Umeboshi Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  8 min read
umeboshi plums benefits and side effects


Umeboshi plum health benefits may include:

Umeboshi plums are…

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Water footprint: low, 2,180 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of plums / 261 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of plums

Carbon footprint: low, 0.22 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh plums, a car driving equivalent of 0.5 miles or 0.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, umeboshi plum production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Umeboshi plums are…


Kills: none, umeboshi plum production does not require any animals

Harms: none, umeboshi plum production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from umeboshi plum production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Umeboshi plums are…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Umeboshi plums…

What are umeboshi?

Umeboshi are fermented Japanese plums.

Where do most umeboshi plums come from?

Umeboshi plums grow in abundance throughout Japan, Wakayama being the most productive region.

Are umeboshi plums nutritious?

Yes! Umeboshi plums are a good source of polyphenols, potassium, manganese and fiber.

umeboshi is alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

Is umeboshi alkaline or acidic? Umeboshi is alkaline. What is the pH level of umeboshi plums? Umeboshi plums have a 9.0 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

umeboshi is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is umeboshi gluten free? Yes, umeboshi is gluten free. Umeboshi does not contain gluten. Umeboshi is a type of fermented fruit, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

umeboshi is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is umeboshi a common food allergen? No, umeboshi is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to umeboshi but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

umeboshi has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does umeboshi have a high or low water footprint? Umeboshi has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of umeboshi? It takes 2,180 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of plums / 261 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of plums.

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

umeboshi has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does umeboshi have a high or low carbon footprint? Umeboshi has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of umeboshi? It takes around 0.22 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh plums, a car driving equivalent of 0.5 miles or 0.75 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

umeboshi is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is umeboshi eco friendly? Is umeboshi sustainable?

Umeboshi production is relatively sustainable. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

umeboshi is vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is umeboshi vegan? Yes, umeboshi is vegan. Umeboshi is a pickled fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

umeboshi is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is umeboshi a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with umeboshi production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 


Umeboshi pros include:

Umeboshi cons include:


umeboshi dried plum: Topics by

Nippon umeboshi plums

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.