Plum benefits have a lot. Plums are bursting with nutrients, dietary fibers, and antioxidants. The health benefits of plums are mainly due to their rich nutrient profile. They can boost memory and fight inflammation as they contain phenols like anthocyanins. Plums have been proven to treat constipation, help manage diabetes, and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Plum Benefits for Health
Plums Help Treat Constipation
Plums are rich in fiber and help treat constipation. The phenolic compounds in plums also offer laxative effects. Prunes (the dried versions of plums) also improve stool frequency and consistency, thereby boosting gastrointestinal function. Regular intake of prunes can improve stool consistency better than psyllium (a plantain, the seeds of which are used as a laxative).
Specific carotenoids and polyphenols in plums may also stimulate gastrointestinal digestion. However, studies stress the need for further research in this aspect.
Aid Diabetes Treatment
The various bioactive compounds in plums are at play here. These are sorbitol, quinic acid, chlorogenic acids, vitamin K1, copper, potassium, and boron. These nutrients work synergistically and help cut the risk of diabetes. Plums also increase serum levels of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. The fiber in plums can also help – it slows down the rate at which your body absorbs carbs.
Plums can also increase insulin sensitivity – thereby aiding diabetes treatment. The phenolic compounds in plums can be attributed to these effects. Snacking on dried plums can also increase satiety and reduce the risk of diabetes and other serious diseases. Just be careful to limit the serving to 4-5 prunes as they are sugar-dense as well. It is best to complement with some protein, such as a small handful of nuts.
May Help Prevent Cancer
A study found that the fiber and polyphenols in dried plums could help alter colorectal cancer risk factors. In other lab tests, plum extracts managed to kill even the most aggressive forms of breast cancer cells. More interestingly, the normal healthy cells remained unaffected. This effect was linked to two compounds in plums – chlorogenic and neo-chlorogenic acids. Though these acids are quite common in fruits, plums seem to contain them at surprisingly high levels.
Can Protect The Heart
Prunes (or plums) can control hypertension, thereby protecting the heart. In a study, individuals who consumed prune juice or prunes had lower blood pressure levels. These individuals also had lower levels of bad cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Another study found that regular intake of prunes could lower cholesterol levels. In the study, men diagnosed with high cholesterol were given 12 prunes to eat over eight weeks. Post the trial, they saw an improvement in their blood cholesterol levels. Eating dried plums can also slow down the development of atherosclerosis.
Promote Bone Health
Prune intake is associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Plum is considered the most effective fruit for preventing and reversing bone loss. Dried plums also increase bone mass density. Some research speculates that this effect could be due to the presence of rutin (a bioactive compound) in plums. But more research is needed – as to why exactly plums promote bone health.
Another reason plums might be good for the bones is their vitamin K content. This nutrient helps improve calcium balance in the body, thereby boosting bone health. Dried plums have a higher vitamin K content and can be far more beneficial in this regard.
Dried plums can also serve as an ideal food for preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women. Plums also contain certain phytonutrients that fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can make the bones porous and easily prone to breakage, often contributing to osteoporosis.
Promote Cognitive Health
Studies show that the polyphenols in Oriental plums can improve cognitive function and reduce brain cholesterol levels. This can also mean a reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease.
In rat studies, consumption of plum juice proved to be effective in mitigating cognitive deficits related to aging. Similar effects were not observed with dried plum powder, though. The chlorogenic acid in plums (and prunes) can also help reduce anxiety.
May Boost Immunity
A study done on poultry showed that plums might have immune-enhancing properties. Chickens fed with plums in their diets showed greater recovery from parasitic disease.
Potential Uses of Plum for Weight Loss
Plum contains polyphenols and bioactive compounds, which play an important role in the regulation of energy in obese people, increase intake of food, and enhance insulin-like and heart-protective effects. Plum juice contains low calories, which may contribute to a significant reduction in body weight.
In a preclinical study, the consumption of plum juice was useful for the loss of body weight. The low calories in plum juice and higher content of polyphenols also help to reduce body weight.
Potential Uses of Plum for Pregnancy
Animal studies shave noted that oral administration of extract of plum in pregnant animals resulted in increased development and formation of bone (osteogenesis) in the baby. The extract of plum also helps increase the amount of serum calcium, resulting in a higher ratio of new bone formation compared to the existing length of a long bone. The benefits have been observed in animal studies, and are yet to be confirmed in humans. You need to exercise precautions before using plums during pregnancy.
Nutritional Value of 100g Plum
- Energy 46 kcal
- Protein 0.7 g
- Carbohydrate 11.4 g
- Fat 0.28 g
- Sugar 9.92 g
- Fiber 1.4 g
- Glutamic acid 0.035 g
- Aspartic acid 0.352 g
- Lysine 0.016 g
- Isoleucine 0.014 g
- Calcium 6 mg
- Iron 0.17 mg
- Potassium 157 mg
- Phosphorus 16 mg
- Zinc 0.1 mg
- Copper 0.057 mg
- Manganese 0.52 mg
- Fluoride 2 µg
- Vitamin C 9.5 mg
- Thiamin 0.028 mg
- Riboflavin 0.026 mg
- Niacin 0.417 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.029 mg
- Vitamin K 64 µg
- Vitamin E 0.26 mg
- Folate 5 µg
- Choline 1.9 mg
- Beta-carotene 190 µg
- Vitamin A 345 IU
How to Use Plum?
Plum can be used in the following ways:
- The seeds of plum are rich in lipids and proteins which may be used as a good source for medicines, food, and skin.
- Plum fruit can be used in dairy products such as yogurt, lassi, and ice cream. It can also be used in food products such as pies and biscuits.
- It is generally used in the form of chunks, pulp, extract, or powder that increases the flavor and enhances the nutritional value of food.
- Plum can be used to make alcoholic drinks like wines.
- Dried plums are also used to make snacks, juice, jelly, powder, and jam.
You should always consult your Ayurvedic physician before consuming plums for regular use. They will be the best person to prescribe you the correct form and dosage as per your health condition. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.
Side Effects of Plum
The side effects of plums are related to digestive issues and allergic reactions. The most common side effects of plum are:
- People having problems with constipation and drinking large quantities of plum juice could experience excessive digestive problems such as flatulence, indigestion, and bloating.
- People might experience allergic reactions to eating plums. It contains a component that is considered a potential allergen showing immunoglobulin E (IgE)-specific allergic reactions.
However, if you experience any adverse reactions to it, immediately contact your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to treat you appropriately.