Dried plums may prevent colon cancer, research says


A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer, states that dried plums can be beneficial in preventing colon cancer. The study was a collaborative effort between researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina. It reveals that dried plums or prunes improve gut health and reduce the risk of colon cancer in adults.

Studies indicate that prunes offer many health benefits. They are nutritious healing foods to be included in a healthy diet. This is because they effectively improve metabolism and the composition of colon microbiota.

A disrupted gut microbiota leads to intestinal inflammation. This might eventually result in colon cancer. Colon cancer caused at least 49,700 deaths in the U.S during 2015. The American Cancer Society declares colon cancer to be the third leading cause of death in the country. In order to prevent such conditions, we need to understand the nature of the digestive system. There are trillions of species of bacteria residing your intestinal tract. However, experts have only identified over 400 species in the gut up till now.

What does the study say?

The study investigated the cancer-protective effects of prunes in rat models. These rat models had a strain of colon cancer similar to the human variety. The rats were divided into two groups. One group was fed with a diet including dried plums. On the other hand, the second group received a control diet with no plums.

The results of the study showed that consuming dried prunes reduced two primary kinds of bacteria in the colon of the rats. These were “Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes.” Plus, they caused lower numbers of aberrant crypts and aberrant crypt foci. Aberrant crypt foci, or precancerous lesions, are an indicator of colon cancer. Consuming dried plums promote the retention of good bacteria and their positive metabolism in the colon. This leads to lower your risk of developing colon cancer.

The experts accredit the phenolic compounds, in the prunes, for their health benefits. These compounds are thought to possess anti-cancer properties. They act as antioxidants and can neutralize free radicals which cause cancer and DNA damage.

Some other healthy reasons to eat dried plums

Dried plums or prunes pack a variety of nutrients like,

  • Vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and K
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Additionally, prunes are high in carbohydrates, calories, and fiber. Aside from reducing your risk of developing colon cancer, dried plums also offer other benefits as follow,

Being rich in fiber, prunes address constipation and related complications. One prune contains a gram of fiber. Moreover, prunes and prune juice also has sorbitol. It is a sugar alcohol with natural laxative effects.

Dried plums boost your bone health. They are associated with a reduced risk of unbearable bone conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Prunes have also been linked to a healthier heart. They are associated with lower blood pressure levels, total cholesterol, and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Moreover, they’re said to lower blood sugar as well.

This study presents that dried plums can serve as a natural and convenient source to prevent colon cancer. It also has various other health benefits. Thus, if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a try.



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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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