Although the consumption of plums is usually associated with constipation, given that its richness in fiber can be a good natural treatment in this case, it would not be the only quality that would make this fruit commonly consumed in Spain stand out.
And it is that, according to a new work published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the daily consumption of plums would have potential far beyond gastrointestinal health, and may in turn improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of both heart and brain disease.
The secret, according to the study authors, would be in the rich in antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories of plums, which would enhance heart health and reduce overall cardiovascular risk, at least in healthy postmenopausal women. Currently, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, both at the heart and brain level.
Therefore, researchers at San Diego State University, directed Shirin Hooshmand, Ph. D., RD and professor at the School of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, have wanted to analyze if the consumption of certain fruits, such as plums, could grant positive effects on cardiovascular health.
In this case, the researchers recruited 48 healthy postmenopausal women, which were divided into three groups:
– The control group, who did not eat plums.
– A group that consumed 50 grams of plums per day.
– A group that consumed 100 grams of plums a day.
All participants were followed up during the six months the investigation lasted. Only the consumption of plums changed, with other aspects of the diet and lifestyle remaining similar to the time before the research began.
Were collected data from various cardiovascular risk biomarkers, both at the beginning and at the end of the study, in order to determine if there was any improvement in these markers or not.
According to their results, eating at least 50 grams of plums a day (5-6 plums) would improve various biomarkers, increasing HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol”, reducing total cholesterol, and reducing the total cholesterol – HDL cholesterol ratio.
In addition, there were also other improvements in other inflammatory biomarkers, such as a higher antioxidant capacity, lower levels of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 or tumor necrosis factor alpha, are related to an increased cardiovascular risk. But, on the other hand, both the weight As the body mass index of the participants remained stable during the six months of the study.
As Mark Kern, professor of nutrition in the School of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences well recalls, it is known that reducing chronic inflammation and increasing antioxidant capacity is associated with lower cardiovascular risk, and lower risk of disease in general.
However, although the study has established a relationship between the consumption of plums and improvements in cardiac and inflammatory biomarkers, the precise mechanisms by which this relationship with strangers is produced. In addition, it has not been possible to discern what exact compounds would be the ones that would contribute to these beneficial effects.
For the moment hypothesized about the potential of phenolic compounds and fiber contained in plums, which have a known and studied antioxidant effect, but for now it has not been possible to clarify. It will be necessary to continue studying about it.