Plums fruits are a type of drupe because they have a stone in the middle that is surrounded by soft, sweet or tart flesh. They are extremely nutritious and can be consumed fresh or dried.
When dried they are referred to as prunes and offer many of the same nutritional benefits. They are high-fibre, low-calorie, and rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. Plums and prunes have potassium, copper, manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and vitamin K and are a rich source of energy in the form of the sugars fructose and glucose. Prunes contain more vitamin K than plums as well as have higher levels of B vitamins.
Benefits of plums and prunes
Anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties
They are rich in antioxidants which prevent the onset of chronic illnesses such as cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease. Polyphenols in them have anti-inflammatory properties which in one study helped reduced the inflammation markers associated with joint and lung disease. Inflammation is linked to a wide range of illnesses including heart disease and high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and even depression.
Benefit heart health
Plums and prunes have a protective effect on the heart. They reduce the potential of high blood pressure and lower total cholesterol and bad “LDL” cholesterol levels. This is because of their high fibre content, potassium, and the presence of antioxidants.
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May aid in diabetes management
They have properties that may help with blood sugar control. Their high fibre content slows the rate at which the body absorbs carbs which prevents sugar spikes after meals. In fact, eating fruits like plums and prunes is linked to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. They have a high sugar content as well, so it is recommended that one be mindful of their serving, limiting it to approximately 4-5 prunes.
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Promotes bone health
Studies have linked plums and prunes consumption to a reduced risk of debilitating bone conditions like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and brittle so that even a small fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture.
Plums and prunes prevent and reverse bone loss as well as help increase bone mass. Consuming them may increase the levels of certain hormones that are involved in bone formation. Vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium also found in the fruits have bone-protective effects.
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Digestive aid and constipation relief
They contain a good amount of dietary fibre that bulks up stool and makes bowel movements easier. Prune juice is especially beneficial for treating digestive disorders and as a natural way to get relief from constipation. It contains sorbitol which has laxative properties.
In one study, people who consumed 50 grams of prunes daily for three weeks reported better stool consistency and frequency. Eating too many however may lead to diarrhoea. Stick to approximately 50-87 grams daily.
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Reduction in anxiety
Having a low level of antioxidants has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of having anxiety attacks. Adding plums and prunes to your diet may help keep anxiety attacks at bay.
Manage weight and regulate appetite
They are rich in fibre which keeps one fuller for longer. This decreases the desire to and the likelihood of reaching for snacks between meals and prevents overeating. They are in this way a great way to naturally regulate appetite and may aid in weight loss.
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The most common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are macular degeneration, dry eyes, and night blindness. Plums and prunes have vitamin A which keeps vision sharp and reduces the risks of vision-related disorders. The carotene in them boosts overall eye health and prevents age-related macular degeneration.
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Plums and prunes are rich in fibre and antioxidants which make them an ideal snack for relieving cramps. They show antispasmodic properties and are good for reducing PMS symptoms.
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The antioxidants and vitamin C in plums and prunes boost the immune system keeping diseases and infections at bay.
Plums come in a variety of colours including black, purple, red, and yellow. They are easy to add to your diet and can be eaten as whole fruits, added to salads and sauces, pickled, caramelized, or added to cakes. Just be careful not to eat too much because of the high sugar content and laxative properties.
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