Plums are stone fruits. This means their flesh is surrounded by a hard pit called a stone. Plums are available in a rainbow of hues from dark purple and blue to red and golden yellow.
Plums peak from May to October, although in some states you may be able to enjoy them year-round.
Read on to learn how many calories are in sweet, juicy plums, and how they may benefit your health.
Calorie content of plums
One cup of plums contains only about 76 calories. That’s great news if you’re watching your weight. When your sweet tooth is in overdrive, reach for a plum instead of a cookie. You’ll avoid consuming a lot of empty calories and fat.
Dried plums are called prunes, although they’re often simply called dried plums. Plums that are suitable for drying are high in sugars and acidity to help prevent spoilage. Even so, prunes are low in calories. One pitted dried prune has 23 calories. Prunes are dense and filling, and most people only eat a couple at a time.
Prune juice is made from prunes or fresh plums. It’s higher in calories than raw plums and prunes. One cup of prune juice has 182 calories. You may not drink an entire cup of prune juice at once, but if you drink it throughout the day, the calories will add up.
In general, prunes are low in calories. But here’s the catch: Although prunes are sweet on their own, some manufacturers add sugars to prunes and prune products. Prune juice may also have added sugar. This significantly adds to the calorie count. Look for brands with no added sugars.
What are the health benefits of plums?
Plums are good for you. Here are several health benefits of eating them:
Help you stay hydrated
Water doesn’t only come from a bottle or your faucets. It’s found in many fruits. A 2 1/8-inch diameter plum is almost 60 percent water. Just like the water you drink, the water you consume when you munch on a plum helps you stay hydrated.
Rich in antioxidants
According to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food on mice, plums are rich in natural antioxidants that protect granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, from oxidative stress. Study results suggest that polyphenolic compounds such as flavonoids are largely responsible for plums’ antioxidant activity.
Help relieve constipation
Prunes and prune juice are popular home remedies for constipation. According to a study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics on 40 people with constipation, prunes are better than psyllium for treating mild to moderate constipation.
According to Science Daily, recent research shows that plums may help prevent colon cancer by boosting beneficial bacteria in your gut and reducing the damaging effects of free radicals. Although this research is promising, more study is needed.
Help prevent osteoporosis
Bone loss is common in postmenopausal women. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, prunes are the most effective fruit in both preventing and reversing bone loss. The study found that prunes improved bone mineral density by slowing the rate of bone turnover.
May prevent plaque buildup in your arteries
When plaque builds up in your arteries (atherosclerosis), it makes it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to reach your heart, brain, and other parts of your body. Depending on which arteries are affected, the buildup may lead to a heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or kidney disease.
According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the antioxidant activity in dried plums may slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
Good source of nutrients
Eating a plum won’t give you 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of any one nutrient, but plums are still a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
Plums also contain small amounts of:
- vitamin E
- B vitamins
- pantothenic acid
How to buy plums at the store
The tastiest plums are heavy and slightly soft. They should smell fruity. Firm, odorless plums aren’t ripe yet. They’ll ripen in a couple days if you put them in a closed paper bag at room temperature. Avoid squishy plums with wrinkled skin, bruises, or cracked skin.
Ways to add plums to your diet
Plums are delicious eaten raw. If you’re feeling the urge to up your culinary skills, try these ideas to add plums to your diet:
- grill plum halves and serve them with beef or poultry
- make plum jam
- add diced plums to green leafy salads
- add diced plums to chicken salad
- add chopped, fresh plums or prunes to yogurt, oatmeal, and fruit parfaits
- add diced plums or prunes to smoothies
- make a plum pie
- add diced plums to your favorite salsa and serve with grilled chicken
- add chopped prunes to muffins, cereals, and pancakes
Plums are a low-calorie food with no fat. They’re chock-full of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants to help support your overall health. For every plum or prune you eat, you’ll get about 1 gram of fiber. If you cook plums, you’ll get even more in a serving. One cup of stewed plums provides almost 8 grams of fiber.
Fiber helps prevent constipation and promotes healthy bowels. It may also lower cholesterol, help you maintain good blood sugar levels, and help you stay fuller longer so you eat less. But if you eat too much fiber in a short period of time and don’t drink enough water, gas, bloating, and diarrhea may occur. Keep this in mind as you add plums and prunes to your diet. To treat constipation, try eating 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories.