Among stone fruits, plums—both fresh and dried—are often overlooked. If you’re health-conscious, don’t make that mistake. For starters, the dark purple hue is a giveaway that plums are loaded with micronutrients. “They’re full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals,” says Carla Schuit, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Medicine in Winfield, Illinois. Three plums, which total fewer than 100 calories, contain 30 percent of your day’s vitamin C needs and provide vitamins A and K, which help with things like immune function and blood clotting.
Plus, dried plums are great for bone health. A review of research in the journal Nutrients shows that phenolics likely deserve the credit; these compounds help retain bone mineral density.
And let’s talk fiber. Plums contain an insoluble form of it called inulin. The body can’t absorb inulin, so it passes through the gut. It regulates body weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It’s also the reason dried plums have a reputation for helping those with backed-up bowels.
Plums’ high water content makes them a portable post-workout snack. Since some of the vitamins they contain are fat-soluble, pair them with a healthy fat, like Greek yogurt or nuts. And you can slice, brush with olive oil, grill, then chop and toss in a summer salad, or drizzle with honey for a healthy dessert. As for the dried kind, be mindful that just six constitute a serving, and the calories rack up. So save them for winter. The fresh ones are so good right now.