Plums are a sweet, wild fruit packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Consuming them regularly can reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases. In fact, dried plums, also known as prunes, can improve a variety of health conditions, from osteoporosis to constipation.
Plums grow pretty much everywhere in the world, with over 250 different varieties grown in the United States. They can be enjoyed fresh or dried. They taste great on their own or added to recipes. Because they make such a convenient snack to grab on the go, it’s easy to incorporate them into your diet.
Deep red-skinned plums with rosy or golden flesh make naturally colourful desserts, like tarts and compotes. Plums offer an organic way to add beautiful color to frozen desserts as well, such as ice cream or sherbets. Their slightly sour skin also lends a lovely tartness to puddings and jams.
Keep reading to find out more about plums and how this wonderful fruit can help you on your journey toward better health.
Are Plums Keto?
Fresh plums fall on the list of approved fruits that Ketogenic dieters can eat. A medium-sized plum containing 7 grams of carbs makes a healthy addition to a low carb meal plan. The fruit is low in fat, so you might want to consider combining a plum with few nuts or a slice of fresh cheese to get some healthy fat.
Dried plums, also known as prunes, however, should be avoided on Keto. Just one serving of this dried fruit can cause you to exceed your daily carb count.
How Many Carbs are in Plums?
Fresh: A small 66-gram plum (2 1/8” in diameter) contains 7 grams of net carbs. The total carbs in a small plum is 8 grams, but once you account for the 1 gram of fiber it contains, this number decreases to 7 grams of net digestible carbs.
Dried: A 100-gram serving of dried plums (prunes) contains a whopping 64 grams of carbs. The carbohydrate amount in dried fruit tends to be more concentrated compared to fresh fruits.
How Many Calories are in Plums?
Fresh: A small 66-gram plum (2 1/8” in diameter) contains only 30 calories. If you’re following a calorie-reduction plan, fresh plums make a much better food choice over the dried variety, containing only a small fraction of the calories.
Dried: A 100-gram serving of dried plums (prunes) contains 240 calories. Dried prunes are much higher in calories than fresh plums due to their shrinkage after dehydration, making them a more concentrated form of energy.
|Serving: 1 Small Plum (66 grams)|
|Total Fat||0.2 grams|
|Total Carbohydrate||7.5 grams|
|Dietary Fiber||0.9 grams|
|Iron||< 1 milligrams|
|Vitamin A||228 milligrams|
|Vitamin C||6 milligrams|
Health Benefits of Plums
Rich in Nutrients
Both plums and prunes are packed with nutrients. Just one serving provides the percent recommended daily intakes (RDI) of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin A: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2: 3% of the RDI
- Vitamin B3: 3% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
- Copper: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 21% of the RDI
- Manganese: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 2% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
High in Fiber
Prunes (dried plums) and prune juice can help treat constipation because of their fiber and sorbitol content. The insoluble fiber in prunes does not blend with water, therefore it adds bulk to the stool to speed up digestion and increase bowel efficiency.
Antioxidants to Fight Disease
Plums and prunes are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which are known to reduce inflammation and help prevent a number of diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. In fact, some studies have shown polyphenol antioxidant activity to be more potent in plums than most other fruits.
Builds and Maintains Healthy Bones
Prunes are beneficial to bone health as they help fight bone loss, which may help lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. What’s more, studies suggest that eating prunes increases certain hormones needed for bone formation. The fruit also provides vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium – all of which have bone-protective effects.
Promotes Heart Health
Plums and prunes may improve heart health, as they lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, studies show that a diet consisting of adequate fiber-rich fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease.
Benefits for Skin and Hair
Plums are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps your skin to develop resistance against toxic molecules called free radicals that can cause inflammation. Drinking plum or prune juice improves skin tone and firmness, to improve the overall health of your skin.
This fruit is not only good for your skin, but also for the hair. Regularly eating plums helps grow strong, thick hair naturally. It is also rich in iron and helps improve circulation in the scalp and prevent hair loss. It is rich in bioflavonoids that assist healthy scalp tissue and hair follicles.
Dried plums (prunes) and prune juice may cause gas and bloat, due to their sorbitol content.
Prunes contain insoluble fiber, which can cause or worsen diarrhea. To prevent diarhea, stick to a quarter cup or half-cup serving.
When are Plums in Season?
California is the top producer of plums in the United States where they come into season somewhere between May and October.
Varieties of plums in Japan ripen earlier and the varieties in Europe tend to ripen later.
What’s the Best Way to Pick and Store Plums?
A ripe plum should feel heavy in your hand. If the fruit is ripe fruit, it should yield when pressed gently and have some give near the stem. If the plum feels too soft, it may be overripe.
If the fruit feels too firm, it may need to be ripened up a bit more. Simply place the plums in a paper bag and store at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Storing ripe plums inside a bag in the refrigerator will prolong their shelf life. Plums generally keep for 3 to 5 days.
Are Plums Safe for Diabetics?
Plums and prunes have been shown to reduce adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is the protein hormone involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown, benefiting blood sugar control.
Additionally, the fiber in plums also has positive effects on blood sugar. Fiber slows the rate at which your body absorbs carbs, preventing spikes in blood sugar.
The carbohydrate amount in dried fruit is much more concentrated than that of fresh fruits. With that being said, dried plums have a lower glycemic index level than other dried fruits.
Are Plums Good for Weight Loss?
Plums are low a low calorie, a fat-free snack which makes them a great food choice for any weight-loss plan. Plus, plums have a low glycemic load so they won’t spike insulin, the fat-storage hormone.
Additionally, a serving of plums provides about 1.5 grams of fiber to help keep you feeling satiated in between meals. They are also a good source of the antioxidant anthocyanins which has been linked with the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Do Plums Help Lower Cholesterol?
A study conducted by the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at Shifa College of Medicine in Islamabad, Pakistan studied plums and prunes for their ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Test subjects who drank prune juice and ate 3-6 prunes daily for 8 weeks were compared to a group that drank only a glass of water on an empty stomach. The group that consumed the prunes and prune juice showed significantly lower levels of total cholesterol and the unhealthy LDL type of cholesterol than the group that consumed only water.