Umeboshi plum or more commonly known as Japanese plums or pickled plums, are not actually plums. Umeboshi is actually a pickled delicacy that is made from a fruit known as ‘ume‘. The fruit is a cross between an plum and apricot.
These delicacies are very popular in Japan, not only for their taste but because of their various potential health benefits.
The ume fruit is pickled in the summer months when the fruit is ripe and then preserved for 1 month or so in a salt barrel. Then dried beneath the hot summer sun for a days, until its skin acquires a wrinkly texture such that of a raisin or sultana.
What Does Umeboshi Plum Taste Like?
Umeboshi contains a flavor combination that is difficult to describe. If something can have a sour saltiness, then it is umeboshi. It is certainly a bit of an acquired taste.
Because of its unique and salty flavor, umeboshi plums are most often served up in Japan on a plain bed of boiled rice. A plain rice dish can help in neutralizing the strength of the flavor, but the fruit can also add a unique taste to the food, with which it is served. It is commonly served with a wide range of Japanese dishes.
Health Benefits of Japanese Plum:
1. Blood Sugar Level Management
Adding a few servings of umeboshi fruit into your diet could be beneficial for your blood sugar. A 2013 study reported that ume fruit affects a specific receptor responsible for the increase uptake of glucose in the body. With more glucose able to be used and transported by your cells, blood sugar levels can remain steady and normalize.
Also, umeboshi plums are loaded with both antioxidants and fiber. Dietary fiber can help slow the absorption of glucose, thus preventing crashes and spikes in blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, antioxidants can help in reducing the oxidative stress that leads to the development of diabetes and worsens complications.
2. Digestive Health
Consuming fiber rich vegetable and fruit like umeboshi may help in improving the functions of your digestive system, which can have a positive effect on your general health.
According to traditional use, umeboshi can help in alleviating the symptoms of poor digestion including bloating and dyspepsia. The dietary fiber present in the fruit can also help add bulk to the stools which can alleviate bouts of constipation. Also, these fruits are a great natural remedy for diarrhea.
3. Heart Health
Umeboshi contain substances that help in preventing heart disease and improving your coronary health in general. In 2002, the American Physiological Society reported its findings that the Japanese plum skin contained substances that had a positive effect on the heart.
These substances helped in blocking certain processes that caused a hardening of the arteries. This hardening is called atherosclerosis and is one of the major heart diseases in the world.
4. Liver Protection
Umeboshi contains potent properties that could help in protecting your liver. The liver plays an important role in fat metabolism, detoxification and the production of important proteins used for blood clotting. Therefore. it is important to keep it functioning efficiently. Liver damage can be caused by factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, infection and even obesity.
Researches has reported that including umeboshi in your diet could help preserve the function of your liver. A 2012 study by the World Journal of Gastroenterology followed 58 patients with liver disease and reported that supplementing with ume fruit extract can reduced liver damage.
This means that umeboshi plums could potentially help in the prevention and treatment of liver disorders which affect millions of individuals worldwide, these include nonalcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis disease and hepatitis.
5. Oral Health
Research has reported that umeboshi can help improve oral health in a number of different ways. Umeboshi might help in maintaining the health of your gums. A research that waspublished in 2011, tested various substances isolated from Japanese plums against common oral bacteria.
It was reported that umeboshi exerted powerful anti-microbial activities against all of the bacteria tested. It was effective against bacterium that is responsible for causing gingivitis or gum disease.
6. Prevents Cancer
Umeboshi contains powerful compounds that are beneficial in the treatment and prevention of cancer. A study in 2007 treated liver cancer cells using an extract from ume fruit and reported that the ume fruit extract managed to stop the growth of cancer cells.
Another study which was published in Tumori treated pancreatic cancer cells using an extract from ume fruit and reported that it successfully stopped cancer growth. Also, the ume fruit extract kill off cancer cells while sparing the normal, healthy cells.
Other studies have reported that ume fruit extract may be able to help in blocking the growth of other types of cancer cells. In fact, ume fruit extract has also been reported to be beneficial in treating both skin and breast cancer.
7. Weight Loss
Due to Japanese plum’s low calorie count and nutritional value, it makes a good choice for those individuals who are watching their weight. A gram of umeboshi contains fewer than 7 calories and also contain plenty of dietary fiber.
Fiber rich foods can hep you feel fuller for longer, which means you can resist the temptation to snack throughput the day. Umeboshi plums make for a healthy snack to replace unhealthy calorie laden snacks that many individuals favor.