Sunday, October 20, 2013

Plums nutrition facts

Wonderfully delicious and juicy plums are botanically belonging within the family of Rosaceae. The fruit is a drupe belonging to the genus: Prunus which also includes peaches, nectarine, almonds and damson. Scientific name: Prunus domestica.
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.

Each berry is about the size of medium-sized tomato, measuring about 5-6 cm in diameter and weigh about 50-70 g. It has central depression at the stem side. Internally, the pulp is juicy and varies widely from creamy yellow, crimson, light-blue or light-green in color depending upon the cultivar type.
There is centrally placed single, smooth but hard stone-like seed. Seeds are inedible.
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 vitamins.
  • 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 ┬Ámol 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 develop 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.