What Are The Health Benefits of Plums
What Are The Health Benefits of Plums
Plums have been prized for centuries for their sweet, delicate flavor and array of health boosting qualities. These stone fruits pack a nutritious punch, delivering a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytonutrients. Consuming plums regularly can provide an easy and delicious way to improve overall wellbeing and protect against illness. Read on to learn more about why you should be eating plums as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
What are Plums?
Plums belong to the Prunus genus of plants, which includes various stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and cherries. There are over 2,000 individual varieties, featuring colors spanning from yellow and green to red and deep purple hues. Popular types of plums include Greengages, Mirabelles, Damsons and Cherry plums.
Plums are considered drupes, fruits that contain a hard stone pit surrounding the soft, juicy flesh inside. They feature smooth, thin, edible skins covered in a dusty white waxy coating called bloom. This is a protective waterproof layer that helps the fruits retain moisture. Most plum varieties are freestone, meaning the pits are easy to remove.
These sweet and tart fruits boast an impressive density of vitamins, minerals and protective plant compounds. Plums offer diversity of flavor and texture – ranging from crispy to soft and juicy. The Skin and flesh come in a rainbow of yellow, red, purple and blue tones. This makes plums an appealing, versatile fruit to eat fresh or incorporated into salads, baking, jellies and more.
Nutrition Profile of Plums
Plums provide an abundance of nutrition in each serving. Here is an overview of the vitamins, minerals, fiber and key phytonutrients found in plums:
Fiber Plums contain up to 2 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams – 7% of the daily recommended amount. Fiber supports healthy digestion and helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Vitamin C Plums have about 9.5 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams – 10% of your daily needs. This aids immune function and iron absorption.
Vitamin A Plums provide 127 international units Vitamin A per 100 grams. This important antioxidant supports eye health.
Potassium With 157 mg Potassium per 100 gram serving, plums help control heart rate and blood pressure.
Copper Plums deliver .075 mg of Copper per 100 grams, or 8% your RDI. This helps form red blood cells.
Phytonutrients Plums feature phenolic compounds like anthocyanins and chlorogenic acids that may help combat cancer and obesity.
As you can see, plums offer a wealth of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-preventing antioxidants. Adding them into your diet provides measurable benefits to health and wellbeing. Let’s explore those advantages in more detail:
Health Benefits of Plums
Consuming plums regularly delivers a spectrum of science-backed health bonuses. Here are some of the leading benefits you may derive:
- Help Prevent Cancer Plums contain phenolic compounds like chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acid that exhibit anti-cancer qualities. These antioxidants help combat oxidative damage from free radicals that can trigger tumor growth. In particular, early research indicates that plums may help inhibit breast cancer, colon cancer and oral cancer cells. Their bioactive compounds limit angiogenesis – preventing cancers from forming their own blood vessels to fuel tumor progression.
- Support Heart Health The combination of fiber, potassium, choline and vitamin C in plums promotes cardiovascular wellness in various ways. Potassium relaxes blood vessels, improving circulation. Vitamin C protects against oxidative damage to blood vessels and cholesterol. Fiber scrapes out arteries while choline reduces inflammatory markers for heart disease. This combination helps reduce blood pressure, maintain healthy cholesterol levels and prevent atherosclerosis.
- Aid with Diabetes Management Plums have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not drastically spike blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps moderate glucose absorption. The polyphenols in plums help manage insulin levels through improved insulin binding and signaling efficiency. This produces better blood sugar control, making plums an ideal fruit inclusion for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
- Help Prevent Obesity Animal research indicates that antioxidants isolated from plums reduced weight gain in obese rats and impacted biomarkers linked to obesity. In humans, plums’ fiber delays hunger signals and enhances prolonged satiety after eating. This combination helps prevent overeating and supports healthy, sustained weight loss over time.
- Boost Immune Function Plums provide a triple-strength immunity boost with their rich concentrations of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and protective plant phytochemicals. Vitamin C shields cells from illness while optimizing lymphocyte immune cell responses. Vitamin A maintains skin cell integrity. Phytonutrients like cryptoxanthins, zeaxanthins and luteins act as cell reinforcements to keep infections at bay.
