Plums are a kind of fruit with a stone or pit. When they are dried, people call them prunes. Both plums and prunes may have many health benefits due to being rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.

A person can eat plums and prunes with other foods or on their own. Plums and prunes can be ingredients in certain recipes, or people can make them into juices.

This article covers nutrition facts about plums, their benefits and risks, and ways to include them in the diet.

apples in a colander being washedShare on Pinterest
Matthew Leete/Getty Images

Plums are a type of small fruit that comes in many different varieties. In the United States, over 140 different types of plums are available. They come in many colors, including green, red, yellow, and purple. The flesh of the plum is usually yellow or red.

Plums are a kind of stone fruit. Stone fruits, or drupes, are fruits that contain a stone or a pit. This stone contains the seed of the fruit. Around the stone is an edible, fleshy exterior. Stone fruits that are similar to plums include peaches, apricots, and nectarines.

Generally, dried plums, or prunes, are oval shaped and have a wrinkly skin. Prunes can vary in color depending on the variety of plum they come from, but are usually dark purple or blue.

Plums are low in fat and on average have 30 calories per fruit. Plums are also a good source of many nutrients.

A single plum contains the following nutrients:

NutrientAmountPercentage of the Daily Value (DV)
Carbohydrate7.54 g3%
Fiber0.9 g3%
Protein0.46 g1%
Iron0.11 mg1%
Potassium103.62 mg2%
Magnesium4.62 mg 1%
Manganese0.034 mg1%
Phosphorus10.56 mg 2%
Copper0.038 mg 4%
Zinc0.07 mg1%
Niacin0.275 mg 2%
Pantothenic acid0.089 mg2%
Riboflavin0.017 mg1%
Thiamine0.018 mg2%
Vitamin A227.70 IU5%
Vitamin C6.3 mg7%
Vitamin B6 0.019 mg1%
Vitamin E0.17 mg1%
Vitamin K 4.2 mcg4%

Plums may deliver many different health benefits thanks to the many nutrients they contain.

Plums are a good source of vitamin A, which is important for:

  • eyesight
  • the immune system
  • reproduction
  • heart, lung, and kidney health

Plums are also rich in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that also helps the body produce collagen. In addition, vitamin C increases the body’s absorption of iron in the diet and helps the immune system work properly.

Plums and prunes are good sources of fiber. This nutrient can help promote a healthy digestive system.

A study from 2014 found that eating prunes may help a person pass stools more frequently. The researchers also concluded that prunes could help improve stool consistency.

Prunes contain high amounts of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has laxative properties. Research from 2014 suggests that prunes may help ease constipation symptoms.

There is also evidence to suggest that prunes may be beneficial for bone health. In 2016, researchers found that postmenopausal women who ate 50 g of prunes per day had improved bone health and a reduced rate of bone loss.

Further research from 2020 studied the effect of prunes in men with moderate bone loss. The researchers found that, after eating 100 g of prunes daily, participants had a lower rate of bone loss. They observed that the prunes also reduced inflammation and improved bone quality.

May help manage weight

Plums are low in fat, which could make them a beneficial snack for a person looking to lose weight.

In addition, there is research to show that plums and prunes can help a person feel fuller, meaning they are less likely to overeat. Prunes may also promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which aids nutrient absorption and removal of toxins.

May contribute to a healthy heart

Plums are a good source of potassium. This nutrient can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease.

Research from 2017 found that a potassium-rich diet helped reduce artery stiffening in mice with high cholesterol diets.

A study from 2017 looked into the effect of prune juice on people with high cholesterol. Researchers discovered that people who drank prune juice daily had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased HDL (good) cholesterol.

It is important to note that this study used participants in Taiwan. Scientists need to do more studies on the effects of plums and prunes in additional, diverse populations.

Rich in antioxidants

Plums contain high amounts of antioxidants. These are substances that help prevent cell damage from free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that form when the body:

  • exercises
  • converts food into energy
  • breathes in cigarette smoke
  • comes into contact with air pollution
  • is exposed to sunlight

Free radicals cause oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to cell damage. Oxidative stress can increase the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

Plums are rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties. Some research has shown polyphenols may help protect a person from developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

By eating antioxidant rich foods, such as plums, a person may reduce their risk of developing the many conditions associated with oxidative stress.

There are many ways a person can add plums to their diet. Someone can eat plums raw or cooked in various recipes.

Plums are also available to purchase as jam, which a person can spread on toast or eat in a sandwich. However, to reduce the amount of added sugar a person consumes, they should choose jams with low or no added sugar.

A person can also eat prunes plain or use them in cooking. Prune juice is a good source of nutrients.

Be careful to remove the stone when eating a plum. If a person swallows a plum stone, it may damage the esophagus or cause choking. The esophagus is the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach.

Additionally, a person should make sure not to blend, crush, or chew a plum stone. The seeds of stone fruit contain amygdalin, a chemical that the body converts into the toxin cyanide. If a person crushes or chews the stone and ingests the seed, it is possible they could become unwell.

That said, the National Capital Poison Center notes that unintentionally consuming stone fruit seeds in small amounts is unlikely to be harmful.

Plums are a stone fruit that comes in many varieties. Dried plums are called prunes.

Plums and prunes contain many nutrients. They are a good source of fiber as well as antioxidants.

Plums have many health benefits. A person can eat them to reduce their risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and high cholesterol. A person could also include them as part of a diet to manage their weight.

People consume plums and prunes in many forms, such as jam or juices. The stone of the plum may be slightly toxic if a person eats it, so try to remove it before eating.