A dietitian shares 4 key health benefits of plums

IMHO, plums are one of the the biggest underdogs in the summer fruit world, which makes me feel the need to put on my PR hat and give them some well-deserved airtime. For starters, this summer fruit is too often overshadowed by other warm weather staples like watermelon, peaches and cherries. Next, prunes (aka dried plums) tend to steal the show over their juicy counterparts, especially when you’re hoping relieve constipation through diet– but to be fair, it’s not necessarily the sexiest pairing.

Either way, my mission today is to encourage you to give plums — and therefore your health — some extra love and discover their most awesome benefits. To carry out this task faithfully and (pun intended) fruitfully, I enlisted the help of a dietitian based in Los Angeles. Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN share the main health benefits of plum.

4 Benefits of Plum for Your Overall Health and Wellbeing

1. They Are Packed With Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

“Plums are excellent sources of a handful of important nutrients, including vitamins C and E, while being low in sugar,” says Vaca-Flores. They also contain anthocyanins, which are red, purple and blue pigments belonging to the phenolic group. Anthocyanins are revered for their broad medicinal properties, which include “antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects,” according to a 2017 article in Food and nutrition research.

A word for the wise: Keep the peels of your plums on itbecause they will contain a higher concentration of these protective compounds compared to flesh alone.

2. They are good for digestion, constipation and intestinal health

Similar to their dried counterparts, plums are also beneficial to eat if you’re feeling a little high thanks to their fiber and water content. “A medium-sized plum provides almost a gram of fiber, with fiber being important for digestion and regularity,” says Vaca-Flores. “Additionally, plums are estimated to be 80% water, which can help kick things off as well.” If you’re struggling to pass strong or consistent BMs, she recommends eating a few plums (or prunes) to boost your fiber intake and get you one step closer to digestive relief.

3. They Help Regulate Blood Sugar

As Vaca-Flores mentioned above, whole plums are low in sugar and with a glycemic index (GI) of 35, they are considered low glycemic index. (For context, low glycemic index foods have a GI of 55 or less.) “Plums also release a hormone called adiponectin, which can help balance blood sugarVaca-Flores says. Last but not least, she adds that the fiber content of plums works its magic beyond relieving constipation, as it “can also help prevent a spike in blood sugar.”

In short, plums are unlikely to raise blood sugar, so it’s a healthy snack for those who need to be extremely careful in this regard. One study even found that a higher consumption of plums (among other whole fruits) was associated with lower risk of developing type 2 diabeteswhich makes it all the more worthy of adding them to your produce drawer.

4. They are heart healthy

Research shows that plums may also provide protective benefits for heart health. “A recent study found that dried plums may have lowered cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as inflammation and antioxidant capacity,” says Vaca-Flores. Also, remember the previous call for anthocyanins? It turns out that an increased consumption of these powerful antioxidants can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseasewho is the leading cause of death in men and women around the world.

Plums versus prunes: is one form more beneficial than the other?

While I’ve already firmly planted my flag in #TeamPlum territory (and I hope you’ll join me now), you might be wondering if plums and prunes are just as nutritious and beneficial to your health, or whether a shape should take precedence. “Prunes are simply dried plums,” says Vaca-Flores. “The main difference is that prunes are slightly higher in calories, fiber and vitamin K.”

That said, Vaca-Flores says she doesn’t prefer one over the other, so you can choose your own diet adventure on this one. “They both make great healthy snacks that can increase your daily fruit intake,” she concludes. But, you know, might as well stock up on a variety of fresh, deliciously juicy whole plums while they’re still in season.

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