Health and Nutritional Benefits of Plums

Dr. Purushothaman
November 24, 2019

Health comes from following a good lifestyle and also by eating healthy. Including fruits to your daily diet does a lot of change to your health and makes you energetic, rather than eating junk food. Plums belong to the Rosaceae family of the genus Prunus. It is a delicious fruit with the juiciness in every bite that makes it a fruit consumed by the majority of the people. Fruits like damson, nectarine and almonds belong to the Prunus genus.
Plums grow on small trees or large shrubs, and are usually cultivated in abundance in the United States, China, Japan and Europe. Plum trees usually bear many berries which are almost of the same size. The season for plums starts from May and ends in September.

Plum looks like an average tomato with a diameter of 6 cm. The flesh of the fruit can vary from cream color light blue, crimson or even light green. Like the other members of the drupe fruits, plums also have a single seed in the middle with a hard pit. The seeds of plum fruit are not edible. The fruit is sweet and has a tart taste. It has a good aroma too. Some of the varieties of plums are damson, cherry, plum and blackthorn plum.

Some of the health benefits of the fruit

  • The fruit has low calories with no saturated fats. Plums have a lot of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and compounds that are health promoting.
  • Plums that are fresh contain good amount of B-Carotene and Vitamin A. With Vitamin A comes good eyesight and a healthy maintenance of mucosa as well as skin. When we consume fruits that are full of Vitamin A, we are able to prevent lung as well as oral cavity cancer.
  • Plums have dietary fiber, isatin and sorbitol that are some of the important health benefiting compounds. These help in providing the functioning of a smooth digestive system. This in turn gives relief to problems like constipation.
  • Vitamin C is found in abundance in Plums. When we consume food rich with vitamin C, our body has the power to fight against all kinds of infections. It also acts as an anti inflammatory agent and helps in cleaning the harmful free radicals from the body.
  • Potassium, iron and fluoride are found in large numbers in plums. The formation of red blood cells is boosted when there is a high level of iron content in the blood. Our cells and body fluids contain Potassium that is very essential for the control of blood pressure and also in controlling the heart rate.
  • The sources of B-complex Vitamins like Vitamin B-6, niacin and pantothenic acid are present in plums. The role of these vitamins is that they help in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Plums also have a small amount of Vitamin K in them. It is very essential for the body as it helps in the process of clotting in blood vessels and also in the metabolism of the bones. Moreover, Vitamin K is very important for controlling the damage of the nerves in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Storage and Selection

Plums are available in stores all through the year. The peak of plum season is from May to September. While picking plums from stores, look out for those that look fresh and have rich color. Do not pick the ones which are soft and that have bruises on the skin. Plums when ripe have a sweet aroma. If you get hard mature plums, you need to keep them in room temperature so that it can ripen very quickly. Dry plums are also good to be stored at room temperature.

Preparing and Serving Plums

Plums have to be washed under running cold water before consumption. It can be consumed with its skin on. Cut the fruit until we reach the hard seed. The seed can be removed and skin can be peeled if you do not like the skin. It can be eaten raw or baked or stewed.
Add plums to salads for better taste. It can be used to make jellies, desserts, jams and pies. Prunes or dried plums add to cakes, ice creams and muffins.
Oxalic acid is found in plums can crystallize and form oxalate stones in the urinary tract for some people. Hence those who are prone to have oxalate urinary tract stones need to avoid eating plums. Drinking good amount of water can help these people stay fit even after consuming plums.

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