I love plums! The best things about them are that they are a low-calorie superfood that won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Also, plums are full of health benefits for your health.
“The branches of the aspen plum
To and fro they sway
How can I not think of her?
But home is far away”
10 Health Benefits of Plums For Your Health
1. Protects Your Heart
A medium fresh plum contains 113 mg of potassium that helps manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of a stroke.
In one study, subjects drank prune juice and ate prunes every morning on an empty stomach for eight weeks and were compared to a group that only drank a glass of water on an empty stomach every morning. Those that consumed the prunes and prune juice had significantly lower blood pressure levels, total cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol than the group that drank water.
2. Great for Relieving Constipation and Digestive Problems
One of the benefits of plums is that they are filled with dietary fiber and when they are dried and become a prune they are well known to help with constipation.
In a study with 51 adults suffering from constipation, they found that those that consumed prunes had constipation relief.
3. Protect Against Cancer and Cell Damage
Cleans up harmful free radicals with the anthocyanins, reddish-blue pigment in some plums. Anthocyanins are the most active antioxidants found in plums and prunes that may have positive health effects which include reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer according to studies.
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 and it still tastes sweet. A great health benefit of plums.
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
Another of the plum’s benefits is that they 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.
9. Dried Plums Beneficial for Weight Loss
100 overweight and obese people were divided into 2 groups; one group ate prunes every day, the other group did not. Over a 12-week period. Those who ate prunes lost 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) in weight and 2.5 cm (3/4 inch) off their waists. – Research at the University of Liverpool.
10. Dried Plums Helps Lower Blood Pressure
It was found that those who drank prune juice and ate prunes had lower blood pressure than those who did not according to a study in 2010.
- 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. Here is a list of some of them. Amounts per 1 cup sections, without skin (165g)
Calories 80.8 (338 kJ) 4%
From Carbohydrate 73.7 (309 kJ)
From Fat 2.1 (8.8 kJ)
From Protein 5.0 (20.9 kJ)
Amounts per 1 cup sections, with skin (165g)
Protein 1.5g 3%
Total Carbohydrate 20.7g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3.6g 15%
Vitamin A 408IU 8%
Vitamin C 97.5mg163%
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 0.2mg 1%
Thiamin 0.1mg 7%
Riboflavin 0.1mg 5%
Niacin 0.7mg 4%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg 7%
Folate 56.1mcg 14%
Pantothenic Acid 0.4mg 4%
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 14.8mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 38.0mg
Calcium 71.0mg 7%
Iron 0.2mg 1%
Read more at Plum Nutrition
- 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 as small as a cherry.
- Plums were on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.
History of Plums
- 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.
“You can’t evoke great spirits and eat plums at the same time.” – George William Russell
How to Select, Store and Prepare Plums
From May until September plums are at their best, but they are available year-round.
Look for fresh fruits featuring rich colour and that 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.
Plum benefits are best when they are fully ripened as they contain the most antioxidants. 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 fiber and contains some anti-oxidant pigments.
Dried plums in general known as prunes are added to muffins, puddings, and cakes.
Delicious Plum Recipes Full of Health Benefits
Plum Crumble – This plum crumble is delicious and very healthy too because there is no white sugar in it. Also, it is extremely easy to make dessert.
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. For me, it is also important that there are no unhealthy sugars and any healthy sugars be in small quantities. Being vegan is important to me. This is why I create recipes like the one. Enjoy!
Here are a couple of prune recipes:
Sweet Prune Fruit Pudding with Custard is Delicious – This prune fruit pudding made with the fruit compote is so delicious. What makes this pudding so special is being topped with the vegan custard. Also, what I really like about it is that there is no sugar added.
Yummy Prune Jam is Sugar-Free with Apples and Cinnamon – This prune jam was so easy to make. Adding the cinnamon made it extra delicious. I did add a little stevia to make it taste more like a jam. This recipe makes two small jars.
Prune Powerballs are Yummy and Full of Energy – These prune power balls rolled in coconut have a bit of history. Back in the hippy days, they were the famous ‘Bliss Balls’ that we all made very frequently. We made them with what we now call healthy superfoods.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegan foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods you should have in your diet, and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.