Plums originated in Asia and were brought to the United States in the 1870s. Plums are a member of the plant genus Prunus, which also includes cherries, apricots and almonds. You can't go wrong adding plums to your diet. Plums are low in calories and can help you meet your daily fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C needs.
Low in Calories
Plums are a low-energy dense food, which means they contain few calories compared to their portion size. For example, two medium plums have just 70 calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, or CDC, says including more low-energy dense foods in your diet can help you limit your calorie intake for weight loss and hunger control.
Low-glycemic Index Food
Most of the calories in the plum come from carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Two medium plums contain 19 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of sugar. Despite being high in carbohydrates and sugar, plums are a low-glycemic index food, according to the University of Sydney GI Database. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrate-containing foods on how they affect blood sugar. Foods with a low-glycemic index only cause a slight rise in blood sugar, while foods with a high-glycemic index cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Eating too many high-glycemic index foods can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, while eating foods with a low-glycemic index helps promote weight loss and control diabetes.
Good Source of Fiber
Plums are also a source of fiber. Two medium plums contain 2 grams of fiber. Adults need 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day, and most only consume about 15 grams, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fiber in food slows digestion, which helps control hunger. Fiber also adds bulk to stool to help alleviate and prevent constipation. Fiber can also prevent you from absorbing cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Good Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin. You need adequate intake of vitamin C to make collagen, an important component found in your connective tissue. Collagen is also necessary for proper wound healing. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements -- NIH ODS -- explains that vitamin C is also an important antioxidant, protecting your cells from oxidation by free radicals, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron. Two medium plums meet 10 percent of your daily value, or about 6 milligrams.
Good Source of Vitamin A
Plums can help you meet your vitamin A needs. Two medium plums provide 8 percent of your daily value for vitamin A, or about 400 international units. Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin needed for eye health, growth and development, bone strength, immune health and reproduction, according to the NIH ODS.
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Plum: Nutrition . Selection . Storage
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Plums, Raw
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A and Carotenoids
- The University of Sydney: GI Database: Plums
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar