Subject: Antioxidant activity · Cardiovascular · Cognitive function
In recent times, plums have been described as foods with health-promoting properties. Research on the health effects of plum continue to show promising results on its antiinflammatory, antioxidant and memory-improving characteristics. The increased interest in plum research has been attributed to its high phenolic content, mostly the anthocyanins, which are known to be natural antioxidants. A systematic review of literature was carried out to summarize the available evidence on the impact of plums (Prunus species; domestica and salicina) on disease risk factors and health outcomes. A number of databases were searched according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines for relevant studies on plum health effects in vitro, animal studies and clinical trials. A total of 73 relevant peer-reviewed journal articles were included in this review. The level of evidence remains low. Of the 25 human studies, 6 were confirmatory studies of moderate quality, while 19 were exploratory. Plums have been shown to possess antioxidant and antiallergic properties, and consumption is associated with improved cognitive function, bone health parameters and cardiovascular risk factors. Most of the human trials used the dried version of plums rather than fresh fruit, thus limiting translation to dietary messages of the positioning of plums in a healthy diet. Evidence on the health effect of plums has not been extensively studied, and the available evidence needs further confirmation.