Plums are a delicious stone-fruit that form part of the same family as peaches, cherries, and almonds.
They come in a variety of sizes and colors, ranging from purple, red, yellow, green, and white, and have a sweet to tart taste.
They can be eaten fresh or dried and can be made into jams, jellies, fruity wine or added to other recipes. They are packed with fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which make them great for every system in your body.
Just one cup of chopped plum meets 26% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, 13% of Vitamin K, and 11% of Vitamin A, which helps to improve immunity, cardiovascular health, eye function, digestive health, and more!
Here are 10 Health Benefits of Plums:
1. Increases Cardiovascular Health
Plums contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds, such as quercetin, catechins, anthocyanins, and chlorogenic acids, which help to lower the amount of inflammation in the body. This helps to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension and keeps arteries and veins functioning properly.
Plums also offer plenty of Vitamin K, which a 2014 study showed to reduce the amount of plaque and calcium build-up in the cardiovascular system, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and heart failure.
2. Improves Digestion
Plums have both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to keep bowel movements regular and the digestive system healthy. The insoluble fiber found in the skin scrubs the digestive tract lining, removing toxins, mucoid plaque, and any other build-up.
Dried plums are known as prunes, which are commonly regarded as nature’s best cure for constipation. The University of Maryland even recommends that babies who start eating solid food should be given plums or prunes twice a day to help with digestion.
3. Boosts the Immune System
Humans are not able to synthesize Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) due to the lack of an enzyme known as gluconolactone oxidase, which means that it must be supplemented through fruits, vegetables, and tablets.
Eating more plums will increase the amount of ascorbic acid in the diet, which helps to reduce stress, increase immunity, fight off colds and flu, and can even reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
4. Strengthens Teeth and Bones
The potassium and polyphenols that plums offer help to increase bone density, which helps to prevent breaks and fractures. It also helps to reduce the symptoms of osteoporosis by keeping the bones mineralized, solid, and in a healthy condition.
Plums also contain calcium, which keeps teeth, nails, hair, and bones strong and healthy. They are also an alkalizing fruit, which means that it protects your skeletal system from harmful acids formed from stress and acidic foods, such as wheat, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.
5. Supports Weight Loss
Plums contain bioactive compounds and antioxidants that help to fight metabolic syndrome, which reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The soluble and insoluble fiber helps to keep bowel movements regular and promotes the absorption of nutrients, which has been shown to encourage fat loss.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool conducted a study in 2014 on the weight loss effects of plums and found that participants who included plums/prunes in their diet lost an average of 2 kilograms over a 12-week period.
Dr. Jo Harrold, a psychologist and lead researcher of the study, said: “These are the first data to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming plums and prunes as part of a weight management diet. Indeed- in the long term they may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss.”
6. Supports Brain Function
The phytonutrients in plums help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, which helps to improve the ability to learn and retain information.
Plums have been found to serve as natural supplements to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition in 2015 showed that the regular intake of plums helped to reduce oxidative stress and improve cognitive function due to the high level of polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in them.
Plums are considered one of the top antioxidant food sources, containing lutein, chlorogenic acid, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin, which helps to reduce oxidative stress to cells in the body.
Free radicals and oxidative stress are caused by environmental pollutants, alcohol, smoking, and the consumption of unhealthy fats and have been linked to causing multiple diseases, such as cancer. By eating more plums, free radical damage can be reduced in the body, which helps to keep cells healthy.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the high level of antioxidants in plums helped to slow aging, reduce the risk of cancer, and increase lifespan.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
The soluble fiber present in the flesh of plums helps to reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol and reduces the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the cardiovascular system.
Plums and prunes also help to lower the level of bile acids in the body, which helps the liver to function more efficiently, resulting in the reduction of cholesterol.
9. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Plums contain a compound known as epicatechin, which studies have strongly associated with the reduction in the formation and development of cancer cells.
The phytonutrients and antioxidants have also been shown to fight breast cancer cells while boosting the health of normal cells and inhibits the growth of any abnormal tissue in the body.
10. Excellent for Eyes
Plums contain plenty of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which helps to maintain good eyesight and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
The carotenoids in plums further help to reduce UV damage to the eyes, which helps to keep them free from oxidative damage.