Experts Say We Should Be Eating More Fall Plums
Eating fruit, especially at the peak of its season, is a delicious way to incorporate many diverse phytonutrients into your diet. Plums contain a unique antioxidant that is effective at neutralizing a particularly harmful type of free radical. And like other fruits, plums also contain a healthy amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
This time of year, you can find big baskets of Italian plums at local farmer’s markets. These are the dusky, oval-shaped plums that have a second life as prunes. They’re sweet, juicy and great for baking. I love how their purple color melts into a cake batter.
Like most fruits, plums are good for you and the health benefits of plums are worth your attention. They are a good source of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These substances are especially effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical, and they also help prevent oxygen-based damage to fats, such as the fats that comprise a substantial portion of our brain cells or neurons, the cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in our bloodstream, or the fats that make up our cell membranes.
The other health benefits of plums can be attributed to their excellent nutritional profile. Plums are good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments that help protect your vision. Eating three or more servings of fruit a day can lower by about one-third your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
Plums are great “as is,” but it’s fun to figure out other ways to use them. Plum recipes may involve fresh plums or prunes (dried plums). Prunes and pork are a natural match, and Italian plums make a great coffee cake.