I love plums!  The best things about them are that plums are a low-calorie powerfood that won’t spike your blood sugar levels and are full of health benefits.

History:

  • Plums have been written about as early as 479 B.C.
  • The plum tree was significant in Chinese mythology.  It was often carved on jade and was associated with wisdom.
  • Japanese plums originated in China. Japanese plums were introduced to the U.S. in the late 19th century.
  • It is thought that plums were one of the first fruits domesticated by humans.
  • Pompey the Great in 65 B.C. introduced plums to Rome, and Alexander the Great eventually brought them to the Mediterranean.

“The branches of the aspen plum
To and fro they sway
How can I not think of her?
But home is far away”

Confucius

8 Plum Health Benefits:

1.  Protects your heart.
A medium fresh plum contains 113 mg of potassium that helps manage high blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke.

2.  Great for Relieving constipation and digestive problems.
Filled with dietary fiber.

3.  Protect against cancer and cell damage.
Cleans up harmful free radicals with the anthocyanins, reddish-blue pigment in some plums.

bone health

Plums for bone health.

4. Improves bone health.
In a study one group ate prunes, the other group ate dried apples and both took calcium and vitamin D supplements. The prune group had substantially higher bone mineral density in the spine and forearms.  (Florida State and Oklahoma State universities Research.)

5.  Helps to Prevent diabetes.
Plums have a low glycaemic index so eating plums can help you control your blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to the Dieticians of Canada.

6.  Low in Calories.
This is very beneficial when dieting. A small plum contains only 30 calories.

7.  Plums destroy breast cancer cells.
Plum extracts can kill breast cancer cells in their most aggressive forms; the surrounding healthy cells were not harmed by the treatment. (ScienceDaily.com)

8.  Improves brain memory.
Plums are full of antioxidants that have been shown to slow the development of Alzheimer’s. (The University of Harvard Health Research.)  They also contain anthocyanin and quercetin, beneficial for preventing brain cell-breakdown.

“You can’t evoke great spirits and eat plums at the same time.” – George William Russell

Plum blossoms flower in winter when the snow is still on the ground, & represent strength and endurance.

Plum blossoms flower in winter when the snow is still on the ground, & represent strength and endurance.

Plum Trivia:

  • Plums are the second most cultivated fruit in the world.
  • More than one hundred varieties of plum stones were found on Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.
  • In Japan, February is the month for plums; there are plum blossoms everywhere.
  • Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) were thought by the samurai to combat fatigue.
  • Plum trees are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • The Chinese believe plums symbolize good fortune.
  • There are more than 140 varieties of plum sold in the United States.
  • At least 2,300 people in the U.S. are listed on whitepages.com with the last name “Plum.”
  • Plums can be as large as a baseball or a small as a cherry.
  • Plums were on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.
Plums are a good weight loss product since they are low in calories and high in nutrition.

Plums are a good weight loss product since they are low in calories and high in nutrition.

Plum Nutrition:

  • Plums only have 46 calories per 100 g, contain no saturated fats and are full of minerals and vitamins.
  • Plums and prunes help increase the absorption of iron into the body, which may be due to the fact that they are a good source of vitamin C. This has been documented in published research.

There are more than 80 nutrients found in plums. Read more at Plum Nutrition

Plum Cautions:
Plums and Oxalates:  For those with a history of kidney stones are advised to avoid eating plums. For more information about: Oxalic Acid

How to Select, Store and Prepare:

From May until September plums are at their best, but they are available year round.

Look for fresh fruits featuring rich colour and have a slight whitish covering; this means they have not been over handled. A ripe plum will yield to gentle pressure and have a sweet aroma. Do not buy plums that are soft, or with bruises. Also, avoid excessively hard plums as they are immature and will not develop a good taste.

You can ripen slightly hard mature plums at room temperature. Best to eat ripe ones or keep them in the refrigerator till eating.  Before eating take them out of the refrigerator to get to room temperature to enjoy their rich flavour.

Keep unripe plums in a fruit bowl at room temperature. They do ripen quickly, so keep an eye on them in the next day or two to make sure they do not over ripen. You can freeze plums but for best taste remove their stone pits first.

Fully ripened plums contain the most antioxidants and in fact when the fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase. – University of Innsbruck in Austria Research.

Always wash plums in cold running water just before eating and eat fresh ripe plums with skin.  The skin provides fibre and contains some anti-oxidant pigments.

Dried plums in general known as prunes are added to muffins, puddings and cakes.

Plum Recipes

plumb crumble                                 Plum Crumble

Plum Crumble is so delicious and extremely easy to make.

Fruit Compote can be made with a mixture of dried fruit including prunes.

Sweet Plum Cake: I love this healthy gluten free, dairy free and egg free cake!

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Copyright © Diana Herrington http://www.realfoodforlife.com