What Is Umeboshi: Health Benefits, Calories, Types & More

What is umeboshi?

Umeboshi is a famous traditional Japanese pickle prepared from a special type of Japanese plum called Ume. They are usually prepared by salting plum and then fermenting the Ume with shiso leaves for a period of a month to a year.

Umeboshi is traditionally used as a condiment or flavoring agent in lots of Japanese cuisine such as sushi, bento boxes, and rice balls. They are known for their strong flavor and people are eating them in a small quantity because of their salty and tangy taste.

Japanese consider Umeboshi a superfood because of its numerous health benefits. They are a rich source of vitamin C and many other micronutrients. They reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and treat acid reflux.

Usually, Umeboshi is eaten as a side dish or it is just added to sandwiches, salads or sushi. They are used in making a special type of Japanese vinegar called Umeboshi vinegar, which is a famous ingredient in Japanese cuisine.

History of umeboshi

Umeboshi is a popular traditional Japanese pickle and people are using them for many centuries. Historians believed that Umeboshi originated in China and was introduced to Japan in the 8th century.

Initially, people were using them for medicinal purposes but during the Heian period, they became famous for their antibacterial properties and people started to use them as a food preservative.

In the Edo period, Umeboshi became more famous and people started to use them in a variety of food. Now a day, Umeboshi is a very common and popular Japanese food and gaining popularity day by day in the remaining world.

Health benefits of umeboshi

Here are some common health benefits of Umeboshi.

Boosts the immune system

Umeboshi is a rich source of strong antioxidants such as anthocyanins, and quercetin. These antioxidants boost the immune system and protect the body from infection and free radicals.

Umeboshi is also a good source of Vitamin C, which is considered a strong antioxidant and protects the body from free radical attacks. Free radicals can cause various kinds of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, dermatitis, etc. Vitamin C is also a strong anti-aging agent and enhances the immune system.

Anti-inflammatory property

Umeboshi contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds reduce inflammation and improve the symptoms of allergic conditions such as dermatitis, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases and arthritis.

In one scientific study, it was found that the extract of Umeboshi reduces inflammation as effectively as ibuprofen in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Improves digestion

Umeboshi is a good source of citric acid, which can increase the secretion of HCl (stomach acid) and improve the digestion process.

In one study it was found that Umeboshi effectively treated diarrhea in rats.

Umeboshi has huge content of fiber, which is essential for good digestion. Fibers keep the digestive tract healthy by adding bulk to stools and helping them pass through the intestines quickly and easily. So it is good for constipation.

Help in weight loss

Umeboshi plays an important role in the weight loss journey. They have low calories and high content of fiber. These two factors are necessary for weight loss.

Fiber reduces appetite and craving and promotes the feeling of fullness, which helps individuals to eat less and consume low calories overall.

In one study it was found that Umeboshi extract reduced the body weight and fat mass in mice.

Prevent cancer

Umeboshi is a rich source of antioxidants and can protect the body from free radicals damage. Free radicals help in the development of cancer.

One study has found that the extract of Umeboshi inhibited the growth of cancerous cells in vitro.

Control blood pressure

Umeboshi plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure. It contains potassium that helps in the regulation of blood. Moreover, potassium counteracts the effect of sodium which can raise blood pressure.

According to one study, Umeboshi extract potentially reduce the blood pressure of rats in the control group as compared to the uncontrolled group.

Improves heart performance and health

As we know Umeboshi is a good source of antioxidant and protect the body from free radicals including the heart. Free radicals can contribute to the development of heart diseases.

Umeboshi also contains lots of micronutrients such as potassium which regulate blood pressure. High blood pressure can be the cause of various heart diseases. So Umeboshi improves heart health and performance.

A study performed on rats revealed that Umeboshi extract helped to improve heart health.

Natural Detoxification property

Umeboshi is known for its natural detoxification property in Japan. Umeboshi contains citric acid and other organic acid acids which are natural detoxifying agents. These detoxifying agents remove toxins from the body and improve the function of the liver.

If you want to clean your body with a natural detoxifying agent then use Umeboshi.

Reduce fatigue and lethargy

Moderate eating of Umeboshi reduces both fatigue and lethargy because it is a rich source of micronutrients such as iron, and Vitamins B complex, which are necessary for energy production.

Daily eating of Umeboshi combat fatigue, provide a natural energy boost and improve overall stamina.

Alkalizing or neutralizing Effect

Despite Umeboshi’s acidic taste, it has an alkalizing effect also on the body. It balances the pH level of the body which is very necessary for those individuals who have gastritis or acid reflux. Umeboshi helps to maintain an alkaline environment in the stomach during GERD, supporting the overall health of the individual.

How to make umeboshi

The common Umeboshi recipe includes:


  • ume plums, rinsed and dried = 1 pound
  • salt = 1/2 cup
  • shiso leaves = 10-12 red  


  • First layer the Ume plums in a clean jar or crock.
  • Sprinkle salt on the Ume plums layer.
  • Press the Ume lay with a plate or stone and keep them submerged in the salt.
  • Let the Ume plums layer ferment in a cool and dark place for 5-10 days.
  • Now remove the plums from the salt and rinse them with clean water.
  • Add red shiso leaves to the ume plums and let them ferment again for another 2-3 weeks.
  • Once the Ume plum’s color turn to deep red, then they are ready for eating.

Types of umeboshi

There are several different types of Umeboshi but the most common are:

Salted umeboshi

Salted Umeboshi is the most common Japanese traditional Ume and is famous for its salty and sour taste. It is prepared by fermenting salted Ume for several weeks. Usually, salted Umeboshi is used as a condiment in Japanese food or eaten as a snack.

