plums

Health Benefits of Plums

Plums are a medium-sized stone fruit. The most popular variety has a dark purple-red skin with yellow flesh inside, you can also find plums that are green-yellow. All varieties have a stone in the centre of the fruit which is not edible. When dried, plums are known as prunes.

Plums are in season in the UK from August to September.

Plums belong to the same family as peaches, nectarines, and apricots. But plums are much more diverse than their stone-fruit cousins. They can be large or small, with red, purple, green, yellow, or orange skin, and pink, yellow, or orange flesh.

They first grew in China thousands of years ago. Then plums made their way to Japan, parts of Europe, and America. Today, more than 2,000 varieties grow all over the world.

Plums add subtle sweetness to salads and desserts, but their health benefits are the juiciest part of the package.

Nutrition Facts

Plums are relatively low in calories, but contain a fair amount of important vitamins and minerals. One plum contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 30
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugars: 7 grams
  • Vitamin A: 5% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 3% of the RDI
  • Copper: 2% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 2% of the RDI

Health Benefits of Eating Plums

The vitamin C found in plums helps your body build muscle, form blood vessels, recover, and is beneficial for your eyes as well. Here are other health benefits associated with plums:

Can Lower Blood Pressure

According to a study in 2010, participants who drank prune juice and ate prunes had lower pressure than the prune less control group.

Prunes May Promote Bone Health

Prunes may be beneficial for improving bone health.

Some studies have linked prune consumption with a reduced risk of debilitating bone conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, which are characterized by low bone density.

Not only have prunes been shown to prevent bone loss, they may also have the potential to reverse bone loss that has already occurred.

It’s still unclear why prunes appear to have these positive effects on bone health. However, their content of antioxidants and ability to reduce inflammation are thought to play a role.

Additionally, research suggests that consuming prunes may increase levels of certain hormones that are involved in bone formation .

Prunes also contain several vitamins and minerals that have bone-protective effects, including vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium .

While all these findings are positive, most of the evidence regarding prunes and bone health is based on results from animal and test-tube studies.

However, the minimal amount of human research conducted on prune intake and bone health has produced promising results. Compared to other fruits, prunes appear to be the most effective at preventing and reversing bone loss.

Protection Against Cell Damage/Cancer

Anthocyanins — which is the reddish-blue pigment in plums — can help to remove harmful free radicals. This, in turn, helps to protect your body from cancer and cell damage.

May help manage weight

Plums are low in fat, which could make them a beneficial snack for a person looking to lose weight.

In addition, there is research to show that plums and prunes can help a person feel fuller, meaning they are less likely to overeat. Prunes may also promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which aids nutrient absorption and removal of toxins.

May contribute to a healthy heart

Plums are a good source of potassium. This nutrient can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease.

Research from 2017 found that a potassium-rich diet helped reduce artery stiffening n mice with high cholesterol diets.

A study from 2017 looked into the effect of prune juice on people with high cholesterol. Researchers discovered that people who drank prune juice daily had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased HDL (good) cholesterol.

It is important to note that this study used participants in Taiwan. Scientists need to do more studies on the effects of plums and prunes in additional, diverse populations.

Rich in antioxidants

Plums contain high amounts of antioxidants. These are substances that help prevent cell damage from free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that form when the body:

  • exercises
  • converts food into energy
  • breathes in cigarette smoke
  • comes into contact with air pollution
  • is exposed to sunlight

Free radicals cause oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to cell damage. Oxidative stress can increase the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

Plums are rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties. Some research has shown polyphenols may help protect a person from developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

By eating antioxidant rich foods, such as plums, a person may reduce their risk of developing the many conditions associated with oxidative stress.

Low Calories

At 30 calories, a small plum isn’t just a great snack, it also helps satisfy cravings for sweets. With this in mind, plums can be ideal for those who are on a diet or want to cut back on their calorie intake.

MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)

  • Can be worn with any facemask and provides additional heavy-duty protection.
  • Adult & Youth Sizes Available

Improves Memory & Brain Health

University of Harvard Health Research has shown antioxidants can slow the development of Alzheimer’s. Chock full of antioxidants, plums also contain anthocyanin and quercetin, both beneficial in supporting a healthy brain.

Adding plums to the diet

There are many ways a person can add plums to their diet. Someone can eat plums raw or cooked in various recipes.

Plums are also available to purchase as jam, which a person can spread on toast or eat in a sandwich. However, to reduce the amount of added sugar a person consumes, they should choose jams with low or no added sugar.

A person can also eat prunes plain or use them in cooking. Prune juice is a good source of nutrients.

Risks

Be careful to remove the stone when eating a plum. If a person swallows a plum stone, it may damage the esophagus or cause choking. The esophagus is the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach.

Additionally, a person should make sure not to blend, crush, or chew a plum stone. The seeds of stone fruit contain amygdalin, a chemical that the body converts into the toxin cyanide. If a person crushes or chews the stone and ingests the seed, it is possible they could become unwell.

Summary

Plums are a stone fruit that comes in many varieties. Dried plums are called prunes.

Plums and prunes contain many nutrients. They are a good source of fiber as well as antioxidants.

Plums have many health benefits. A person can eat them to reduce their risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and high cholesterol. A person could also include them as part of a diet to manage their weight.

People consume plums and prunes in many forms, such as jam or juices. The stone of the plum may be slightly toxic if a person eats it, so try to remove it before eating.

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