Plums are juicy and delicious fruits mostly found during monsoon, i.e., between May and October. Scientifically known as Prunus domestica, these belong to the family of peaches and cherries. Mostly found in countries like China, Japan, United States and Europe, this fruit comes with many colours and sizes depending on the region in which it is grown.
There are around 2000 varieties of plums grown around the world. While India is not a mass producer of this yummy and delicious fruit; still approximately 12 types of plums are grown in the northern part of the country.
The popularity of plums is mainly because of its vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K are abundantly found in it.
Potassium, calcium and magnesium are some of the minerals found in it. Rich in carbohydrate and dietary fibres, it provides only 50 calories for 100 grams of consumption.
Plums provide several health benefits starting from hormonal and stress-related disorders to infectious diseases. Apart from maintaining a good heart and bone health, plums have been proved highly beneficial towards maintaining a good skin and hair texture.
A few benefits of this wonder fruit are listed below.
1.Good For The Heart:
Loaded with antioxidants; plums provide a good defence against free radicals. These lower the bad cholesterol level and improve heart health. High potassium levels help in controlling blood pressure and heart rate. It also plays a major role in preventing atherosclerosis, a disease associated with artery wall thickening. A good quantity of vitamin B6 in plums controls the homocysteine level, thus protecting people from heart stroke.
Nature's own laxative, "plums" in any form (fresh or dried) are rich in dietary fibre which improves digestion and eases bowel movements. Sorbitol and isatin present in them stimulate the contraction of the intestine and thus provide relief from constipation.
3.Improves Blood Circulation:
High vitamin C content in plums promote the ability to absorb iron in the body. Iron being an essential and integral part of RBCs ultimately leads to more blood cells production by fighting anaemia and improving blood circulation.
4.Good For The Bones:
Dried plums are excellent sources of polyphenols which not just prevent bone loss but also are capable of reversing the effects of osteoporosis. These increase the levels of indicators of bone formation like insulin-like growth factors and alkaline phosphatase.
Dried plums and the polyphenols in them down-regulate bone resorption and increase osteoblast activity. High potassium levels in plum also add benefits in case of osteoporosis.
Dried plums lower cholesterol levels naturally. The soluble fibres in prunes lower LDL cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. These fibres bind to bile acid and get removed from the body along with the stool.
Bile acids are compounds that are used to digest fat and are made by the liver from cholesterol. So, to maintain the bile acid level, the liver produces new bile acids by using cholesterol, resulting in a low level of cholesterol in circulation.
Plums are potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. These protect the cells from free radical damage. Plums also come with a good supply of vitamin C, which prevents cold- and flu-related diseases.
One major benefit of plums is their powerful antioxidant properties. The phytonutrients present in plums inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Beta-carotenes target lung and oral cancer while anthocyanins can prevent oxidative damages from free radicals.