Plums: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

The regular intake of fruits is the best prevention against various ailments as the fruits are the natural foods enriched with all vital nutrients that are essential for health. Different fruits have various nutritional values though every fruit contain basic plant nutrients. Fruits are categorized according to the characteristics and qualities. Plum is a fruit classified as a drupe fruit or fruit with hard single seed in the genus prunus and termed scientifically as the subgenus prunus. The dried plums are known as prunes. Several historical evidences show that plums existed even in the Neolithic age. The plums are broadly classified into Hexaploid European plum and Japanese plums. Both the species has more than 40 variety of plum in the world. The plum trees cultivated commercially grows to a height of 5-6 meters due to the regular pruning. It may reach the height about 12 meters if it is not pruned. Different plums are available in red, yellow, green, white and purple colors. The flesh is juicy and tastes from sweet to tart. Plum can be consumed

in many forms as raw, processed and cooked. The juice is also used for preparing wines commercially. The fruits are enriched with essential nutrients that have several health benefits. Various studies and researches are conducted in recognizing and analyzing the nutritional benefits of this fruit. It is also used in various culinary forms in different parts of the world. Processed and fresh plums are used in confectionaries, deserts, jams, jellies and spreads. The traditional rich plum cake is an all time favorite of children during Christmas time in many parts of the world.  The dried plums are also used for culinary purposes. Several beverages similar to alcoholic beverages known as plum jerkum are also made out from plums particularly in central England.

The USDA nutrient base had conducted research on the nutritional value of this fruit and had found rich deposits of all vital nutrients. According to the nutritional chart of USDA plum has an energy value of 46 calories form an average fruit. It has carbohydrates, sugar and dietary fiber and low fat and protein content. It is enriched with vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, thiamin or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate or vitamin B9, vitamin C, E and K. The essential mineral content includes iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, Zinc and fluoride.

Many scientific studies have proved that intake of plums are the best preventive methods against different ailments. The rich antioxidant content prevents free radicals and prevents cancer, brain damage, blood sugar, macular prevention. It is also used as a best choice in reducing body weight and a favorite food of diet and health conscious people. The sorbitol and isatin act as the natural laxative and improves the digestive function and cures constipation. Niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid improve the entire metabolic function of the body. The intake of plum promotes dental health as the fluoride content strengthens the teeth. Iron promotes the red blood cells formation. Potassium maintains the blood pressure level, regulate heart beat and improves the heart health. Zeaxanthin, leutin, cryptoxanthin are the natural compounds that prevent the free radical formation that are the main cause for cancerous diseases. The dietary fiber prevents gastro and respiratory cancers. The vitamin C promotes immunity and fights against various infections. The yellow plum has the highest rate of vitamin A and beta carotene improves the eye sight and promotes eye health. The dried plums increase the bone density and prevent osteoporosis and regular intake is beneficial for the women who have reached the menopausal stage. It helps in reducing the cholesterol level and promotes the HDL. The potassium maintains the body fluid levels and the presence of sorbitol makes it an ideal food for diabetic patients. The presence of antioxidants makes it a sure ingredient in anti ageing skin care and cosmetic products. The regular use of this fruit gives overall health benefits and prevents various diseases.