Plums are native to the Caucasus Mountain near the Caspian Sea, where the European plum or Prunus Domistica descended from. This fruit was a staple food of the Tartars, Huns, Turks and the Mongols. It was believed to have been brought to Rome around 200 B.C. Another story has it that it was domesticated in China around 2,000 years ago with written records as far back as 479 B.C. European plums was brought to North America along with the British settlers in the 17th century. The drying process of plums into prunes in the U.S. started in California in the mid-19th century, and today, California is the leading worldwide producer of prunes.
The plum tree grows to a height of 10 to 20 feet and has reddish to brown furrowed bark. The leaves vary in shape and sizes depending on the variety. It develops tiny white flowers once the tree started fruiting. Plums have smooth skin texture that may come in red, green, yellow and purple colors. The flesh in red color is sweeter as compared to the yellow color but are both juicy. The tree starts to fruit on its 3rd year and drop after the 10th year.
What you find inside this fruit in terms of nutrition are simply amazing. It’s the best source of fiber, sorbitol, isatin, potassium and of vitamin A and K. Dried plum is amazingly high in phytonutrients called phenols, particularly neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids. It also has a significant load of beta-carotene as well as a good supply of antioxidant like anthocyanin and quercetin. And gives out a mere 30 calorie count, making it diet friendly. Not bad, Right?
Dried plums are well known for its ability in relieving constipation, but their health benefits go beyond keeping a well-oiled digestive tract. This superfruit is your best protection against chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. It keeps your blood pressure in check and lessen your risk of having a stroke. It also helps you produce healthy blood cells, maintains a healthy vision. It helps you rid your brain of free radicals that damages the brain cells and reverse the signs of aging. It aids in improving bone health, keeping off osteoporosis and is particularly effective in reducing the risk of bone fracture. If you’re diabetic, dried plums’ high fiber content can keep your blood sugar level stable, and raises your body’s sensitivity to insulin. It can also help you from gaining weight due to the soluble fiber in your stomach that keeps you feeling full.
Eating too much of dried plums may lead to diarrhea and too much of fiber in your stomach causes gas. Dried plums have measurable amounts of oxalate that when it gets too concentrated in your body fluid can crystallize and cause health issues. So, to enjoy dried plums, eat them in moderation.
Trivia time! Do you know that plum seed contain a compound called amygdalin that turns into a toxic compound known cyanide inside our body? Best to buy them dried and pitted.
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