Jun 042013

Nutritious plums are in season now, and according to recent research the nutrition in plums can equal that of blueberries.  Here’s why—People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time, maybe on top of cereal or sprinkled in a fruit salad.  It’s not difficult to eat more than one plum as a nutritious snack, so you’re really getting a hefty dose of nutrients, antioxidants, and phyto-chemicals.  Plus, they are much less expensive.

Plums are produced around the world, and may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans.  Nutritious plums are in season now and are less expensive than most of the high powered superfruits. A trip to your local grocery store is all that it takes to find fresh plums; or you can purchase them in their dried form as prunes.  Learn more about the nutrition and health benefits of plums, and put them on your shopping list.

Nutrition in Plums

One plum has just 30 calories, >1 gram of fat, 7.5 grams of carbohydrate,  0.5 grams of protein, and almost 2 grams of fiber.  For their size they are a good source of Vitamin C.

Health Benefits in Plums and Prunes

Stone fruits, also known as drupes, such as nectarines, plums and peaches, may contain useful compounds that help fight-off metabolic syndrome,  in which inflamationand obesity eventually lead to serious illnesses and health problems.

Plums contain phytonutrients that can not only prevent cancer but can also regulate insulin and blood sugar. The phytonutrients found in plums control the release of glucose into the blood after you have just eaten a meal. Plums have good amounts of potassium, long established as being able to control blood pressure. So plums are perfect fruits for regulating insulin between meals.

Plums are also rich in vitamins A and C and are known to have a natural laxative affect.  Because of their fiber content, plums are a great way to keep the digestive tract in good health.

Postmenopausal women who regularly eat dried plums (prunes) have a considerably lower risk of developing osteoporosis or fractures compared to other women of the same age, researchers from Florida State University reported. Dried plums suppress the bone re-absorption rate, or bone breakdown – this eventually exceeds new bone growth rates as people get older.

Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes.  Start with 2-3 a day, and increase slowly.

How to select and store Plums

Choose plums that yield to gentle pressure and that are slightly soft at their tip. While you can also purchase plums that are firm and ripen them at home by placing them in a paper bag with a banana, avoid those that are excessively hard as they will be immature and will probably not develop the taste you are expecting.

Plums that are not yet ripe can be left at room temperature. As this fruit tends to mature quickly, check on them frequently to ensure that they do not become overripe. Once they are ripe, plums can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

One word of caution, plums contain oxalates. If you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, it may be best to avoid eating plums.

Recipe for Honey Roasted Plums

Enjoy this week’s recipe for Honey Roasted Plums—simple, yet elegant, in its presentation.  Serve with Greek yogurt, ice cream, or creme fraiche.

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