Plums are some of the fruits people add in desserts like cakes and cookies. Under the subgenus Prunus of the same genus, plums are relatives of cherries, bird cherries, and peaches, among others. The following are the health benefits and sample recipe for plums.
One health benefit of plums is the presence of antioxidants. According to Nutrition and You, plums are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, among others. Vitamin A is also great for vision, as well as the integrity of the skin and mucus membranes. Vitamin C also promotes immune system function and the action of collagen, a substance that acts as cement to bind loosely connected cells and tissues. To add, plums contain flavonoid ployphenolic antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin, which act as scavengers against oxygen-deprived free radicals and reactive oxygen species; these agents cause aging and various disorders. Thus, eliminating them from the system prevents aging and the development of certain disorders. Also, zeaxanthin is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it provides antioxidant properties and protective ultraviolet light-filtering capabilities.
Plums can be memory enhancers. According to study findings at the University of Harvard Health Research, as cited by Care 2, the fruit’s antioxidants are capable of slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, as per the publication, plums contain anthocyanin and quercetin, substances that prevent the breakdown of brain cells.
Another health benefit of plum is its fiber content. Fiber acts as sweep, helping eliminate unwanted substances like free radicals and toxins from the body. It also helps promote weight loss and regulate blood sugar levels. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, this is possible by increasing insulin sensitivity and slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach; this way, glucose absorption is also delayed. To add, plum’s fiber content promotes a sense of fullness after meals, so a person will not crave for more food after eating. This way, overeating and weight gain will be prevented. Fiber also promotes intestinal motility and provides bulk in stools, while decreasing the transit time of the fecal matter; this mechanism helps prevent constipation, and in the long run, hemorrhoids and colon cancer. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body during defecation. Moreover, fiber also reduces the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver.
Plums also contain potassium, a mineral that helps in sodium and potassium pump. The mineral counters sodium’s water-retention properties, preventing edema and congestion in the heart. In line with this, potassium prevents high blood pressure through fluid regulation, and in the long run, it prevents congestive heart failure and stroke, as per Best Health Magazine. Potassium also helps promote muscle strength and contraction, preventing muscle weakness. Thus, a person who has reduced potassium levels due to lack of the mineral or diarrhea may consume plums to regain the lost potassium in the body.
One recipe that uses plums is Grilled Plums with Cookies and Ice Cream. According to Martha Stewart, the ingredients are vegetable oil for he grill, half cup of crumbled cookies, vanilla ice cream, and four ripe plums (halved and pitted). To prepare, as per the publication, the grill is heated to medium. Then, the hot grill is cleaned and lightly oiled. After that, the plums are grilled and cut side up until charred. The fruit is flipped and cooked for about five minutes until it is soft. Then, they are transferred to a platter, sprinkled with cookies, and are served with ice cream.
Plums are nutritious with their several health benefits. Thus, they can be easily added to weekly menu plans for individuals, groups, or families.