The plum is a drupe fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus. Fruits from the tree are usually between one to three inches in diameter, with the flesh being firm and juicy a single large seed in the middle. The smooth peel comes with a natural waxy surface that adheres to the flesh. The taste of the plum flesh ranges from sweet to tart; the skin itself may be particularly tart.
Here are 7 health benefits of plums.
1. Plums are a rich source of antioxidants.
Plums contain many antioxidants like vitamin C and phytonutrients, such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. Antioxidants seek and neutralize normal cell-harming free radicals that can destroy cells or turn them into cancer cells.
2. Plums can help individuals with type 2 diabetes.
The glycemic index ranks food and drinks based on their blood sugar increase potential. Foods high on the glycemic index (such as white rice and white bread) will break down easily and cause blood sugar and insulin level spikes after meals, which is followed by rapidly dropping blood sugar levels. The sugar from plums is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar crashes, sugar cravings, and mood swings.
Also, studies like the one published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have suggested that plum extracts aid in the reduction of blood sugar levels and fatty acid levels.
3. Plums can help individuals regulate cholesterol levels.
A study from the University of California, Davis has suggested that dried plums or prunes are more efficient than grape juice when maintaining healthy levels of plasma and liver cholesterol. Prunes are found to help prevent hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia.
4. Plums can contribute to reducing anxiety.
Research has shown that plums contribute to reducing anxiety with its antioxidant properties found in chlorogenic acids. This acid can assist in reducing anxiety-related behaviors and oxidative stress.
5. Plums can help individuals fight infections.
Plums are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Vitamin C is a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
6. Plums can contribute to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Plums have a great potassium to sodium ratio. A potassium-rich diet helps the blood vessels relax and maintains a healthy blood pressure. One cup of plums contains 104 milligrams of potassium, compared to zero milligrams of sodium.
7. Plums may help improve your heart’s health.
Fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium have been known to improve the heart’s health. The recommended 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium is not obtained by many individuals in the United States, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, despite the benefits of increased potassium intake. One study suggested that individuals who consumed 4,069 milligrams of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less than 1,000 milligrams of potassium per day.