calories but contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
100 grams (or approximately 10 pieces) contain approximately:
- 33 calories
- 1 gram of protein
- 0 grams of fat
- 4 grams of dietary fiber
- 10 grams of carbohydrates
- 440 milligrams of potassium (9 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams of manganese (9 percent DV)
- 02 milligrams of thiamine (2 percent DV)
- 7 micrograms of vitamin A (1 percent DV)
- Riboflavin 0.01 milligrams (1 percent DV)
Benefits of Umeboshi Plums:
Some of the Main Benefits of Umeboshi Plums are:
1. Protect the Liver:
Umeboshi plums have some potent properties that could help protect the liver. The liver plays a vital role in detoxification, fat metabolism and the production of important proteins that are used for blood clotting, so it is essential that it works efficiently.
“Liver damage can be caused by a multitude of factors such as infection, excessive alcohol consumption and even obesity”.
Some research has found that including umeboshi in your diet could help preserve liver function. Supplementation with ume fruit extract may decrease liver damage. This means that umeboshi plums could potentially help in the treatment and prevention of liver disorders that affect millions of people worldwide, such as cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatitis.
2. Promotes Gastrointestinal Health:
Because umeboshi plums are a food rich in fiber. They can help promote digestion, as well as the health of the gastrointestinal tract. This is because the dietary fiber found in umeboshi moves through the body without digesting, adding bulk to the stool and promoting regularity. Ume fruit has been shown to have a natural laxative effect. An animal study found that giving rats the fruit improved gastric motility or movement of food through the digestive tract and helped treat constipation. It can also help relieve symptoms caused by gastrointestinal problems. One study showed that daily consumption of umeboshi improved gastric motility and significantly reduced the symptoms of acid reflux.
3. Helps Block Cancer Growth:
Umeboshi plums contain some potent compounds that can be beneficial in the prevention and natural treatment of cancer. One study treated liver cancer cells with an ume fruit extract and found that the ume fruit extract managed to stop the growth of cancer cells. Another study treated pancreatic cancer cells with an ume fruit extract and also noted that it successfully stopped cancer growth. In addition, the ume fruit extract managed to eliminate cancer cells and normal and healthy cells. In addition to liver and pancreas cancer cells, other studies have shown that ume fruit extract can also help block the growth of other types of cancer cells. In fact, it has also been shown that ume fruit extract is beneficial in the treatment of breast cancer and skin cancer.
4. High in Antioxidants:
From a poor diet to factors such as stress, smoking and pollution, there are many ways in which free radicals can form in the body. These highly unstable molecules cause oxidative damage that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize dangerous free radicals to help prevent damage to cells. Studies show that antioxidants can reduce the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Umeboshi plums are one of the great antioxidant foods that promote health. It has been shown that the antioxidants found in ume fruit are especially effective when it comes to reducing and stabilizing free radicals. Incorporating some umeboshi plums into your diet every day could be a simple way to increase both your antioxidant intake and your health.
5. Strengthens and Improves Bone Health:
Umeboshi plums can benefit bone health thanks to their high amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of plant compound that acts as antioxidants, neutralizing the harmful free radicals that can contribute to chronic disease. Recently it was discovered that the specific polyphenols found in the ume fruit exhibit activities against osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to bone loss, which causes bones to become weak and brittle while increasing the risk of breakage and fractures. The polyphenols in the fruit of the smoke were able to increase the production of collagen, the protein that forms the structure of the bones, while improving the function of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone synthesis.
6. Prevents Tooth Decay and Oral Disease:
Some research has found that ume fruit has natural antibacterial properties and could help block the growth of harmful bacteria that cause disease. Because of this, they can even improve oral health and prevent tooth decay. It was also discovered that the ume fruit extract was able to inhibit the growth of several strains of bacteria known to contribute to oral diseases, such as gingivitis. Another similar finding indicates that the ume fruit extract was able to eliminate a specific strain of notorious bacteria caused by caries.
7. Stabilize Blood Sugar:
Interestingly, adding some servings of umeboshi fruit or plums to your diet could be beneficial for your blood sugar. Recently, it was found that the ume fruit affects a specific receptor responsible for the increase in glucose uptake in the body. With more glucose capable of being transported and used by your cells, blood sugar levels can normalize and remain constant. In addition, umeboshi plums are full of fiber and antioxidants. Dietary fiber can help decrease glucose absorption, preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, antioxidants can reduce the oxidative stress that leads to the development of diabetes and makes complications worse.
Where to get Umeboshi Plums?
- Umeboshi plums are made with ume fruit that has been pickled in a brine. Subsequently, plums can be seasoned, sweetened or dried in the sun and sold in whole or dried form.
- After this process, mash can also be made to form an umeboshi paste that is frequently used as a condiment. In addition, the acidic brine that is used to pickle the ume fruit is sold as umeboshi vinegar, a common ingredient used in Japanese cuisine.
How to Use Umeboshi?
Umeboshi, umeboshi pasta and umeboshi plums can be found in specialty stores, Asian supermarkets and online retailers for use in a variety of different dishes.
- Umeboshi plums are typically combined with rice to mitigate their strong flavor. They can be consumed in onigiri, rice balls wrapped in seaweed, or with ochazuke, a traditional dish in which green tea is poured over cooked rice; it can also be cooked, seasoned and served for dinner or used as a delicious addition to a cup of hot tea.
- Umeboshi pasta is often used as a condiment that can bring the distinctive flavor of umeboshi to marinades, salad dressings, sauces and spreads. It can also be combined with cooked vegetables or corn on the cob to give any side dish a nutritious improvement.
- Umeboshi vinegar is a staple in Japanese cuisine. It is usually sprinkled on sauteed vegetables or rice. It can also be used to provide a unique seafood flavor to vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Side Effects of Umeboshi Plums:
Although there are no known negative side effects of umeboshi plums, you should discontinue consumption immediately if you experience an allergic reaction or any negative symptoms after eating umeboshi plums.