Benefits of Plums for Health, Good for the Brain to Lower Cholesterol Levels

Plums are one of the superfood foods. Plums belong to the Rosaceae family which also includes peaches, apricots, and nectarines. Here are the health benefits of plums.

What Are The Health Benefits of Plums?

1. Maintain a healthy digestive system

The best known benefit of plums is their ability to prevent constipation. Plum fiber compacts the faecal mass and promotes its elimination process, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Meanwhile, the insoluble fiber of plums, serves to provide food for the good bacteria that live in the large intestine, thereby helping to preserve its population.

The good bacteria in the intestines produce short chain fatty acids called butyric acid. Butyric acid serves as the main fuel for colon cells and helps maintain the health of the organs.

The good bacteria in the gut create two other short-chain fatty acids, propionic and acetic acids, which are used as fuel by liver and muscle cells. These friendly bacteria also fight disease-causing pathogens and prevent them from surviving in the digestive tract.

2. Lower cholesterol

The propionic acid produced by plum fiber is a type of insoluble fiber. Medical evidence so far reports that propionic acid has cholesterol-lowering properties. In animal studies, propionic acid has been shown to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver.

By lowering the activity of this enzyme, propionic acid helps lower blood cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body through feces. Bile acids are compounds used to digest fat produced by the liver from cholesterol.

When bile acids are excreted together with plum fiber, the liver must produce new bile acids and break down more cholesterol, thereby lowering the amount of cholesterol in circulation. Soluble fiber can also reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver.

3. Contains high antioxidants

Plums contain unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids. Both of these substances are classified as phenols.

Phenol is a type of antioxidant that has been shown to be effective at neutralizing harmful free radicals called superoxide anion radicals.

Phenol has also been shown to help prevent the breakdown of oxygen in fat. Body cells, including brain cells and molecules such as cholesterol are mostly composed of fat, so it is important to prevent free radical damage to fat.

4. Maintain heart health

Prunes are a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that helps in various vital body functions. This mineral helps maintain heart rhythm, nerve impulses, heart muscle contraction, and blood pressure which can reduce the risk of stroke.

Because the body does not produce potassium naturally, regularly consuming prunes or the juice version can help you meet your daily potassium needs.

What's more, plum's natural coloring agent, anthocyanin, can protect against cancer by neutralizing harmful free radicals.

5. Prevent anemia

Shortness of breath, irritability, pale skin, and fatigue are signs of mild anemia. Anemia occurs when the body doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells. To make healthy red blood cells, your body needs adequate iron intake.

Prunes are a great source of iron and can help prevent and treat iron deficiency. Two hundred and fifty grams of prunes contain 0.81 milligrams of iron, which provides 4.5 percent of the body's daily iron needs.

6. Treating osteoporosis

Dried plums are an important source of the mineral boron, which can help build strong bones and muscles. Boron can also help improve mental acuity and muscle coordination.

Plum is even believed to have the potential to treat osteoporosis. A joint study from Florida State University and Oklahoma State University shows evidence that prunes can prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women who are prone to osteoporosis.

The benefits of plums for bone health also include fighting the loss of bone density due to radiation to the bone marrow.

7. Lowering blood sugar

Plums include foods that have a low glycemic index level. This means that these foods can help you control blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

8. Reducing the risk of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema, is a type of chronic disease that causes breathing problems. There are many causes of COPD, but smoking is currently the direct cause of both of these diseases.

A new study reports that foods containing polyphenols, including antioxidants, can reduce the risk of COPD. Prunes are high in antioxidants, which can fight the damage caused by smoking by neutralizing oxidative stress.

This may help reduce the chances of emphysema, COPD, and lung cancer, although no studies have specifically looked at prunes for lung health.

9. Reducing the risk of colon cancer

Colon cancer is often difficult to detect, but its progression can be very malignant. Eating foods high in antioxidants are reported to help reduce your risk of this cancer.

A recent study conducted by Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina determined that eating dried plums increases the population of good bacteria in the colon. This, in turn, can reduce the risk of colon cancer.

10. Increase brain acuity

Besides playing a role in fighting free radicals in the body that can trigger cancer, important antioxidants from plums can prevent senility because they help neutralize free radicals that damage brain cells.

To get the benefits of plums on this one, it is enough to regularly eat 3-4 fruits a day.

11. Lose weight

Plums can help you manage your weight. The reason is, this dark purple fruit which tastes sour contains a lot of fiber and has a low glycemic index.

Dense plum fruit fiber is slow to digest by the body while the low glycemic index plays a role in regulating the release of blood sugar levels, thus making you full longer.

Prunes contain natural sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with a slow absorption rate in the body.

Interested in starting to eat plums? But not too much, excessive consumption of plums can cause flatulence and constipation. Excessive fiber intake can also cause diarrhea.

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