Plum is a fruit of the Plum family and the genus Plum (Prunus). Cherry and peaches also belong to this family – they all grow on flowering trees, the fruits of which, on the one hand, have a smooth, smooth, rounded surface, and on the other hand, a hole where the stalk grows from. Plum is such an ancient plant that its traces were found in archaeological sites of the Neolithic era, as well as olives, grapes and figs. In fact, plums may have been one of the first fruits to be specially grown by humans due to its benefits to the human body and the absence of harm.
The plum trees that commercial companies plant today are typically up to 4.5 meters high. In the wild, this tree can be much taller. The fruit of a plum tree or plum usually has small dimensions – about 4-5 cm in diameter and 6-7 cm in height. The plum shape is oval. Plum has a soft and juicy pulp, inside of which there is a hard bone.
Plums come in a variety of colors and sizes — some of them are much harder than others, and colors range from yellow, white, green to red and purple. The taste of plums varies from sweet to tart. The plum fruit is juicy and tasty when eaten fresh. Plums can also be dried, used for cooking jam or jam and in other recipes. Plum juice can even be fermented in plum wine.
In this article we will consider the scientific facts about the benefits and harms of plums for human health, as well as touch on the beneficial properties of dried plums or prunes.
Plums and prunes
Dried plums (or prunes) are also sweet and juicy; plus, they contain several antioxidants and are considered highly antioxidant foods. Plums and prunes are known for their laxative effect, due to various compounds found in fruits, such as dietary fiber, sorbitol and isatin. Because it helps the digestive system, prunes and prune juice are often used to help regulate the digestive system.
A paper published in the 2013 Critical Review of Food and Nutrition Sciences said that prune snacking can increase satiety and reduce subsequent food intake, helping control obesity, diabetes, and related cardiovascular disease. Despite their sweet taste, prunes do not cause a significant increase in blood glucose and insulin levels after meals ( 1 ).
Prunes also affect the gastrointestinal tract, preventing constipation and possibly colon cancer. Bioactive compounds in prunes and their metabolites can also act as antibacterial agents in the gastrointestinal tract as well as in the urinary tract.
Nutrition Facts and Nutrients in Plums
Many of the benefits of plums are the result of their vitamin and mineral content. Plums not only help digestion, but also, as you know, improve the state of the cardiovascular system, strengthen the immune system, help in healthy skin, fight free radicals and lower cholesterol.
100 grams of fresh plum contains approximately:
Calories : 76 kcal
Fat : 0 gr.
Carbohydrates : 19 gr.
Dietary fiber : 2 gr.
Sugar : 16 gr.
Protein : 1 gr.
Vitamin C : 15 mg (26%)
Vitamin K : 10 mcg (13%)
Vitamin A : 569 IU (11%)
Thiamine : 0.01 mg (3%)
Riboflavin : 0.01 mg (3%)
Niacin : 0 7 mg (3%)
Vitamin E : 0.4 mg (2%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.01 mg (2%)
Folic acid: 8.3 μg (2%)
Pantothenic acid : 0.2 mg (2%) )
Potassium : 259 mg (7%)
Copper : 0.1 mg (5%)
Manganese : 0.1 mg (4%)
Magnesium : 11 mg (3%)
Phosphorus : 26 mg (3%)
Iron : 0.3 mg (2%)
The benefits of plums for the body
Plums have a huge amount of beneficial properties, it can be consumed with virtually no harm to health. Highlight 9 main proven healing properties of plums
1. There are a lot of antioxidants in the sink
One of the main advantages of plums is its powerful antioxidant properties. Plums contain vitamin C and phytonutrients such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, non-chlorogenic and chlorogenic acids. High antioxidant foods help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation.
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to move freely in the body, they cause so-called oxidative damage – or the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are very dangerous for body tissues and are associated with serious health conditions such as cancer and premature aging. The body uses antioxidants to prevent damage caused by oxygen.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that plums are rich in natural antioxidants and protect granulocytes from oxidative stress. The study was designed to test the antiradical activity of seven plum varieties, and their protective effects against oxidative stress were comparatively evaluated in white blood cells in mice ( 2 ).
Some other benefits of consuming plums and other antioxidant products are slower aging, healthy glowing skin, a lower risk of cancer, support detoxification from harmful compounds, and a longer life.
2. Plums are good for digestion.
Plums are a good source of dietary fiber and help regulate the digestive system. Dried plums or prunes, in particular, are more effective in treating digestive disorders such as constipation. University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that children who eat solid foods consume plums and other high-fiber foods twice a day to prevent constipation. This is due to the fact that plums have both soluble and insoluble fibers ( 3 ).
The soluble fiber that is contained in the plum pulp dissolves in the sticky mass. This mass attracts and accumulates in itself excess fats and sugars, bacteria and toxins, and helps to remove them from the body. Soluble fiber breaks down carbohydrates, lowers cholesterol and improves the cardiovascular system.
The insoluble fiber contained in the plum peel does not dissolve. Its hard components wash and clean the digestive tract, removing toxins and other materials accumulated in soluble fiber. Thus, the benefits of plums include one of the best natural remedies for treating constipation, which contributes to regular bowel function and stable blood sugar.
