Plums are a beloved fruit in India, predominantly grown in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand. People in India call this fruit by various names including alubukhara, alucha, alubukhara, and aloo bukhara. They are typically available during the summer season. You can eat them fresh or in the form of jams, jellies, and sauces. Plum chutney is a popular condiment in India. It is also used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Plums have a lot of health benefits. They are a rich source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds that offer numerous health benefits. Plums may aid in digestion, promote bone health, help fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They become a popular choice for healthy snacking and cooking. In this article, we will delve into the various health benefits of plums. We will also explore how you can integrate it in your diet.
Health benefits of plums
Helps in treating constipation
Plums are a good source of fibre and may have beneficial effects on constipation. This is because of the presence of phenolic compounds with laxative properties in them. Prunes, or dried plums, are also effective in improving stool frequency and consistency, thereby enhancing gastrointestinal function. Research suggests that regular consumption of prunes may be more effective in improving stool consistency than psyllium. It is a natural laxative derived from the seeds of plantain. Certain carotenoids and polyphenols in plums may also stimulate digestion in the gastrointestinal tract.
Helps in managing diabetes
The multiple bioactive compounds present in plums, including sorbitol, quinic acid, chlorogenic acids, vitamin K1, copper, potassium, and boron. They work together to reduce the risk of diabetes. Plums increase serum levels of adiponectin. It is which is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, and the fibre in plums slows down the rate at which the body absorbs carbohydrates. Additionally, plums improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. The phenolic compounds present in plums are responsible for these effects. Consuming dried plums as a snack can also increase satiety and reduce the risk of diabetes and other diseases.
Helps prevent cancer
According to a study, consuming dried plums may help deal with risk factors of colorectal cancer due to the fibre and polyphenols present in them. Furthermore, laboratory experiments have shown that plum extracts may even eliminate the most aggressive forms of breast cancer cells, while leaving normal healthy cells unharmed. Researchers attribute this effect to two compounds, chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids. These compounds are found in high levels in plums, despite being commonly present in fruits.
Regular consumption of prunes or plums can help regulate hypertension and protect the heart. One study showed that individuals who consumed prune juice or prunes had lower blood pressure levels and also exhibited lower levels of bad cholesterol and total cholesterol. Another study involved men with high cholesterol who were given 12 prunes to consume over eight weeks. After the trial, their blood cholesterol levels significantly improved. The consumption of dried plums may slow down the progression of atherosclerosis.
Promotes bone health
Consuming prunes or plums may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It is also considered as one of the most effective fruits for preventing and reversing bone loss. Dried plums are also known to increase bone mass density, which could be attributed to the presence of rutin, a bioactive compound found in plums. Additionally, plums are a good source of vitamin K, which helps improve calcium balance in the body and promotes bone health. Dried plums have a higher vitamin K content, making them even more advantageous in this regard. Plums, including dried plums, are believed to be effective in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women. Plums also contain phytonutrients that can combat oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to osteoporosis and can make bones porous and prone to fracture.
Promotes cognitive health
According to research, consuming polyphenols in oriental plums can enhance brain function and lower brain cholesterol levels. It can result in a decreased chance of neurodegenerative conditions. In experiments conducted on rats, drinking plum juice proved useful in alleviating age-related cognitive impairments. However, this benefit was not observed with dried plum powder. Furthermore, the chlorogenic acid present in plums and prunes may also help alleviate anxiety.
Plums and their dried version, prunes, are not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits. They are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds that can aid in digestion, promote bone health, fight oxidative stress, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Plums are a popular fruit in India, known by various names, and enjoyed fresh or used in making jams, jellies, and chutneys. With their many health benefits, plums and prunes have become a popular choice for healthy snacking and cooking. So, make sure to include these small but mighty fruits in your diet for a healthier and happier life.
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