A plum is a fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera (peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc.) In the shoots having terminal bud and solitary side buds (not clustered), the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having groove running down one side and a smooth stone (or pit).
Mature plum fruit may have a dusty-white waxy coating that gives them a glaucoma appearance. This is an spicuticular wax coating and is known as “wax bloom”. Dried plum fruit are called “dried plums” or prunes, although, in many countries, prunes are a distinct type of dried plum having a wrinkled appearance (Li hung mui for instance).
They contain many vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants that may help reduce your risk of several chronic diseases.
You can consume plums, or prune, are known for improving several health conditions, including constipation and osteoporosis.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLUMS
■ THEY CONTAIN MANY NUTRIENTS
Plums and prunes are impressively high in nutrients. They contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants.
OVERVIEW OF THE NUTRITION PROFILES OF PLUMS AND PRUNES.
Plums are relatively low in calories, but contain a fair amount of important vitamins and minerals. One plum contains the following nutrients:
Additionally, one plum provides a small of B vitamins, phosphorus and magnesium.
By weight, prunes are higher in calories than plums. A 1-ounce (28-grams) serving of prunes contains the following:
●Carbs: 18 grams
●Fiber: 2 grams
●Sugars: 11 grams
●Vitamin A: 4% of the RDI
●Vitamin K: 21%of the RDI
●Vitamin B2: 3% of the RDI
●Vitamin B3: 3% of the RDI
●Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
●Potassium: 6% of the RDI
●Copper: 4% of the RDI
●Manganese: 4% of the RDI
●Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
●Phosphorus: 2% of the RDI
Overall, the vitamin and mineral content of one serving of plums and prunes differs slightly. Prunes contains more vitamin K than plums and are somewhat higher in B vitamins and minerals.
In addition, prunes are higher in calories, fiber and carbs than fresh plums.
The vitamin and mineral content of plums and prunes differs slightly, but both are packed with nutrients. Additionally, prunes contains more calories, fiber and carbs than fresh plums.
■ PRUNES AND PRUNE JUICE MAY RELIEVE CONSTIPATION
Prunes and prune juice are well known for their ability to relieve constipation.
This is partly due to the high amount of fiber in prunes. One prune provides 1 gram of fiber.
The fiber in prunes is mostly insoluble, which means it does not blend with water.
It plays a role in preventing constipation by adding bulk to your stool and may speed up the rate that waste moves through your digestive tract.
Additionally, prunes and prune juice contain sorbitol, which is sugar alcohol with natural laxative effects.
Eating prunes has been shown to be more effective at treating constipation than many other types of laxatives, such as psyllium, which is a type of fiber often used for constipation relief.
In one study, people who consumed 2 ounces (50 grams) of prunes every day for three weeks reported better stool consistency and frequency compared to a group that consumed psyllium.
It is important to keep in mind that eating too many prunes at once may lead to undesirable effects, such as diarrhea. To prevent this from occurring, it is best to stick with a serving of 1/4-1/2 cup (44-87 grams) per day.
If you are using prune juice, make sure it is 100% juice without added sugars. Additionally, limit your portion size to 4-8 ounces (118-237 ml) per day.
Prunes and prune juice may be effective for relieving constipation due to their content of fiber and sorbitol.
■ PLUMS AND PRUNES ARE IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Plums and prunes are rich in antioxidants, which are helpful for reducing inflammation and protecting your cells from damage by free radicals.
They are particularly high in polyphenols antioxidants, which have positive effects on bone health and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
In fact, some studies have shown that plums contain more than twice the amount of polyphenols antioxidants as other popular fruits, such as nectarines and peaches.
Many lab and animal studies have found the polyphenols in plums and prunes to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, as well as the ability to prevent damage to cells that often leads to disease.
In one test-tube study, the polyphenols in prunes significantly reduced inflammatory markers associated with joint and lung diseases.
Anthocyanin, a specific type of polyphenols, appears to be the most active antioxidants found in plums and prunes. They may have powerful health effects, including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Plums and prunes are high in polyphenols antioxidants, which may reduce inflammation and lower the risk of several chronic diseases.
■ THEY MAY HELP LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Plum s have properties that may help with blood sugar control.
Despite being fairly high in carbs, plums and prunes do not appear to cause a substantial rise in blood sugar levels after they’re eaten.
This is attributed to their potential to increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that plays a role in blood sugar regulation.
Additionally, the fiber in plums may be partly responsible for their effects on blood sugar. Fiber slows the rate at which your body absorbs carbs after meal, causing blood sugar to rise gradually, rather than spike.
What’s more, consuming fruits like plums and prunes is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
However, make sure to keep your portion sizes in check, since prunes are high in calories and easy to overeat. A responsible portion size is 1/4-1/2 cup (44-87 grams).
Plums and prunes are a good source of fiber and have been shown to reduce adiponectin levels. Both characteristic may benefit blood sugar control.
■ PLUMS AND PRUNES MAY BENEFIT HEART HEALTH
Consuming plums and prunes on a regular basis may have a protective effect on heart health.
They have been studied for their potential to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are major risk factors for heart disease.
In one study, subjects who drank prunes juice and ate three or six prunes each morning for eight weeks were compared to a group that drank only a glass of water on an empty stomach.
Those who consumed the prunes and prune juice had significantly lower blood pressure levels, total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol than the group that drank water. Another study found that men who had been diagnosed with high cholesterol had lower LDL cholesterol levels after consuming 12 prunes daily for eight weeks.
Several animal studies have produced similar results.
Generally, mice fed dried plum powder and plums juice appear to have lower cholesterol levels and increased “good” HDL cholesterol. However, these results cannot be generalized to humans.
The positive effects plums and prunes appear to have on heart disease risk factors are likely due to their high content of fiber, potassium and antioxidants.
While the results of these studies are promising, keep in mind that more human research is needed to support the heart-protective effects of plums and prunes.
Plums and prunes may promote heart health due to their potential role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
~ Plums and prunes are simple to add to your diet. They can be prepared in several different ways and tastes great in many types of recipes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Plums are a very nutritious fruit. Both plums and prunes are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Additionally, they have several characteristics that may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, cancer and heart.