Plum benefits for health and its side effects

Introduction

Plums are juicy, drupe fruit that belongs to the subgenus Prunus (family Rosaceae). This fruit is mostly consumed in America, China, and Europe. Nowadays their demand is growing very fast because of their flavor and appearance (1). There are more than 2000 varieties of plums. Only a few are commercially important. The most commonly grown species are the only difference is in their flesh color like yellow, white, green, and red prunes. Plum benefits for health are keeping bone healthy, antidiabetic, and laxative in nature. Types of plums are

  1. European plum (Prunus domestica)
  2. Japanese plum (P. salicina)
  3. Damson plum (P. insititia)

White coating of Plum

Edible white coating of plum helps in enhancing the resistance from the external environment and the shelf-life of the fruit. Generally, plum is treated with a different coating material such as carbohydrate, protein, and lipid-based materials (2).

Nutritional value of Plums

The plum fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes and also has high nutritional and medicinal value (3).

CompoundAmounts/ 100 g.
Water87.23 g
Energy                                                                    46 kcal
Protein0.70 g
Total lipid (  Fat)s0.28 g
Carbohydrates11.42 g
Dietary Fiber1.4 g
Sugar9.92 g
Minerals
Calcium6 mg
Iron0.17 mg
Magnesium7 mg
Phosphorous16 mg
Potassium157 mg
Sodium0
Zinc0.10 mg
Vitamins
Folates5 µg
Niacin0.42 mg
Riboflavin0.03 mg
Thiamin0.028 mg
Vitamin B-60.029 mg
Vitamin A345 IU
Vitamin E0.26 mg
Vitamin C9.5 mg
Vitamin K6.4   µg

Health Benefits of Plums

1. Memory enhancer

Eating plums (75 mg/kg) helps in enhancing memory. As it contains large amounts of polyphenols and phytochemicals like Neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, crypto chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, anthocyanins, flavanols, and flavonoids (4).

2. Prevents obesity

Plum juice is rich in dietary polyphenols and also carbohydrate-free. Therefore it helps in modifying the fecal bacterial composition thus decreases the body weight (5).

3. Antioxidant

The high antioxidant activity of fresh and dried plums is because of anthocyanins, flavonoid, and phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, rutin, and proanthocyanidin (6).

4. Antidiabetic

Consumption of plum decreases blood glucose and plasma triglyceride. As it contains chlorogenic acid which may lower the risk of type-2 diabetes (7).

5. Healthy Bones

Dried plum is rich in minerals like boron, copper, magnesium, and manganese which help in maintaining the calcium balance of the body (8). Thus significantly increases the bone mineral density of the ulna and spine in comparison with dried apples and prevents osteoporosis in postmenopausal women (9).

6. Laxative

Plims act as a natural laxative because of polyphenols, dietary fibers, and sorbitol. Hence eating plums is helpful in mild constipation (10).

7. Improve digestion

Carotenoids and polyphenols found in plums reduced gastrointestinal inflammation and stimulated digestion (11).

8. Healthy heart

Dried plums help in slowing down the development of atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Compounds like pectin and fibers also lower the liver and plasma cholesterol thus having anti-inflammatory properties (12).

9. Treats influenza

Plum concentrate juice contains lectin-like molecules that may prevent and reduce infection caused by the human influenza A virus (13).

10. Prevents Hepatitis C Virus Entry

Flavonoid rutin in plum prevents hepatitis C virus (HCV)  entry. It may act as an antiviral agent for the development of anti-HCV therapeutics in the management of HCV infection (14).

11. Treats anxiety disorder

Chlorogenic acids found in plums also contain anxiolytic activity. Therefore,  plum is safe and significantly reduces moderate to severe General Anxiety Disorder symptoms (15).

12. Anti-cancerous

Dietary fiber and polyphenols mainly chlorogenic and neo-chlorogenic acids in plums helps in lowering colon and breast cancer risk (16).

13. Prevents age-related cognitive disease

Plums are rich in natural antioxidants thus protects from oxidative stress and inflammatory on neurologic processes decline in cognitive performance occurred in animals and humans.

14. Antimicrobial

Plum contains a phenolic compound that shows antibacterial activity against the human pathogenic bacteria Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Protease mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus (17).

Side effects of Plums

1. Allergy

A person who is allergic to birch pollen should not eat a plum. As both have similar types of proteins. Therefore, it results in allergic symptoms in the mouth and throat with itching and inflammation (18).

Difference between Plum and Prune

Prunes are the dried fruits of some cultivars of plums. It contains concentrated source nutritive, laxative, and digestive compounds. Hence used for the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, jaundice, and fever. Plums are healthier than prunes. As prunes are dried out by different techniques that produce detrimental effects on the quality of fruits, mainly oxidative damage, browning, loss of flavor, and extensive shrinkage, which reduce the sensory and nutritional quality of the products. Therefore consuming plums instead of prunes are good for health (19).

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