You are in for a treat if you have not heard of the humble Kakadu plum. A staple superfood in Australia’s Northern Territory — home to the world’s oldest cultures, the indigenous Aboriginal Australians, yet science is just now discovering the vast health benefits of this small but powerful fruit.
What is the Kakadu Plum?
The Kakadu plum is only about 1/2 inch wide and about 1 inch long—more the size of an olive than the size we think of when we hear the word “plum.” They also don’t taste like the plums we are used to. Instead of being sweet and juicy, the Kakadu plum tastes bitter and salty. Fortunately, it’s easy to find high-quality Kakadu plum supplements, although the fruit can be used to make jams, preserves, chutneys, juices, and sauces. Kakadu plums grow on a mid-sized tree, approximately 13-30 feet tall, with fragrant, white blooms. The plums themselves are a pale yellow when ripe.
Health Benefits of Kakadu Plum
- Vitamin C
Kakadu plums have the highest recorded amount of vitamin C of any food in the world! In just 3.5 ounces of fruit, you’ll find over 3,000% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C! To help you put this into context, the same amount of fruit from an orange offers only 59% of the recommended amount of the vitamin for adults, while the same serving size of blueberries provides only 10.8%.
Vitamin C is essential for our bodies because it is a powerful antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces oxidative stress, and improves iron absorption, heart health, cognition, memory, and collagen synthesis.
- Ellagic Acid
Ellagic acid is a type of polyphenol known for being a powerful antioxidant. You can also find ellagic acid in almonds, walnuts, boysenberries, and strawberries. While there are currently no recommendations on how much ellagic acid adults should take, some studies suggest an estimated 4.9-12 mg daily. To prove the power of the modest Kakadu plum, as little as 3.5 ounces of dried fruit contains approximately 228-14,000 mg of ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid has numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and prebiotic effects. In animal trials, ellagic acid has been shown to block various tumor growth and cause tumor cells to die.
Kakadu plums have high levels of other antioxidants, besides vitamin C and ellagic acid, which help our bodies prevent and fight disease. Various antioxidants prevent disease by binding free radicals, protecting the cells against their lethal impact. Too many free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress, contributing to multiple dangerous health issues, such as autoimmune conditions, heart and kidney disease, cancer, brain degeneration, and diabetes. While free radicals develop naturally in the body, environmental toxins and poor diet increase them.
This cherry-sized fruit contains 13 times more antioxidant activity and 6 times the number of polyphenols than blueberries.
Other antioxidants found in Kakadu plums include:
Aromatic acids—Mainly ellagic and gallic acids. Gallic acid is vital for preventing neurodegenerative disease.
Lutein—A carotenoid linked to eye health and may protect against macular degeneration and heart disease.
Anthocyanins—Colored pigment found in fruit associated with a healthy urinary tract, lowers the risk of cancer, improved memory and eye health, and healthy aging.
Due to the tremendous antioxidant support of the tiny fruit and its natural ability to fight free radical damage, researchers are keen to discover the role it could play in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies indicate that it has up to 7 times the antioxidant properties of curcumin, which gives turmeric its superfood status. This is excellent news not only for lowering the chances of developing Alzheimer’s but also for those who suffer from high levels of inflammation that cause numerous conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
- Antibacterial Properties
The indigenous Aboriginals have used the Kakadu plum and various parts of the tree as medicine for centuries. The fruit and tree bark have been used for generations to make an antibacterial salve to heal wounds, cuts, and burns. We now know that these plums have natural antibacterial properties that could be used for preserving food and preventing foodborne illnesses. In the future, we may see Kakadu plum extract used in food preservation, replacing synthetic, toxic methods now used.
- Skin Care
Because of the Kakadu plum’s antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, skin care companies have started adding it to their products. They boast that this extract can produce younger-looking skin and fight acne.
How to Add Kakadu Plums to Your Diet
As mentioned earlier, the Kakadu plum can be used in jams, sauces, chutneys, and preserves. And while the fruit can be eaten alone raw, its unusual taste doesn’t suit many people’s palates. However, it is a great (and common) addition to smoothies, breakfast bowls, and fruit salads.
The fruit is not always readily available in many areas, so even if you don’t mind the taste, you may opt for a Kakadu plum supplement in powder, juice, or capsule. I’ve chosen to add a Kakadu plum supplement to my daily regimen (because how can you not fall in love with something this hugely beneficial to your health!?)
After doing all the research, I discovered THIS brand of Kakadu plum supplement. Why this brand? Because they make their supplements from the fresh puree of the fruit and add nothing else. Unlike other brands, they dehydrate the fruit using a gentle drying technique instead of high heat, lowering the potency. So, I know I’m getting the real deal and that my body will easily absorb the plum’s natural boost of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. THIS LINK gets you 15% off too!