Plums: Health benefits

Plums can be large or small, with red, purple, green, purple flesh. Plum is a fruit of the subgenus prunus of the genus prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera (peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc.)

Nutritionists say plums are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.


Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant, says plums also have several characteristics known for reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.


Health benefits


He says that plums have got plenty of antioxidants, the substances that protect the body against cell and tissue damage that could lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer among others.

He notes the presence of vitamin C which helps the body in the process of healing in case of illness.

“Vitamin C also helps when it comes to healing of muscles, and is great for the eyes,” he says.

On top of this, Ntamanga says, the fruit can help control high blood pressure and stroke.

Rene Tabaro, a nutritionist at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, says the potassium in plums is good for blood pressure.

“Potassium helps the body get rid of sodium when one urinates, and it lessens tension in the walls of the blood vessels. When the blood pressure is lower, the chances of getting a stroke goes down,” he says.

The nutritionist goes on to add that the phytochemicals and nutrients present in plums help lower the inflammation that triggers heart diseases.

Tabaro says eating plums on a regular basis can also help control anxiety. 

He says that when it comes to constipation, plums can help the system.

This, he says, is because they have a lot of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as a natural laxative.

Ntamanga says that eating three to four antioxidant-rich plums a day can help neutralise cell-damaging free radicals that affect your memory, as it helps in improving one’s memory.

Tabaro says vitamin E and beta-carotene, an antioxidant in plums, protect the fatty acids and the cell membranes from the attack of the free radicals, which allows the body to fight the signs of ageing skin, such as loss of elasticity and wrinkles.

Besides, he says plum contains a high amount of antioxidants and high anti-inflammatory properties, which increase the circulation and cell metabolism, reducing inflammation.

This, in turn, he says encourages the elasticity of the skin and keeps acne and wrinkles at bay.

Studies have linked plum consumption with a reduced risk of debilitating bone conditions, such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, which are characterised by low bone density.

Not only have plums been shown to prevent bone loss, they may also have the potential to reverse bone loss that has already occurred.

Nutritionists recommend eating them as a fruit, in smoothies or even added in a salad.

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