5 Benefits Of Plums, From Relieving Constipation To Regulating Blood Sugar

5 Benefits Of Plums, From Relieving Constipation To Regulating Blood Sugar

Plums are a health powerhouse — they have less sugar than many other fruits and are packed with important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can eat them whole for an easy snack or slice them to eat with cereal or yogurt.

Note: Plums are small, sweet fruits that are about the size of a golf ball. They come in many types and colors, but in the US, you’ll most often find red or purple plums with juicy red or yellow flesh. Purple plums tend to be sweeter, while red ones have a sweet-tart flavor.

Plums and their dried counterpart, prunes, offer a long list of health benefits, including boosting heart, brain, and bone health.

Here are five science-backed benefits of plums:

1. Rich in antioxidants

“Plums are antioxidant powerhouses,” says Abbie Gellman, MS, a chef and registered dietician in private practice.

Yellow plums, another common variety, and purple plums both offer several types of antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Tocopherols
  • Beta-carotene

However, red and purple plums may have added benefits from another RE strong antioxidant called anthocyanin, which small, preliminary studies in humans suggest it could improve heart health and help manage type 2 diabetes.

2. Regulate blood sugar levels

There are many reasons why plums are a great option for people looking to keep their blood sugar under control. Listed below are four reasons.

Related: How To Best Manage Diabetes And Lower Blood Sugar With Exercise

  1. Fiber:  Plums are high in fiber — one cup of sliced plums contains roughly 8% RDI — which can help slow digestion and prevent spikes in blood sugar.
  2. Prebiotics: The fiber in plums and prunes are also prebiotics, a specialized plant fiber that feeds the good probiotic bacteria in our gut, Gellman says. Having the right balance of gut bacteria is also helpful in the treatment and prevention of type-2 diabetes.
  3. Adiponectin. A small 2018 study found that drinking 200 ml of plum juice each day for four weeks boosted levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar.
  4. Low sugar. Plums are low in sugar (1 cup contains 16 grams compared to 1 cup of grapes which has 23 grams) and therefore also low on the glycemic index, meaning they have only a small effect on blood sugar. Plums have a glycemic index of 39, compared with 52 for bananas, 59 for pineapples, and 76 for watermelons.

3. Lower blood pressure

A small 2017 study found that people with high blood pressure who ate three grams of plum extract each day for three months had significantly lower blood pressure, compared with people who were given a placebo.

This is because the potassium in plums  may help control your blood pressure in two ways:

  1. Potassium can relax the tension in your blood vessel walls, which leads to lower blood pressure.
  2. Potassium can help your body get rid of sodium through your pee. This is important because high sodium levels trigger your body to hold onto more water, which can drive up blood pressure.

4. Good for bone health

Plums contain many vitamins and minerals that contribute to bone health , including potassium,magnesium, and vitamin K, Gellman says. However, dried plums have more concentrated levels of these particular nutrients, compared to fresh plums. So maybe stick to prunes if you’re looking to reap this benefit.

“These nutrients help to reduce the loss of bone minerals and actively support bone structure,” says Gellman. This is especially important as you grow older, when weakened bones can lead to fractures, even from small injuries.

A small 2016 study found that postmenopausal women, with bone loss, who ate around five dried plums per day had significantly less bone loss after three and six months, compared with women who didn’t get treatment.

5. Relieve constipation

Plums and prunes are popular remedies for constipation for two main reasons:

  1. They’re high in fiber, which helps to bulk up stool and allow you to pass stool more easily. A cup of prunes, for example, contains 12.4 grams of fiber (roughly 50% RDI).
  2. Plums contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that acts as a laxative.

A small 2011 study found that people with constipation who ate five dried plums twice per day for three weeks had more frequent bowel movements and normal stool consistency than before the study began.

Related: How To Avoid Getting Tired: Herbs and Spices that Make You Feel Better 

Plum nutrients

Here is the nutritional information for one cup of sliced plums:

Nutritional information
Calories: 76
Protein: 1.2 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Fiber: 2.3 grams
Sugar: 16 grams

Conclusion

Adding plums and prunes to your diet can offer great health benefits like boosting heart health, balancing blood sugar levels, and relieving constipation.

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