When you hear about the most popular fruits in the United States, you typically think of strawberries, bananas and apples. A little further down the list, you’ll find one that people really enjoy when they get their hands on one, even if it’s not their first thought in the produce aisle. The plum is a very sweet fruit that some people prefer to eat in their dried state (known as prunes), but raw plums are incredibly delicious.
Luckily for most of us, plums are also very attainable and not expensive at all. Since these plants are able to be grown in just about all parts of the world from China to Iran and the United States, plums are a great pickup for your grocery cart at any store. So what makes this fruit so fantastic outside of the taste? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown of plums, and the fantastic health benefits that you’ll get from eating more of them in your diet.
Nutrition of Plums
In one cup of plums, which is around two and a half sliced plum fruits, there’s only about 75 filling calories in each serving. You won’t find much protein in plums, but there is some important dietary fiber that a lot of people might not be getting enough of. There are a couple of vitamins that really stand out in plums, with vitamin C being the big one at a quarter of your daily recommended value.
Vitamin A and vitamin K are also notable, with more than 10 percent of your daily value. Other vitamins that come in around the five percent mark include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. In the mineral department, there aren’t any that reach the 10 percent or higher mark, but you will find significant sources of potassium, copper and manganese. Others that make up smaller amounts are calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. As an added bonus, there isn’t any cholesterol found in plums, and more than 11 grams of phytosterols.
Most of us know that if we want to lose weight, we should be incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diets. Among those fruits, plums are certainly a good one to be eating as a snack. A small to medium size plum typically contains just 30 to 40 calories, while still bringing some filling fiber and sweetness that should satisfy cravings. Trading in a 200 calorie snack for a 40 calorie plum each day adds up to 58,400 calories saved.
For those that are curious, that equates to nearly 17 pounds of fat in one year. It’s not just the low amount of calories that make plums diet friendly, either. Research has suggested that plums are among the fruits that can help fight metabolic syndrome that will help to not only fight off weight gain, but keep you from becoming obese without overeating.
Most of the calories that you get from plums come from sugars, so you might be wondering why they’re diabetic friendly. These are not the type of sugars that you normally find, but are the more natural ones that are in fruits. Plums are actually extremely low on the glycemic index, making it so that they won’t be sending your blood sugar through crashes or spikes. That’s especially good news if you’re diabetic.
For those that aren’t diabetic and don’t wish to become diabetic (which is pretty much all of us), you should certainly be eating more plums. Studies claim that eating plums can reduce your blood glucose, which is essential in preventing type 2 diabetes. Your body will also use insulin more efficiently, lowering resistance.
Plums are going to be very good for your digestive system if you’re eating them on a regular basis thanks to the high amount of fiber. Fiber helps your body to create more probiotics that allow your digestive system to act more efficiently. Not only that, but plums have compounds that have been shown to help digestion more including sorbitol.
You may have heard that people eat prunes or drink prune juice to give themselves a laxative effect to alleviate constipation. Since those are both created from plums, the same is true about this juicier fruit. Plums are great for those of any age because they also balance your electrolytes, which is especially great for children.
Because of the components found in plums, there are a lot of different diseases that you can help prevent. Starting with vitamin C, plums are very high in this essential vitamin that boosts your immune system, allowing you to hold off colds and flus throughout the year that could be nagging. Certain types of plums have also been shown to help completely erase the influenza virus in some people that contract it.
Even more serious diseases can be kept at bay by eating a healthy diet that includes plums. Plums contain what’s known as epicatechin, which has been linked with slowing the growth or even eliminating certain cancer cells. All that comes with your normal cells being kept unharmed as free radicals will be kept away thanks to antioxidants.
Bones and Brains
Moving on to some parts of the body that you might not think about until it’s too late, you can help your bones and brain by eating more plums. Plums are great at preventing osteoporosis by keeping up your bone health thanks to the flavonoids found within. This is why you see so many elderly people drinking prune juice. It’s even been found that you can help restore lost bone density from eating plums.
As for your brain, plums help the central nervous system due to several different vitamins that can help you relax and get more restful sleep at night. Plums are also linked to lower levels of anxiety in people, and lowered signs of depression. You can simply have the plum extract for these effects, but just eating plums is probably more enjoyable.
Summing it Up
You always have to way any cons against the pros when it comes to eating foods, and plums are no exception, but is there anything really bad about eating them? Plums do carry a higher amount of oxalate than other fruits, so you have to be considerate with your intake as an overdose of oxalate can cause kidney stones. The acid amount is higher on the list than most fruits, too, including grapefruits, pineapples and oranges.
While there is a bit more natural sugar found in plums than some fruits that makes them so sweet, it’s actually not a concern because of the overall effects that plums have on blood sugar. With that said, just make sure not to eat them multiple times a day if you develop kidney stones more easily than others and you will be just fine. In fact, you’ll be even better off than you were before!