Dried Plum Consumption Improves Total Cholesterol and Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in Healthy Postmenopausal Women

JOURNAL: J Med Food. 2021 Nov;24(11):1161-1168.

AUTHORS: Mee Young Hong, Mark Kern, Michelle Nakamichi-Lee, Nazanin Abbaspour, Arshya Ahouraei Far, and Shirin Hooshmand

Dried plums contain bioactive components that have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The objective of this study was to determine if dried plum consumption reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in postmenopausal women, specifically examining lipid profiles, oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity, and inflammation in a dose-dependent manner. We conducted a 6-month, parallel-design controlled clinical trial, where 48 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to consume 0, 50, or 100 g of dried plum each day. After 6 months of intervention, total cholesterol (TC) in the 100 g/day treatment group (P = .002) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the 50 g/day treatment group (P = .005) improved significantly compared to baseline. Inflammatory biomarkers interleukin-6 (P = .044) and tumor necrosis factor-a (P = .040) were significantly lower after 6 months within the 50 g/day dried plum group compared to baseline. Moreover, total antioxidant capacity increased significantly within the 50 g/day group (P = .046), and superoxide dismutase activity increased significantly within both 50 and 100 g/day groups (P = .044 and P = .027, respectively) after 6 months compared to baseline. In addition, plasma activities of alanine transaminase (P = .046), lactate dehydrogenase (P = .039), and creatine kinase (P = .030) were significantly lower after 6 months in the 50 g/day dried plum group. These findings suggest that daily consumption of 50-100 g dried plum improves CVD risk factors in postmenopausal women as exhibited by lower TC, oxidative stress, and inflammatory markers with no clear dose dependence.