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Health food of the month - Plums

May 2013

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Diet & Supplements Index

Health Food of the Month: PlumsPlums are some of the most commonly recognisable foods.

Today soft round plums in their range of colours from red and dark mauve through to gold and soft yellows can be found in all the major supermarkets and food shops across the world.

The plum (prunus domestica) is related to the peach and almond family and is native to China and America and Europe. Today however they are grown across the world and there are now over 2,000 varieties of plums.

They tend to share the same basic nutritional qualities although some colours have stronger levels of certain nutrients. For instance, the purple varieties especially have been hailed as a new super food because of their high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

But plums generally offer a wide range of useful benefits. They are a good source of B-complex vitamins, essential for the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and are fairly rich in vitamin B-3, or niacin, which can assist in improving circulation and reducing cholesterol. A single plum can contain around 0.019 mg of vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine, needed to make the mood-stabilizing brain chemical serotonin. They also contain high levels of vitamin C, with 6.3 mg plus 228 IU of vitamin A per average plum.

That’s not all! An average sized plum can provide useful levels of beta-carotene plus 104 mg of potassium, an essential mineral necessary to maintain stable blood pressure and heart rates. Plums also contain 0.11 mg of iron, a trace mineral vital in the production of red blood cells, as well as .07 mg of zinc, needed for wound healing. Plums also contain levels of manganese (antioxidant) and copper which is involved in the production of blood cells.

All in all, this is a strong combination of key nutritional aspects. The only negative really is that plums contain oxalic acid. This can crystallize and end up causing kidney stones, so anyone over indulging in plums is advised to ensure they also drink adequate levels of water.




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