Plums, or plums, are the fruits of the plum tree (Prunus domestica), rich in antioxidants and minerals and appreciated for their sweet and juicy taste. However, they are valid allies for intestinal well-being, bone health and the cardiovascular system. Plums, eaten dry or fresh, can be on our tables all year round.
Plums, The Plant And The Habitat
Prunus domestica belongs to the Rosaceae family with apricot, cherry, peach, pear and apple. The natural habitat of the plum tree varies according to the species and varieties, but generally, it finds an optimal location in temperate climates. For good flowering and fruiting, plum plants require a cold winter season followed by a mild spring. They are typically shrubs or small trees whose leaves are oval, dark green and characterized by serrated edges.
In spring, they produce fragrant white or pink flowers, attracting pollinating insects. The origin of the plum is European, even if it is difficult to establish precisely where it comes from. The complexity derives from the high number of species belonging to the same genus (Prunus). The fruits of the plum tree are commonly called plums or prunes and are considered in season from June to October.
Variety Of Plums
Among the most critical varieties of plums from a commercial point of view, we find:
- Santa Rosa, one of the most famous plum varieties, has dark purple skin; the flesh is sweet and juicy. Its origin is Sino-Japanese. It is widely sold to be eaten fresh, but can also be used to make jams and preserves.
- Angeleno is a variety of plum with red skin. It has a slightly sour taste and is often used to prepare sweets, jams and ice creams.
- Mirabelle, a variety of plum originally from India, has golden yellow skin and is smaller.
- Prunus Mume This is the main variety used to make umeboshi plums. Japanese plums are usually small and green in color when unripe and take on a red or yellow tinge when ripe. They are used to produce umeboshi, literally ” dried plums “, jams, syrups and traditional Japanese drinks.
- Plums of Italy of blue-black color with sweet and dense pulp, particularly suitable for producing dried plums and making preserves, jams and cakes.
Prunes’ Nutritional Values And Calories
Prunes are nutritious fruits and contain various vitamins, minerals and fiber. The nutritional values and calories of prunes may vary slightly depending on the type and size of the fruit. One hundred grams of fresh plums provide about 46 kcal. Let’s see what the average nutritional values in terms of macro and micronutrients per 100 grams of fresh plums (stoneless) are:
- Carbohydrates: about 12 grams.
- Protein: approximately 0.7 grams.
- Fat: approximately 0.2 grams.
- Fibres: about 2 grams.
- Sugars: about 9 grams.
- Vitamin C: about 6 milligrams.
- Vitamin K: about six micrograms.
- Potassium: about 157 milligrams.
- Calcium: about 6 milligrams.
- Iron: about 0.2 milligrams.
- Magnesium: about 7 milligrams.
Main Properties Of Plums
Prunes are precious allies for intestinal well-being; Rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble; they help promote intestinal regularity, promoting digestive health. The quantity of prunes recommended in order not to have a laxative effect is around 150g of fresh plums per day which corresponds to about 2-3 pitted plums.
Plums, especially dried ones, are known for their laxative properties. They contain a type of fiber called sorbitol, which can help promote bowel regularity and relieve constipation. While prunes are relatively high in natural sugars due to their fiber and water content, they can help create a feeling of fullness and help control your appetite, which can be beneficial for weight control and avoiding gaining weight.
If dried plums are consumed, it must be considered that the sugar and calorie content will be more concentrated than in fresh plums due to the loss of water during the drying process; for this reason, the portion of dried plums, unless specifically indicated otherwise, will not exceed 30g 2-3 times a week. The antioxidants in prunes may help improve heart and arterial health by reducing inflammation and protecting the cardiovascular system. Also, the excellent potassium content in prunes can help keep your blood pressure in check.
Benefits Of Prunes
Prunes are known to be anti-inflammatory due to their antioxidant and fiber content; they can help reduce inflammation in the body. The antioxidants in prunes help neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and contribute to inflammation. Furthermore, being a good source of dietary fiber, they can help maintain a balance in the intestinal microbiota.
As known, a healthy intestinal microbiota is associated with a reduced risk of systemic inflammation. However, it is essential to remember that some people may be sensitive to prunes or constituents, such as sorbitol, which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloating or diarrhea.
Prunes give a few fundamental nutrients and minerals to the body. They are a decent wellspring of L-ascorbic acid, vitamin K, potassium and copper. L-ascorbic acid backings the safe framework, and vitamin K is fundamental for blood thickening and manages bone digestion, assisting with working on bone thickness.
How To Eat Plums
Prunes can be eaten in different formats.
- Fresh plums can be eaten as a snack or used in many sweet and savory recipes. When in season, they are juicy and sweet, perfect to be eaten as is or added to salads, smoothies or other sweet preparations.
- Umeboshi plums are Japanese unripe green plums that are salted and fermented. They are extraordinarily salty and have a strong sour taste. Umeboshi are often eaten as a condiment for rice, sushi, soups or salads typical of Japanese cuisine.
- Dried plums are ripe plums that have been dried to remove water. They are sweet, soft, and have a concentrated flavor; they can be eaten as a snack or added to cereals and yogurts.
- Prunes in syrup are prunes that have been cooked and preserved in sugar syrup. This process gives the prunes a smooth texture and sweet taste, they can be used as a topping for yogurt, ice cream or desserts, or they can be incorporated into cake or crumble cookie recipes.
It’s important to note that prunes and canned prunes may contain a more concentrated amount of sugar and calories than fresh prunes; Consuming them in moderation as part of a balanced diet is advisable.