3. Plum helps lower cholesterol
Prunes can lower cholesterol naturally. The presence of soluble fiber in prunes can help lower the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol, preventing the absorption of “good” dietary cholesterol.
Prunes reduce cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body. These bile acids are compounds that are used to digest fat and are made in the liver from cholesterol. When they are removed from the body through the stool, the liver must create new bile acids – this increases the amount of cholesterol, which leads to lower cholesterol in circulation.
4. Plum improves the cardiovascular system
Flavonoids and phenolic components, such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin and catechins present in plums, have anti-inflammatory effects on various cells of the body. Anti-inflammatory foods help prevent health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.
Vitamin K present in plums is also good for the heart. It has been proven that this vitamin helps prevent calcification of the arteries, one of the leading causes of heart attacks. It works by transferring calcium from arteries and preventing it from forming in heavy, dangerous deposits of plaque. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries because it can retain calcium from your arterial pads and other body tissues, where it can cause damage.
Some studies show that vitamin K is a critical nutrient for reducing inflammation and protecting the cells that line the blood vessels, including veins and arteries. Consuming an adequate level of vitamin K is important to prevent high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart failure. A promising 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary intake of vitamin K is associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease or cancer in the Mediterranean population ( 4 ).
5. Plum supports brain health
Phytonutrients present in plums are one of the main advantages of plums, as they help reduce inflammation in neurological areas and improve the ability to learn and store information. This means that plums help prevent age-related neurodegenerative disorders, which serve as a natural cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
A 2015 study in the British Journal of Nutrition states that “aging, accompanied by a decrease in cognitive ability, may be the result of the long-term effects of oxidative stress on neurological processes.” The study was designed to monitor the effects of the polyphenol contained in plums on the cognitive function and location of protein expression in the brain of mice fed high-cholesterol foods for five months. The results showed that the concentration of cholesterol in the blood and brain was significantly higher in the group that did not consume plums in their diet. Researchers conclude that the inclusion of plums in a high cholesterol diet can improve some symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions ( 5 ).
6. Plums are good for skin health.
The vitamin C content of plums is an advantage for the skin and blood vessels. A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated more than 4,000 women aged 40-74 years and found that higher doses of vitamin C reduce the likelihood of wrinkles, dry skin and a natural slowdown in aging ( 6 ).
Vitamin C is used to form an important protein used for the skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It helps heal wounds, and it forms scar tissue. There is even some evidence that using a Vitamin C skin cream can reduce the amount and duration of skin redness after cosmetic skin treatments, such as removing wrinkles or scars.
7. Plums strengthen the immune system
The vitamin C content in plums is good for people whose immune system is weakened due to stress. Given that stress has become a common condition in our society, an adequate intake of vitamin products can be an ideal tool to maintain overall health.
A 2006 study published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism states that “Vitamin C helps maintain the redox integrity of cells and thereby protects them from reactive oxygen species that form during a respiratory burst and inflammatory response.” The results of the study, which test the effect of vitamin C and zinc on clinical conditions, showed that adequate intake of vitamin C and zinc improves symptoms and reduces the duration of respiratory infections, including the prevention of colds; in addition, vitamin C and zinc reduce morbidity and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrheal infections, especially in children in developing countries ( 7 ).
8. Plums are good for diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that causes high blood sugar. If the pancreas does not produce the proper amount of insulin, or if our cells cannot properly handle insulin, this leads to diabetes. Since glucose is not used properly, it accumulates in the bloodstream, which leads to a general indicator of diabetes – a high concentration of glucose in the blood or sugar.
Plums have a low glycemic index, and plum extracts help lower blood glucose and triglycerides in the body. The presence of flavonoids is another plus because they protect the body from insulin resistance. The presence of soluble fiber in plums also helps, which normalizes blood sugar and serves as a natural remedy for diabetes. Soluble fiber helps the stomach digest food more slowly, which affects blood sugar and has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity. This helps control diabetes.
9. Plums improve bone health
Polyphenols and potassium in plums are good for bones because they increase bone density and prevent bone loss. This can be very beneficial for people with osteoporosis. Potassium contained in plums is necessary to protect bones from weakening and a tendency to breaks or fractures. When people have low potassium levels, their bones lose their mineral composition due to exposure to acid acids, and they can become demineralized, weak and porous. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Osteoporosis is when small holes or weakened areas form in the bone, which can lead to fractures, pain, and even hump growth. This is usually observed in older women over the age of 50. The main causes of osteoporosis are aging, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. Plums and other high potassium foods are a natural treatment for osteoporosis, as they help strengthen bones and improve bone formation.
Plums: Possible harm, contraindications and side effects
- In general, plums are considered a safe fruit. However, you should always keep in mind some of the nuances before using them.
- People prone to diarrhea or in a state of acute diarrhea are not recommended to eat plums or prunes, as this can aggravate the painful condition.
- Plums can be harmful to people with diseased kidneys. Plums contain oxalates, which can cause kidney stones. For this reason, people with a history of kidney stones should consume plums very rarely. It is also believed that in some people, oxalates reduce calcium absorption, which leads to increased levels of calcium in the kidneys. Ultimately, this can lead to the formation of small or even large stones in the kidneys and bladder.