Plums pack a nutritional punch

New research reveals the health benefits of eating Queen Garnet plums.

New research shows that the nectar from the queen garnet plum could help Queenslanders reduce their blood pressure and their risk of heart disease.

The clinical trial, led by Professor Michael Mathai from the Victoria University, found that the plum’s nectar reduced blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in overweight patients who consumed it over three months.

The study found blood pressure reductions from the nectar was similar to reductions achieved when people took antihypertensive drugs.

"Our study showed consumption of queen garnet nectar has important and exciting implications for an increasingly sedentary society,” Professor Mathai said.

"The reductions in blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and glucose are all beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic health.

“In this trial, we slightly improved the patients' chances of becoming diabetic which is great, considering we were giving them a fruit drink which contains natural sugars.

"The results showed a gradual and sustained reduction in blood pressure within six weeks of consuming the nectar and it continued to lower over the trial period by about 10mmHg, which is highly significant for cardiovascular health.”

Nutrafruit, which holds the global licence to market the queen garnet plum and associated products, has invested in research to discover the health benefits associated with the fruit since it was first harvested in 2014.

Nutrafruit chief executive officer Luke Couch said the results were exciting for Australians.

“According to the Heart Foundation, there are more deaths caused by high blood pressure in Australia than any other single risk factor,” Mr Couch said.

"There are very few products that have the research to support being a 'functional food' but queen garnet can pin its hat on that.

“As more Australians are trying to find natural foods to enhance their health and wellbeing, taking the nectar is a conversation people at risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases could have with their healthcare practitioners.”

The trial is among multiple studies conducted on queen garnet plums. All have been independently funded by universities.

Further studies are underway at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation and the University of Wollongong with the first results of these expected in 2020.