Plum is so sweet, delicious, juicy and very colourful. To get hold of the fruit with all these spectacular attributes, then…………..
Walk into your supermarket, farmers markets or local shops and you will be offered this amazing fruit commonly known as plum. This fruit is deemed as drupe and is of the Prunus genus of plants that is closely related to peach and apricot. While some studies believe that plum originated from Armenia, few others however believed that the fruit is of Mesopotamia origin.
Mature plum fruit has a characteristic dull white layer, referred to as a wax bloom while the ripe ones has a purple skin with a firm stony pit enveloping the seed. The fruits are firm, oval shaped, medium sized, juicy with tart or sweet taste.
Nutritional values of Plum
Plum is a rich source of energy, carbohydrates, sugars, riboflavin (B2), vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, phosphorus.
The phenolic antioxidant compounds of plum such as lutein and zeaxanthin reduces the amount of harmful free radicals thereby protecting the human body from diseases and ageing effects.
Plum contain beta-carotene, vitamin E, thiamine (B1), iron, potassium, zinc, folate (B9).
It is a rich source of vitamin K which aids in the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure.
It also contains pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (B3), calcium which is essential for maintaining strong immune system.
Plum is also a rich source of dietary fiber which assists in preventing constipation, hemorrhoids and minimising the risk of colon cancer due to its dietary fiber attribute.
The insoluble fibre assists in maintaining a healthy colon.
Plum is a great constituent of Sorbitol and Isatin which are very effective in regulating the digestive system for easy passage of stools.
It is also a vital source of phyto-chemicals with antioxidant properties.
Plum's soluble fibre constituent helps to balance the blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate of glucose absorption and delaying the rate at which food leaves the stomach.
This soluble fibre compound also helps to boost the insulin sensitivity thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Because plum slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, it creates a sense of fullness thereby minimising the risk of overeating which could possible lead to overweight and obesity.
It is also low in calories, which makes it ideal for individuals who are very concerned about their weight.
Dried plums are processed for convenience and for long term preservation as they do not require storage in the fridge. Although dried, they still contain all the needed nutrients and add up to the much advocated 5-A-DAY. They have a very unique natural sweet taste and do contain glucose and fructose with little or no sucrose.
How to Consume plum
Plums can be eaten fresh, dried or used for various cuisines. Before eating plum, it is suitable to remove the seeds. When plums are refrigerated, they become soggy hence most preferable not to refrigerate.
It is important to leave plums at room temperature if refrigerated, as this helps to resurrect its juiciness and freshness before consumption.
To use plum for food preparation, it is important to firstly blanch it in hot water for at least one minute, then pour cold water on it before peeling the skin.
Heber D, 2004. Vegetables, fruits and phytoestrogens in the prevention of diseases. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine pp. 147–148
Lozano M, Vidal-Aragón MC, Hernández MT, Ayuso MC, Bernalte MJ, García J, Velardo B, 2009. Physicochemical and nutritional properties and volatile constituents of six Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) cultivars. European Food Research and Technology pp. 405–408
McCune LM, Kubota C, Stendell-Hollis NR, Thomson CA, 2011. Cherries and health: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition pp. 3–10