Vinegared umeboshi

Vinegared Umeboshi is prepared by fermenting ume in vinegar instead of salt. It has a slightly less sour taste as compared to salted Umeboshi.

Vinegared Umeboshi is often used as a topping on rice or in salads.

Sweetened umeboshi

Sweetened Umeboshi is prepared from fermenting Ume plums in sugar. It has a sweet and less sour taste. Nearly all people especially teenagers like sweetened Umeboshi. People are using sweetened Umeboshi as desserts or snacks.

 Along with these three main types, there are several other varieties of Umeboshi available in Japan. Some types of Umeboshi are flavored with different types of herbs or spices such as garlic, wasabi or ginger.

Some varieties are prepared from different types of plums such as the Hachiya plum, which is a larger plum than the Ume plum.

No matter what type of Umeboshi you choose but each type of Umeboshi has a unique taste and flavor.

How to eat umeboshi

There are several ways to eat Umeboshi but commonly people are using them in:

On its own

Usually, people are eating Umeboshi on their own as a part of a meal or snack. The sour flavor and salty taste of Umeboshi balance the taste and flavor of other meals.

Umeboshi In salads

To get a unique flavor of salad Umeboshi is added to it. It produces salty, umami and sour flavor in salads. Umeboshi is diced and added to different types of salads such as pasta salads, grain salads, green salads, etc. Umeboshi can be also used as a salad dressing.

Umeboshi In sandwiches

To add salty, umami, and sour flavor to sandwiches Umeboshi is added. Umeboshi can be placed in a variety of ways such as mashed, diced or sliced.

Used On rice

Umeboshi is a popular topping in Japanese cuisine. They can be used as a topping material in rice but some people mashed and mixed them with rice.

Umeboshi  used In soups

Umeboshi is added to soups to add umami, sour and salty flavor. Usually, Umeboshi is added to ramen soup, miso soup and many other types of soups. Umeboshi is also used to make soup broth.

Umeboshi can be also added to many other Japanese cuisines such as noodles, dumplings, stir-fries, marinades, vinaigrettes, and sauces.

Side effects of Umeboshi

Here are some of the side effects of umeboshi:

There are no severe side effects of Umeboshi with moderate eating but there are some common side effects which include:

Umeboshi causes bloating and constipation

Umeboshi has a high content of sodium which causes water retention and bloating. These two factors lead to stomach upset and constipation in some individuals.  

Cause allergy

Some individuals are allergic to Umeboshi and it causes allergic reactions in them. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include swelling, difficulty in breathing, and hives.

 Interact with other medicines

Umeboshi may interfere with some medications such as antihypertensive drugs and diuretics. It is necessary to talk to your family before eating Umeboshi if you are taking antihypertensive drugs.

 Acid reflux or heartburn

Umeboshi are acid in nature and may cause heartburn or acid reflux in some individuals. ­­­­­

Raise high blood pressure

Umeboshi has high content of sodium so it increases the blood pressure in some individuals. It is good to  

Note: these side effects of Umeboshi are rare and you can eat them safely without any fear and hesitation. However, if you experience any of these side effects, it is best to quit Umeboshi eating and talk to your family doctor.

Calories in Umeboshi

The calorie content of umeboshi is depending on several factors such as type of plum, size of plum, and method of preparation.

Approximately 8 grams of umeboshi contain around 8-10 calories. Generally, people consume umeboshi in a small quantity due to its sour and tangy taste, so the intake of calories remains low.

Umeboshi nutrition fact

Umeboshi is a rich source of both micro and macronutrients.


Carbohydrates = 2 grams

Fiber = 1 gram


Vitamin C = 2-3 milligrams

Potassium = 40-50 milligrams

Calcium = 5-10 milligrams

Iron = 0.1-0.2 milligrams

Magnesium = 2-3 milligrams

Please note that all these values are approximate and can vary depending on several factors such as the size, type and specific preparation of the umeboshi.


Umeboshi is a traditional Japanese pickle prepared from a special type of plum called ume. Umeboshi has a unique taste, flavor and offer several health benefits.

Umeboshi can be eaten on its own, or added to other Japanese cuisine to get unique taste and flavor.

Umeboshi is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and offers several health benefits such as boosting the immune system, regulating high blood pressure, and reducing the symptoms of aging.

Umeboshi can have certain rare side effects, so it is advised to eat them in a moderate quantity.


Is umeboshi good for weight loss?

Umeboshi is a type of Japanese pickle that has a high content of fiber and low-calorie count, making them a good diet for weight loss. Umeboshi contains vanillin, it is a compound that increased metabolism and reduce appetite. These two factors also play a crucial role in weight loss. Umeboshi contains high levels of sodium, always eat it in small quantities.

How many carbs are in umeboshi?

The content of carbs in Umeboshi can vary and depending on the type of plum and preparation method. 100 grams of Umeboshi contains 10.2 grams of carbs approximately. In simple words, single Umeboshi plum (10 grams) has 1 gram of carbs.

How many calories are in umeboshi?

One medium-sized Umeboshi contains around 8-10 calories. Usually, the content of calories depends on the type of plum and method of preparation. For example, sweetened Umeboshi has more calories than salted Umeboshi.

How many umeboshi can I eat?

Umeboshi contains high levels of sodium so it is generally advised to eat one Umeboshi per day or eat them in moderation if you have certain medical complications such as hypertension. It causes some rare undesirable side effects in some individuals, so it is best to contact a doctor before consuming the Umeboshi.


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