Plums are being heralded as the new 'super-food' by scientists. They found the purple fruit matched or exceeded blueberries in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help prevent disease.
Researcher Dr David Byrne, of AgriLife Research, said tests revealed one plum contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a handful of blueberries. Antioxidants are molecules that sweep through a body looking for free radicals to knock out. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that lurk where diseases like cancer and heart disease are found.
Fellow scientist Dr Luis Cisneros, who helped with the Texas-based research, said: 'Blueberries have some stiff competition. People tend to eat just a few blueberries at a time - a few on their cereal or maybe as an ingredient mixed with other fruit in a fruit salad. But people will eat a whole plum at once and get the full benefit.'
Catherine Collins, principal dietition at London's St George's Hospital, welcomed the research.
She said: 'Plums are very good for us and because they tend to come in punnets for about £1 they are fairly cheap. If everyone was eating two or three small plums a day that would be great. Many of the healthy chemicals and antioxidants in fruit and vegetables are in the different colour agents and so people should try to eat a rainbow of different coloured fruit. Plums are also low in calories and fat free. The important thing is not to peel your plums - you must eat the skin because that's where many of the colour agents and antioxidants are.'