Sweet and tart, wrapped in colorful skin and equally vivid pulp, plums are among the most interesting fruits on the planet, having been part of recorded history for close to 3,000 years.
Plums earned praise from Confucius, the famed 6th-century B.C. Chinese philosopher, and found a place in the “Shih Ching,” a collection of early Chinese poetry. The poem, “Ripe Plums Are Falling,” was part of the dialogue in the film “Crossing Delancey,” a 1988 romantic comedy.
Beyond their interesting history, plums have plenty to offer in nutritional benefits. Read on for a look into a wide range of plum nutrition facts.
The Basics in Plum Nutrition Facts
Before taking a deep dive into the nutritional benefits of plums, here’s a by-the-numbers list of what they contain in terms of dietary values. The figures listed here as plum nutrition facts are for one cup of plums:
Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Protein: 1.2 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Fiber: 2.3 grams
Vitamin C: 15.7 milligrams, 26% daily value (DV)
Vitamin K: 10.6 micrograms, 13% DV
Vitamin A: 569 International Units, 11% DV
Potassium: 259 milligrams, 7% DV
Copper: 0.1 milligrams, 5% DV
Manganese: 0.1 milligrams, 4% DV
The calorie load of plums is comprised mostly of carbohydrates, in the form of sugar. But despite their relatively high carbohydrate and sugar content, plums have a low glycemic index, meaning that they have less of an impact on blood sugar levels than sweet foods with higher glycemic levels.
The low glycemic index of plums can be good news for people dealing with diabetes, although people with this chronic condition should still take some care in consuming plums.
Before delving specifically into plum nutrition facts related to carbohydrates, it might be helpful to take a general look at the role of carbohydrates in the diet.
Carbohydrates take their name from the fact that they are comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. In addition to being present in fruits like plums, carbohydrates are found in vegetables and grains, as well as in milk and other dairy products.
Foods containing carbohydrates are converted into glucose — more commonly called “blood sugar” — and are either used immediately by muscles and other body components for energy or are stored in the body as fat for later bodily energy needs.
The carbohydrates in plums and other fruits are “complex” carbohydrates, meaning they are digested more slowly than the “simple” carbohydrates found in foods including white bread and rice. The body’s slow uptake of complex carbohydrates makes them the more steady energy source and the best type of carbohydrates.
Specifically, plums have a glycemic index — a measure of carbohydrates’ influence on blood sugar — of about 2 on a scale from 1 to 100. For an idea of exactly how low that is, consider that foods can have a glycemic index as high as 55 and still be considered low-glycemic foods.
Generally speaking, fruit — including the plum — is not a good source of protein. As noted in the list above of plum nutrition facts, one cup of plums, or a little less than 6 ounces of the fruit, contains slightly less than 2 grams of protein.
Adult males need about 60 to 90 grams of protein in their daily diet, while adult females need around 45 to 75 grams of protein each day. Even for children, a cup of plums won’t provide the recommended daily intake, as even young school-age kids need between 19 and 34 grams of protein.
Plums are a low-fat food, which means they won’t contribute much at all to the benefits of having fat in the diet, including energy storage and the absorption of Vitamins A, E, D, and K.
Fat is also an essential component of brain health, in that more than half of your brain is comprised of fat. Additionally, fat contributes to healthy lung functioning and is a critical component for healthy skin.
That said, the low-fat content of plums can be beneficial, particularly for people who need or want to lose some weight. Along that same line, some research into plum nutrition facts indicates that eating plums can make people feel fuller, potentially curbing any urge for unhealthy overeating.
Regular plums do have some fiber content, but for the greatest benefit, you should be eating dried plums — better known as prunes. A serving of six prunes contains 4 grams of fiber, and eating just a few more prunes — a half-cup, to be exact — will boost your fiber intake to 6.2 grams.
The recommended daily fiber intake for men is 38 grams, while the daily recommendation for women is 25 grams. Fiber provides a number of health benefits, including the reduction of risk factors for heart disease and stroke and improving the digestive process.
Are Plums a Superfood?
For years now, plum nutrition facts have included being touted as a “superfood,” defined as nutrient-rich foods with considerable benefits for human health and well-being. Experts, though, are careful to note that getting the full benefit of eating plums requires consuming the skin, which in many cases can be very tart.
For more information, check out our post on the Benefits of Eating Plums.
How to Incorporate Plums Into Your Diet
Other good news in terms of plum nutrition facts is that it is relatively easy to incorporate plums into your diet. During the day, when the urge to snack is too strong to ignore, having plums in your refrigerator at home or at work can make it easy to make a healthy choice.
There also are recipes for incorporating plum-based side dishes into your dinner menu, like this recipe for spicy roasted plums at Allrecipes.
It’s even possible to include plums in healthy dessert options, like this recipe from Taste of Home for a ginger plum tart with just 190 calories per serving.
The Deliciousness of Plum Nutrition Facts
We hope this post has taught you about the nutritional punch packed by plums, and that the plum nutrition facts included here have inspired you to include the versatile fruit in your diet.
For more about plums, from growing your own trees to freezing and canning the fruit, to cooking with it, visit our Plum Trees page for lots of blog posts and guides!