January 29, 2009
Plums, stone fruit as good as blueberries
One relatively inexpensive plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of more expensive blueberries, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Luis Cisneros, AgriLife Research food scientist, and Dr. David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder, judged more than 100 varieties of plums, peaches and nectarines and found them to match or exceed the much-touted blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients associated with disease prevention.
People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time -- a few on the cereal or as an ingredient mixed with lots of sugar, Cisneros said in a statement.
But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit.
Knowing that we had all these varieties with high levels of antioxidants, then the possibility of preventing these diseases would also be high with their consumption, so we went to the next step -- how these compounds could actually inhibit chronic diseases," Cisneros said.
One benefit the team found was that the phytonutrients in plums inhibited in vitro breast cancer growth without adversely affecting normal cell growth, Byrne noted.
We suggest that consumers take seriously the recommendation to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables -- or even more -- every day and to make sure that plums are part of that, Byrne said.