What is Victoria Plum ?
Victoria plum is small tree or large shrub. It is widely cultivated at commercial scale in the United States, Europe, Japan and China. Several cultivars of plums are grown all over the world which differ in their color, size and growth characteristics. Generally, each variety of the plum tree bears numerous, almost uniform sized berries between May and September months.
Health Benefits of Victoria Plum
Plums are packed with an immense range of phenols and flavonoids, which offer an impressive range of health benefits.
Diabetes: Plums exert anti-hyperglycemic effects and help in combating diabetes. Studies have shown that the consumption of plum extracts aids in the reduction of blood glucose and levels of triglyceride in the body. The flavonoids present in plums exert protective effects against insulin resistance and help to enhance insulin sensitivity in the body.
Antioxidants: Plums contains vitamin C and phytonutrients such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These components possess effective antioxidant qualities which help in preventing the damage caused by oxygen radicals called superoxide anion radicals. The phenols present in plums also extend their protective effect on the essential fats in the neurons and cell membranes against any injuries caused by oxidative stress.
Osteoporosis: Consumption of dried plums exerts anabolic and anti-resorptive actions, which aid in maintaining healthy bones. Flavonoids such as caffeic acid and rutin that are both present in plums help in inhibiting the deterioration of bone tissues and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Polyphenols, along with the potassium content present in dried plums, encourage the formation of bones, enhances bone density and prevents bone loss caused by ovarian hormone deficiency. Research has demonstrated that regular consumption of dried plums helps in the restoration of bone density that has already been lost due to aging.
Digestion: Plums are a good source of dietary fiber, along with the components sorbitol and isatin, which help in regulating the digestive system. According to research studies, dried plums or prunes are more effective in treating digestive disorders such as constipation as compared to other remedies such as psyllium husk. Sorbitol and isatin have a laxative effect and encourage the secretion of fluids in the bowels and promote the efficient flushing of waste through the colon.
Obesity: Plum extracts are valuable for treating obesity and other complications associated with obesity. Studies have shown that consumption of stone fruits such as plums helps in fighting metabolic syndrome, due to the presence of bioactive compounds. The flavonoids and phenolic components such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin, and catechins present in plums exert anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects on the different bodily cells, including the fat cells, and they also help in preventing obesity-related problems such as cholesterol disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Cognitive Health: Studies have shown that the flavonoids present in plum juice are effective in providing protection against age-related cognitive impairment. The beneficial phytonutrients present in plums help in reducing the inflammation in the neurological areas to improve learning and memory functions. Regular consumption of plums also helps in preventing age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Nervous System: Plums contain vitamin B-6, which helps in the transmission of nerve signals and aids in the smooth functioning of the nervous system. They also help in the normal growth of the brain and assist in the formation of mood influencing hormones. Tryptophan, an amino acid present in them, helps in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays an important role in the sleep, appetite and concentration.
Immune System: Plums are beneficial in strengthening the immune defense of the body due to the presence of high vitamin C content. It promotes the body’s resistance against various infections and inflammations. Research has shown that oriental plums have immunostimulatory constituents that encourage the production of nitric oxide in the body, impede the metastasis of tumor cells, and are valuable in preventing various diseases.
Cardiovascular Health: The consumption of plums helps to maintain cardiovascular health. Research has provided supporting evidence regarding the fact that the regular intake of dried plums helps in promoting fluidity of blood in the arteries. This protective effect aids in the prevention of various cardiac disorders, including the development of atherosclerosis and the reduction in chances for heart attacks and strokes.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels: Dried plums or prunes help in preventing hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia. A comparative study has proven the efficacy of prunes over grape-juice in maintaining healthy levels of plasma and liver cholesterol. The fiber content present in plums also adds to the protective effect of the heart by reducing LDL cholesterol and helping to elevate the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
Weight Loss: Research conducted by the University of Liverpool suggests that intake of prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss.
Cellular Health: Plums contains essential iron and copper which assists in the formation of red blood cells and facilitates blood purification and healthy circulation. The copper in plums acts as an antioxidant and is essential for nerve health and aids in the formation of collagen. Consumption of copper-rich plums also helps in the absorption of iron and prevents various diseases such as anemia and osteoarthritis.
Anxiety: Regular consumption of plums help in reducing anxiety. Studies have provided supporting evidence regarding the anxiolytic effects and antioxidant properties of chlorogenic acids present in plums, which help in curing anxiety-related behaviors and damage caused by oxidative stress.
Influenza: Japanese plums are effective against the infection caused by influenza A virus. Studies have shown that concentrated juice of Japanese plums contains lectin-like molecules which help in inhibiting and treating the infections caused by human influenza A virus.
Pregnancy: Plums and plum products are beneficial during pregnancy, due to the abundance of numerous vitamins and minerals. These beneficial components are vital for eye-sight, development of bones and tissues, and cellular health for the mother and the growing baby. The fiber content aids in preventing constipation and improves digestion. The inclusion of plums as a part of balanced diet helps in fighting various infections and maintains overall health. However, one should be careful regarding the choice of commercially available plum juices as they might contain high amounts of sugar.
Uses of Victoria Plum
- Plum sections can be a great addition to salads.
- The fruits are being used in the preparation of pie, desserts, jams, and jellies.
- They can also be used in a variety of recipes and are usually baked or poached.
- Dried plums, in general known as prunes, can be added to muffins, cakes, ice-creams, etc., as in other dry fruits like raisins, apricots and figs.