- Improve Digestive Regularity Soluble and insoluble fiber are both present in plums, which makes them highly beneficial for healthy digestion. Pectin and viscous fibers produce bulky stool that is easier to pass. Meanwhile, insoluble fibers like cellulose scrape plaque and toxins out of arteries and the digestive tract. This fiber combo helps treat or prevent constipation while sweeping clean arteries and clearing out carcinogens before they can be absorbed.
- Enhance Skin Health Vitamin C is essential for producing collagen and elastin – structural proteins giving skin its firmness, smoothness and elasticity. Plums replenish this vitamin to preserve a more youthful complexion. Their antioxidants also protect skin from sun damage. Meanwhile, copper enables smooth skin cell turnover for improved texture and luminosity.
- Preserve Vision Health Plums deliver a trifecta of vision-preserving vitamins and phytochemicals. Zeaxanthins and luteins filter out damaging blue light. Vitamin A maintains cornea health. Vitamin C protects eyes from UVA and UVB damage along with combating formation of cataracts. Together, these plum nutrients maintain excellent eye health even with advanced age.
- Support Bone Strength Among all fruits, plums offer the second highest level of boron after avocado – about 4% your daily needs per serving. Boron helps slow calcium and magnesium loss. It also limits inflammation while raising estrogen levels. This combination of effects helps increase bone formation and density, reducing risk for osteoporosis.
- Assist with Anxiety and Stress Early studies show plum juice can reduce blood markers like cortisol that spike during stressful events. Their antioxidants also combat inflammation involved with mood disorders and related neurological diseases. Polyphenols protect nerve cells from free radicals that can destroy cell membranes. This nerve cell reinforcement aids proper neuronal signaling to reduce anxiety.
As you can see, adding plums to your diet provides measurable advantages across nearly all aspects of health – from cancer prevention and weight maintenance to vision support and digestive regularity. Their unique combinations of vitamins, minerals and protective plant compounds enable plums to positively impact multiple bodily systems simultaneously. Let’s explore some serving ideas to boost your plum intake:
How to Add More Plums to Your Diet
Luckily, plums offer remarkable versatility. Their sweet and tart flavor – along with their ability to be consumed raw or cooked – makes them an easy, nutritious ingredient to incorporate into diverse dishes and drinks. Here are simple ways to eat more plums:
Snacking Rinse and eat fresh whole plums as juicy, nutritious snacks multiple times per week
Salads Chop plums into fruit, chicken, pasta and green salads
Baking Add chopped plums into muffins, cakes, crumbles and tart fillings
Smoothies Blend sliced plums with yogurt, greens, nut butters and protein powders
Sauces Puree grilled plums into sweet and savory chutneys and sauces
Juices Mix plum juice with sparkling water or use as the base for non-alcoholic spritzers
Jams and Jellies Craft homemade plum jam, jelly, marmalade or fruit spread
Slice plums over oatmeal along with nuts, seeds, coconut and honey
Meat Marinade Puree plums into sweet and tangy marinades for chicken, pork and fish
As you can see, plums give you ample ways to amplify their many health benefits through diverse recipes spanning breakfasts to main courses. Stash fresh plums on countertops for easy snacking and add them sliced or pureed into your weekly meal prep.
Here is a simple, delicious Plum Chicken Salad recipe highlighting the star fruit:
2 plums, chopped
8 oz cooked chicken breast, chopped
5 oz mixed salad greens
1⁄4 cup feta cheese crumbles 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts 2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
Rinse, pit and chop plums. Combine with remaining ingredients in a salad bowl. Toss gently until evenly coated in dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
This nutritious main dish salad delivers the hearty health perks of plums along with protein, greens and beneficial fats from the nuts and cheese. Substitute salmon, chickpeas or tofu to make it vegetarian or vegan. The sweet and tangy flavors combine into a mouthwatering meal exploding with nutrition.
Plums: The Stone Fruit with Enduring Health Benefits
In conclusion, plums have rightfully earned their reputation as one of nature’s healthiest fruits. Their dense concentrations of polyphenol antioxidants, vision protecting carotenoids, bone supporting minerals and balancing combination of fiber make plums a fruit with far reaching whole body wellness impacts. Regularly eating plums can contribute to improved cardiovascular health, enhanced digestion and immunity, lower systemic inflammation and better protection against obesity or diabetes. Their delicious sweet and tart taste makes getting your fill easy and enjoyable. Allow nutrient-packed plums to become dietary staples through every season while protecting health from head to toe.