Plums are relative to nectarine, almond and peach and there are more than 2,000 varieties of this lifesaving fruit. Their season begins from May and lasts till October. But you can find them all year round in the grocery stores. The Japanese variety is available in summers and in winters European variety is found.
There are more than 80 nutrients found in plums. Some of these essential nutrients include vitamin A, C, E and K, tryptophan, potassium, riboflavin, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
The fruit is low in calories, 100 grams would give you 46 calories only.
Here are some of its health benefits:
A study was undertaken at the AgriLife Research Center, in Texas, in which the effects of more than 100 fruits were tested on cancer cells. It was revealed that plums had as much powerful antioxidants as blueberry, which is well known for the high powered antioxidants contained in it. The study proved that plums contained some unique phytonutrients that were effective killers of breast cancer cells. They stopped the growth of the cancer cells without doing any harm to the healthy cells. These phytonutrients are only present in some fruits and luckily plum is one of them. Plum is also effective in treating gastrointestinal cancer and respiratory tract cancer.
Diabetic patients should choose foods with low Glycemic Index. Luckily, plums rank low on the GI.
There are two groups of phenols found in plums, chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid. They are helpful in offsetting the damaging effects of free radicals. Studies reveal that the two components regulate the levels of glucose in the blood, which reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Try taking plums after your meal for best results.
Improves Bone Health
Plums in dried form, also known as prunes are helpful in restoration of the bone mass. Researches were conducted in Florida State and Oklahoma State University, in which two groups consisting of postmenopausal women were tested for bone density. One group consumed 100 gm of dried apples and the other consumed prunes in the same quantity. It was found that the group consuming prunes had higher bone density in the forearms and spine. These findings make the fruit effective for patients with osteoporosis. Plums contain rich source of potassium which is essential for making the bones strong.
Improves your Heart Health
The risk of high blood pressure and stroke can be prevented by consuming plums. A medium sized plum contains about 113 mg of potassium, a mineral beneficial for maintaining heart health. Vitamin C also known as the heart protecting vitamin is also abundantly found in plums. So to promote good heart health, consume plums regularly.
Plums contain beta-carotene and vitamin A, both of these nutrients are helpful in improving vision and also prevents macular degeneration.
The anti-oxidants found in prunes are very helpful in neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals on the memory. Take 3 to 4 prunes daily and get your memory boosted.
Boosts the Immune System
Plums contain high levels of vitamin C, which increases your body’s ability to fight various infections. It is effective for curing common cold. Vitamin C is also good for healthy skin.
Promotes regular bowel movement
The dietary fiber present in dried plums or prunes are very effective for regular bowel movement. One prune contains about 1 gram of fiber. To get the maximum benefits, you can soak some prunes in boiled water, let it cool and then store in the fridge in a covered container. The fruit is good for treating chronic constipation.
How to choose the plums?
Researchers at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria suggests that fully ripen plums should be consumed, which are almost at the point of spoilage. Such plums contain the highest levels of antioxidants.
If the ones you have bought are not ripe, you can keep them at room temperature for two to three days. Once they ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator.
Plum contains oxalates; people with the history of kidney stones should avoid taking plums. It is also believed that in some people these oxalates decrease calcium absorption.