Plum Fruit Facts and Health Benefits 101

Facts about Plums


The plum is a tree, much like the peach but more erect growing. In general, European plums are bigger and more erect compared to Japanese plums. The leaves of the plum are elliptic or ovate with obtuse or acute tips, short petioles and also crenulated margins. Japanese plum trees feature rougher bark and more flowers compared to the European plums. The plant are also stronger, more disease resistant, and more vigorous than the European plums.

The flowers of plums are very much the same in morphology to the peach, but smaller, white in color, with longer pedicels. In nature, European plums bloom later than the Japanese plums, thereby less frost prone.

The plum fruit is a drupe, oval in the European varieties and conical to round in the Japanese varieties. Bloom is normally found on glabrous surface. Plums need 2 1/2 to 6 months to grow fruit, with the Japanese plums ripening in shorter periods (around 3 months). Thinning is important for proper development for the Japanese varieties, but not at all times needed for the European varieties, especially prunes, as they are usually not as floriferous, plus the fruit set is normally lighter.

Deep Purple Plums, Whole and Sliced 

Health Benefits of Eating Plums

  • The tasty, fleshy, succulent plum fruit is low in calories with no saturated fats. It has many health benefits, vitamins and minerals.
     
  • Some health benefiting compounds found in plums, for example dietary fiber, isatin and sorbitol can help normalize the functions of the digestive tract and thus employed to treat constipation problems.
     
  • Fresh plums are rich in vitamin C, which is a strong natural antioxidant. Intake of foods high in vitamin C aids body build defence against contagious agents, prevent inflammation and scavenge damaging free radicals.
     
  • The plum, specifically the yellow Mirabelle type, is abundant with beta carotene and vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for good eyesight. It is essential for keeping healthy mucus membranes and good skin. Eating of fresh fruits containing vitamin A helps protect from oral cavity and lung cancers.
     
  • On top of the health benefits mentioned above, the plum contains flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin in substantial amounts. All these compounds help function as scavengers to fight reactive oxygen species and free radicals that cause aging and many disease process. Zeaxanthin is an essential carotenoid assimilated into the retinal macula lutea and provide antioxidant and light-filtering functions.
     
  • Plums are a good source of minerals such as iron, potassium and fluoride. Iron is needed for formation of red blood cells. Potassium in an essential element of cell and fluids in the body that helps manage heartbeat and blood pressure levels.
     
  • The fruit is abundant with B-complex vitamins like niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. These vitamins are serving as cofactors to aid our body metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
     
  • Additionally, they supply around 5% RDA amounts of vitamin K that is important for blood clotting and preventing Alzheimer's disease. 

Nutrients and Calories of Plums and Prunes
 

Nutritional value per 100 g Plums  
Energy 192 kJ (46 kcal)
Carbohydrates 11.4 g
Dietary fiber 1.4 g
Fat 0.28 g
Protein 0.70 g
Vitamin A 345 IU
Vitamin C 9.5 mg
Phosphorus 16 mg
Potassium 157 mg

 
Nutritional value per 100 g Prunes  
Energy 1,006 kJ (240 kcal)
Carbohydrates 63.88 g
Dietary fiber 7.1 g
Fat 0.38 g
Protein 2.18 g
Vitamin A 781 IU
Vitamin C 0.6 mg
Phosphorus 69 mg
Potassium 732 mg


How to Choose and Buy Plums?

  • Plums can be found throughout the year but those with the best quality are usually seen between May and September.
  • Pick plums with vibrant color while in the store and those still contain a bit of whitish bloom, suggesting that they haven't yet been over handled. Steer clear of those that are soft, with cuts and bruises.
  • Ripen plums give to slight pressure and have sweet fragrance. 

How to Store Plums?

  • Slightly hard plums can be stored at normal room temperature until they ripen.
  • Ripe fruit may be put in the fridge but needs to be bring to room temperature prior to consumption to enjoy the vibrant flavor.
  • You can store prunes at room temperature for couple of days. 

Related Fruit Articles:

Banana Health Benefits Peach Health Benefits



More Health Benefits of Fruit