Scientific Name “ Prunus domes “ Wonderfully delicious and juicy, plums botanically belong to the Rosaceae family of “drupe” fruits in the genus, Prunus.
Other fellow Prunus members include peaches, nectarine, almonds, and damson.
The plant is best described as a small tree or large shrub. It is widely cultivated at a commercial scale in the United States, Europe, Japan, and China. Several cultivars of plums are grown all over the world which differ in their color, size, and growth characteristics. Generally, each variety of the plum tree bears numerous, almost same-sized berries between May and September months.
Plum is found in the northern parts of Pakistan in summer. And so it is considered to be the most easily available fruit in the country, especially the fruit with many health benefits.
Plums have a sweet and tart taste with a pleasant aroma.
Health Benefits of Plums
Benefits of Plums, Medically, this fruit has innumerable benefits.
1-Plums are low in calories (46 calories per 100 g) and contain no saturated fats; however, they hold numerous health-promoting compounds, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
2-Certain health benefiting compounds present in the plums such as dietary fiber, sorbitol, and isatin have been found to help regulate the smooth digestive system functioning, and thereby, help relieve constipation problems.
3-The total antioxidant strength of plums measured in terms of ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is 6259 µmol TE/100 g. Fresh berries are a modest source of Vitamin C which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
4-Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A has been found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
5-The fruit also has health-promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin in significant amounts. These compounds help act as scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
6-Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions.
7-Plums are plentiful in minerals like potassium, fluoride, and iron. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
8-Also, they are modest sources of B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin or B vitamin,
vitamin B-6, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins act as cofactors that help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. They also provide about 5% RDA levels of Vitamin-K. Vitamin-K is essential for the functioning of many clotting factors in the blood vessels as well as in bone metabolism. It also helps in limiting the neuronal damage in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Benefits of Fresh Plums
Fresh plums especially yellow Mirabelle, are a moderate source of vitamin-A and β -carotene. Vitamin-A is essential for good eyesight. It is also required for maintaining a healthy tissue layer and skin
Benefits of Dried Plums
Dried plums have many benefits. Dried Plums are very popular in food because of their sweet and sour taste. As well as taste and delight, it is also rich in amazing benefits. Dried plums are rich in vitamin K, iron, fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene.
Dried plums juice helps in eliminating iron deficiency in the body. Iron deficiency causes a decrease in red blood cells which causes anemia. Half a cup of aloe plums juice provides three milligrams of iron to the body. In this way, the problem of anemia can be easily dealt with.
This dried fruit is rich in potassium to ensure proper heart function. Potassium is used to keep blood pressure normal and reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and stroke. Dried plum helps meet the body’s potassium requirement.
Selection and Storage
Plums can be available year-round, but they are at their best between May until September. In the stores, look for fresh fruits featuring rich color and may still have a slight whitish “bloom” on their surface, an indication of a fresh harvest.
Avoid those with excess softness or with cuts or bruises. Ripe fruits just yield to gentle pressure and should feature a sweet aroma.
Slightly hard, but mature plums can be kept at room temperature until they completely ripen. Once ready, place them in the refrigerator, but should be brought back to room temperature just before eating them, which brings out their rich, natural flavor.
Side Effects of Plums
Plums contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some fruits and vegetables, which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some individuals. Therefore, people with known oxalate urinary tract stones are advised to avoid eating plums. Adequate intake of water is advised to maintain normal urine output even if these people want to eat them.