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Image Source - Fresh Fruit Group
Plums are juicy and delicious fruits existing in diverse colors and shapes with over 2000 different varieties. Along with the hand-picked, fresh variety, plums can also be dried or canned. These fruits are then referred to as prunes. Plums are packed with an immense range of nutrients, which offer an impressive range of health benefits such as discussed below.
Plums contains vitamin C and phytonutrients such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These components possess effective antioxidant qualities which help in preventing the damage caused by oxygen radicals called superoxide anion radicals. The phenols present in plums also extend their protective effect on the essential fats in the neurons and cell membranes against any injuries caused by oxidative stress.
Plum extracts are valuable for treating obesity and other complications associated with obesity. Studies have shown that consumption of stone fruits such as plums helps in fighting metabolic syndrome, due to the presence of bioactive compounds. The flavonoids and phenolic components such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin, and catechins present in plums exert anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects on the different bodily cells, including the fat cells, and they also help in preventing obesity-related problems such as cholesterol disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Plums exert anti-hyperglycemic effects and help in combating diabetes. Studies have shown that the consumption of plum extracts aids in the reduction of blood glucose and levels of triglyceride in the body. The flavonoids present in plums exert protective effects against insulin resistance and help to enhance insulin sensitivity in the body.
Consumption of dried plums exerts anabolic and antiresorptive actions, which aid in maintaining healthy bones. Flavonoids such as caffeic acid and rutin that are both present in plums help in inhibiting the deterioration of bone tissues and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Polyphenols, along with the potassium content present in dried plums, encourage the formation of bones, enhances bone density and prevents bone loss caused by ovarian hormone deficiency. Research has demonstrated that regular consumption of dried plums helps in the restoration of bone density that has already been lost due to aging.
Plums are a good source of dietary fiber, along with the components sorbitol and isatin, which help in regulating the digestive system. According to research studies, dried plums or prunes are more effective in treating digestive disorders such as constipation as compared to other remedies such as psyllium husk. Sorbitol and isatin have a laxative effect and encourage the secretion of fluids in the bowels and promote the efficient flushing of waste through the colon.
Studies have shown that the flavonoids present in plum juice are effective in providing protection against age-related cognitive impairment. The beneficial phytonutrients present in plums help in reducing the inflammation in the neurological areas to improve learning and memory functions. Regular consumption of plums also helps in preventing age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Plums contains vitamin B-6, which helps in the transmission of nerve signals and aids in the smooth functioning of the nervous system. Plums also help in the normal growth of the brain and assist in the formation of mood influencing hormones. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in plums, helps in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays an important role in the sleep, appetite and concentration.
The consumption of plums helps to maintain cardiovascular health. Research has provided supporting evidence regarding the fact that the regular intake of dried plums helps in promoting fluidity of blood in the arteries. This protective effect aids in the prevention of various cardiac disorders, including the development of atherosclerosis and the reduction in chances for heart attacks and strokes.
Plums are beneficial in strengthening the immune defense of the body due to the presence of high vitamin C content. It promotes the body’s resistance against various infections and inflammations. Research has shown that oriental plums have immunostimulatory constituents that encourage the production of nitric oxide in the body, impede the metastasis of tumor cells, and are valuable in preventing various diseases.
Plums are rich in vitamin C, along with other antioxidants, which help to maintain healthy, radiant and youthful skin. The consumption of plums helps in reducing dark spots and wrinkles due to the presence of anti-aging nutrients. Plum extracts are used in various skin care products such as face wash and packs.
Plums and plum products offer a variety of health benefits, barring a few exceptions which should be considered and taken care of while consuming plums.
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