Did you know that there are more varieties of plum than any other species of stone fruit – about 200 or more! Plums come in many colour varieties, but all are jam packed with nutrients and are in season right now, so grab some and enjoy!
Prunes are dried plums – something not everyone is aware of. And prunes can also play a part in a balanced diet.
Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares why they are so great for health as well as some tips on including them in the diet.
Plums are rich in antioxidants
We know from the wealth of research available that antioxidants hold one of the keys to a healthy, disease-free life. Whilst the body has many antioxidant enzyme systems to help prevent disease, foods are also needed to feed these systems and to provide additional antioxidant protection. And this is where plums can stand proud! They have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, even in their dried prune form.
Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron, and plums are especially good in this respect. Plus, vitamin C is great for overall health and helps protect the immune system. Don’t forget children are returning to school soon and that’s when the ‘bug’ season really gets going!
Prunes encourage regularity
If you’re suffering from sluggish bowels, then prunes are your best friend in this respect. Prunes are high in insoluble fibre which feeds the friendly gut bacteria, helping solve digestive issues. Good levels of friendly bacteria are also needed to help form stools. Additionally, prunes provide bulk which also helps to get things moving.
Prunes can help weight management
Although prunes taste quite sweet, their soluble fibre content helps balance blood sugar levels, which in turn can aid successful weight management. It’s very difficult to lose weight when blood sugar is imbalanced as excess glucose is merely sent to fat cells for safe keeping.
Soluble fibre also promotes a feeling of fullness, making it less likely you’ll overeat. Why not include some, with an oat-based breakfast? Tinned prunes generally contain sugar-laden syrup, therefore look for those sold in transparent containers, generally in health food stores. If they’re too dry for you, then soaking them in a little hot water for a few minutes will work or in some light apple juice, to bring them back to life.
Poached plums for breakfast
Plums work really well on their own (straight from the tree is great), in jams or chutneys, or simply poached. Plus, they can be enjoyed in this way at any time of the day, to give you a nutrient boost.
Plums pair well with various spices, especially cinnamon. The great news is that cinnamon helps balance blood sugar so together they’re a perfect breakfast choice. Use natural stevia or xylitol if you need to sweeten them whilst they’re being poached in the oven, and you’ll avoid any sugar-rush.
Plums are great in savoury dishes
Whilst there are many ways plums can be enjoyed in sweet recipes, they also work well in savoury dishes, especially with duck. For a quick and easy meal, simply slice the plums into small pieces, add a cinnamon stick and a little honey to a pan and simmer for a few minutes. Then simply fry the duck breast in a little olive oil until cooked medium rare, slice on a plate and serve with the fruit mixture.
Plums are also delicious chopped into a salad with goat’s cheese or made into a versatile plum sauce that can be mixed with soy sauce, ginger and garlic and poured over chicken breasts.
Whichever way you decide to eat them, plums or prunes, they’ll provide wonderful health benefits and amazing flavour.
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