Veggies and Fruit

A Guide to Plum and its Health Benefits

Plum

Plum is a fruit produced on trees in the Prunus genus, which happens to be a member of the rose family. Native to China, Europe, and the Americas, the fruit is classified as a drupe, which means that it has a pit in the center similar to apricot and peach. Plums vary in terms of size, color, and shape. They can be classified into two categories: fairly round Japanese plums or somewhat European plums.

European plums are sold as sugar plum, Italian prunes or plum, French prune, or simply ‘fresh prune.’ On the other hand, Japanese plums can be divided into black, red, or yellow plums. Plums offer a wide variety of health benefits. Let us take a look into what makes them both delicious and nutritional.

Things to consider when buying plums

Generally, plums can be abundantly found between May to October. However, it depends on the location and species of plums. Furthermore, the period of availability may also differ depending on imports and harvesting schedules. In some cases, they may also be available all year-round. Since they are high in demand, they are found in almost all supermarkets, and if you have a local farm, you can pick them directly from the source. When buying plums, look for smooth, taut skin and firm flesh. Furthermore, it shall also have a sweet scent and a waxy light coating on the skin, highlighting ripeness. Stay away from plums with gashes or bruises as they can rot easily and negatively affect others it is stored with.

 How to store plums?

Plums need to be refrigerated as soon as they are purchased to prevent them from rotting and over-ripening. Once you have refrigerated them, they will last not more than 3-5 days. Furthermore, unripe plums can be left open at room temperature for 1-2 days. It is advised that you wrap them in a closed paper bag and trap the ethylene, which will speed up the process. Moreover, ethylene can rot other stored fresh produce as well; therefore, it is suggested that you keep them away from other fruits and vegetables.

 How to grow plums?

There are three types of plus: Japanese, American, and European. Plum trees are normally adaptable to a wide range of climates. You can check with your local nursery to find out the best type for your garden. Plums require a good six to eight hours of sunlight each day along with well-drained soil. Therefore, you will need to form a thick layer of organic soil conditioner. Clean the roots of the plums and soak them in water for an hour or two before planting. Once you have planted the plum, water the soil. Plums require regular watering and fertilizers in early spring and midsummer. When the time comes to pick the plums, apply gentle pressure to determine if they are ripe. The flesh should soften upon pressing.

Health Benefits

 Helps relieve constipation

Both prunes and prune juice are widely known for helping relieve constipation. This is partly because prunes contain a high amount of fiber. One prune provides 1 gram of fiber. In addition to that, the fiber found in prunes is insoluble, which means that it does not blend with water. It helps prevent or relieve constipation by adding bulk to your stool and speeding up the rate as well as the waste travels through your digestive tract.

Furthermore, prunes and prune juice consist of sorbitol, which is sugar alcohol featuring natural laxative effects. It has been found that the consumption of prunes is more effective when it comes to relieving constipation that many other laxatives out there, such as psyllium, which is a fiber type, commonly used for the treatment of constipation.

A study conducted on people found that those who consumed 2 ounces of prunes daily for two weeks had a better stool consistency than the group that consumed psyllium. However, it should be mentioned that excess consumption of prunes might lead to undesirable effects such as diarrhea. Therefore, it is suggested that a balanced amount is consumed, which is anywhere between 44-87 grams per day. Moreover, if you are using it to make juice, make sure that it is 100% original without any added sugars.

 Plums are rich in antioxidants

Plums are rich in antioxidants, which mean that they help with inflammation and protect your cells against any kind of damage. Polyphenol antioxidant is the most prominent substance found in plums that have a positive effect on bones and helps reduce the chances of diabetes and heart disease.

Some studies have suggested that plums contain at least twice the number of polyphenol antioxidants than other popular fruits such as peaches and nectarines. Many studies conducted in labs and on animals have suggested that polyphenols present in plums and prunes have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and protect the cells against damage, which often leads to disease. One test-tube study conducted found that polyphenol played a crucial role in reducing the inflammatory markers related to lung and joint diseases. Anthocyanins are a particular type of polyphenol that happens to be the most effective found in plums and prunes. These antioxidants reduce the probability of cancer and heart-related diseases.

 Helps lower blood sugar level

Plums consist of properties that help with blood sugar control. Although they are high in carbs as well, plums and prunes do not appear to cause a substantial rise in blood sugar levels. This is mainly because plums and prunes increase adiponectin levels, a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level.

Furthermore, the fiber found in plums may as well be responsible for blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the rate at which your body absorbs carbs, which causes the blood sugar levels to rise gradually rather than a spike. In addition to that, the consumption of prunes and plums is also related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, then again, make sure that you do not overeat them.

 Prunes/Prunes promote bone health

Prunes may help bones improve their health. Several studies conducted on prunes have come forward, stating that prune consumption reduces the risk of debilitating bone conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis identified by low bone density. Not only prunes help with preventing bone loss, but it has also been found that they may also recover bone loss occurred already.

Additionally, studies have suggested that the consumption of prunes helps increase the levels of some hormones that encourage bone formation. There are many nutrients and vitamins featured in prunes that protect the bones such as phosphorus, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. Although all of these findings are true, it needs to be mentioned that the results were derived by studies conducted on animals and test-tube. However, minimal research conducted on humans suggests that plums and prunes have promising results.

 Plums and Prunes may benefit heart health

The consumption of plums and prunes may have a positive effect on heart health. They have undergone extensive researches for the researchers to state that plums reduce high blood pressure along with cholesterol levels, which are major factors putting the heart at risk. A study was conducted in which one group drank prune juice and ate three to six prunes each morning for eight weeks as compared to the controlled group that only drank water on an empty stomach. It was observed that those who drank and ate plums and prunes had significantly lower blood pressure levels than the group that only drank water.

Several studies conducted on animals suggested the same results. The positive effects of plums and prunes on heart disease are mainly due to high fiber content, antioxidants, and potassium.

 Helps in Weight loss and obesity

Since plums contain high amounts of fiber, it significantly help with weight loss as it makes you feel full for a long time. This, as a result, decreases the urge to eat more. People suffering from diabetes can consider eating plums, as it is an effective treatment for obesity and other relevant complications. The presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds present in plums help fight metabolic syndrome and promotes weight loss.

 Good for the nervous system

Our brain consists of nerves and cells. Plums and its consumption are good for the normal growth of brain cells. Furthermore, plums encourage the production of mood influencing hormones as well. It contains vitamin B6, which plays an important role in maintaining the nervous system by aiding with the transmission of nerve signals.

 Helps with anxiety

Anxiety and depression are some of the worst diseases known to mankind. These diseases take years to cure and have undesirable effects. A person suffering from anxiety experiences high blood pressure, sweating, and fear, etc. Although therapies are there to help the patients overcome the problem, plums have a way to provide relief from anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. This is mainly due to the presence of chlorogenic acid present in plums.

 Improves digestive health

Your gut plays an important role in how you feel throughout the day. If there is even the slightest problem with it, you might experience constipation and mood swings, etc. Therefore, it is a vital organ when it comes to your overall health. Prunes help your digestive system in several ways through dietary fiber, polyphenols/phytonutrients, and sorbitol. As already mentioned, prunes are known to make an exit and passage of stools easy. Furthermore, it benefits the gut bacteria, which is responsible for breaking down food and helping the digestive system absorb them.

Product
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Where to Buy

Kirkland Signatures Dried Plums Pitted Prunes, 3.5 Pounds (Family Bundle)

Plum Organics Stage 1 Organic Baby Food, Prune Puree, 3.5 Ounce Pouch (Pack of 12)

Plum Organics Stage 2, Organic Baby Food, Pear, Spinach and Pea, 4 Ounce pouches (Pack of 12)

 

Recommended Products

Signature’s Dried Plums

Dried plums by Signature are Amazon’s bestsellers. These plums are grown in California, which happens to be a perfect location for this fruit’s growth. Furthermore, it contains a rich amount of fiber and carbohydrates, an excellent source for your diabetic meal plans. Consumers have penned down their positive reviews and highlighted the fact that it helps with constipation and blood sugar levels, making it a perfect all in one fruit.

PlumOrganics

Plums by Plum Organics has certified organic and non-GMO project verified. It is both unsweetened and unsalted. Furthermore, it features a non-BPA packing that is safe for kids to touch. You can feed this to your baby as well, without any need to worry about side-effects. It is perfectly healthy and gone through strict quality measures to ensure maximum nutrition is provided. Plum Organics specializes in making food for babies and focuses on healthy eating. Therefore, this product is probably the best you can buy for your kid.

Plum Organics Baby Food

Plum organics introduces another bestseller on Amazon, and this time it packs pear, spinach, and pea. These come in 4-ounce pouches that are extremely powerful nutrition-wise. You can mix it with baby oatmeal to make it even more nutritious. It is neither too sweet nor sour, instead of a good balance. Another good thing about these products is that they come packed in reusable pouches. However, you need to be careful about expiration dates. You shall normally get around 2.5 mounts to consume them, which may be short, but the idea is to consume them while they are fresh.

Final Word

The bottom line is that plums are an exceptional source of nutrition as it provides an excellent source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. Furthermore, the abundance of flavonoids, polyphenols, and organic acids provide numerous health benefits. These help reduce the probability of heart diseases, low bone density, cancer, and many other problems.. Best of all, even diabetic patients can enjoy them while not worrying about their blood sugar levels. Therefore, add them to your daily meals if you wish to gain the most benefits.

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