The plant is best described as small tree or large shrub and widely cultivated in the United States, Europe, Japan and China. Many cultivars of plums are grown all over the world, which differ in their color, size and growing characteristics based upon their country of origin. Generally, each variety of the plum trees bears numerous, almost uniform sized fruits between May and September months.
It has sweet and tart taste pulp with pleasant aroma. Some common cultivars of plums are: cherry plum, damson, blackthorn plum.
Health benefits of Plums
Delicious, fleshy, succulent plums are low in
calories (46 calories per 100 g) and contain no saturated fats;
however, contain numerous health promoting compounds, minerals and
Certain health benefiting
compounds present in the plum fruits, such as dietary fiber, sorbitol, and isatin are known to
help regulate the functioning of the digestive system and thereby
relieve constipation conditions.
Total antioxidant strength of plums measured
in terms of ORAC
(Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is 6259 µmol TE/100 g.
Fresh berries are a moderate source of vitamin
C, which is also a powerful natural
antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body
resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge
harmful free radicals.
Fresh plums, especially yellow Mirabelle type,
are a moderate source of vitamin
A and beta
carotene. Vitamin A is essential for good eye sight. It is
also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin.
Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has found to protect
from lung and oral cavity cancers.
The fruit is also good in health promoting
flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin and
zea-xanthin in significant amounts. These compounds help act as
scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen
species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Zea-xanthin, an
important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal
macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective
UV light-filtering functions.
Plums are plentiful in minerals like
potassium, fluoride and iron. Iron is required for red blood cell
formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids
that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition, the berries are moderate sources
in B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 and
pantothenic acid. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help the body
metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They also provide about 5%
RDA levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for many clotting
factors function in the blood as well as in bone metabolism and help
reduce Alzheimer's disease in the elderly.