Did you know that plums are not only delicious, but that there are some amazing health benefits of eating plums?
You may not be aware of what a drupe is, but if you’re interested in plums, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the term. Essentially, a drupe refers to any fruit that contains seeds that are surrounded by pits. This is why plums are also referred to as stone fruits.
Plums are actually from the same family as apricots, peaches, and nectarines, but that’s where the similarities end. In fact, plums offer much more variety than any of the other stone-fruits in their family tree. When it comes to size and color, plums can be purple, yellow, orange, and red and can be large or small.
Thousands of years ago, plums were first grown in China. From there, they were eventually brought to Japan, the US and certain areas of Europe. Flash forward to today and there are over 2,000 plum varieties grown throughout the globe.
Now that you know a bit of history behind plums, let’s dive into their health benefits of eating plums (spoiler alert: there’s a lot!).
Health Benefits of Eating Plums
The vitamin C found in plums helps your body build muscle, form blood vessels, recover, and is beneficial for your eyes as well. Here are other health benefits associated with plums:
1. Can Lower Blood Pressure
According to a study in 2010, participants who drank prune juice and ate prunes had lower pressure than the prune less control group.
2. Protection Against Cell Damage/Cancer
Anthocyanins — which is the reddish-blue pigment in plums — can help to remove harmful free radicals. This, in turn, helps to protect your body from cancer and cell damage.
3. Can be Ideal For Weight Loss
Looking to drop some weight and slim down your waistline? Researchers at the University of Liverpool divided 100 overweight subjects into two groups; one group ate prunes every day over a 12 week period, and the control group did not. On average, those in the prune group lost 4.4 lbs and ¾ inch off their waistline.
4. Low Calories
At 30 calories, a small plum isn’t just a great snack, it also helps satisfy cravings for sweets. With this in mind, plums can be ideal for those who are on a diet or want to cut back on their calorie intake.
5. Great For Bone Health
According to a study — conducted by Oklahoma State and Florida State Universities Research — subjects who ate prunes and took vitamin D and calcium supplements had significantly improved bone density in their spine and forearms than the group who consumed dried apples and took the same supplements.
6. Effective for Constipation Relief
Plums are filled with dietary fiber and when dried, the resulting prunes are well known to aid in constipation relief. In fact, a recent study found that a group of 51 people (all adults) who were all dealing with constipation saw relief from their symptoms after eating plums.
7. Improves Memory & Brain Health
University of Harvard Health Research has shown antioxidants can slow the development of Alzheimer’s. Chock full of antioxidants, plums also contain anthocyanin and quercetin, both beneficial in supporting a healthy brain.
8. Boosts Heart Health
With 113 mg of potassium packed into a medium fresh plum, adding them into your diet is a great way to reduce the risk of stroke and manage high blood pressure.
9. Can Help Prevent Diabetes
According to health experts, the low glycaemic index found in plums can help control blood sugar, leading to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
10. Destroy Breast Cancer Cells
Early studies indicate that treating cancer cells with plum extract may succeed in killing the aggressive cancer cells while leaving the surrounding healthy cells unharmed by the treatment.
Nutritional Facts About Plums
Plums are low in calories (30g per 100g), primarily contain carbohydrates (9.6g per 100g), have just 0.1g fat, and deliver .6g protein per 100g.
They are also filled with a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals that assist with blood clotting, stress management, fatigue reduction, the formation of healthy red blood cells, and overall support of the immune system.
High in Sugar
Plums are naturally high in fruit sugars which the body processes quickly for energy, but the process can be slowed down if it is eaten with protein which helps slow the release of sugars.
Plums adorn farmer’s markets and stores from May to October, with peak season in July and August. Plums that have a slight ‘give’ when gently squeezed are perfect for instant eating. To slow the ripening process, refrigerate your plums and enjoy their ripeness a little longer.
Unable to find perfectly ripe plums? Look for plumbs that aren’t quite ready to eat, store them in a paper bag at room temperature for up to three days, and enjoy.
Plums freeze well, but consider pitting them before freezing.
Raw plums are wonderful in a variety of recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add diced plums into salads for a fruity pop
- Riff on your favorite guacamole recipe and add plums into the mix
- Add slices to your water infuser
- Mix with granola to top off your morning yogurt
- Blend into smoothies
Is it Possible to be Allergic to Plums?
Along with celery and apples, plums fall into the birch pollen category of allergies, making it possible to have an allergic reaction that causes itching and swelling of the mouth or throat.
Allergy symptoms normally develop rapidly, and you should consult with your physician if you experience an adverse reaction to plums. In the event of a severe anaphylaxis reaction, immediately call for an ambulance and medical assistance.
Buying The Ripest Plums
Buy plums in season, and check for ripeness. They should feel heavy with a slight give in the skin when lightly pressed. Check the skin for any blemishes or bruising. If plums are too soft, they are overripe.