Adding Dried Plums to Diet Reduces Colon Cancer Risk

Including dried plums as part of one's daily diet was found to potentially diminish the risk of colon cancer.

Including dried plums as part of one’s daily diet was found to potentially diminish the risk of colon cancer.

Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina presented their data, from research funded by the California Dried Plum Board, at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston, MA.

They hypothesized that eating dried plums would support the retention of beneficial microbiota and patterns of microbial metabolism through the colon.

A myriad of prior research had long shown how significantly an individual’s diet could alter metabolism and composition of colon microbiota. Using rat models of colon cancer, the researchers sought to understand the potential cancer-protective properties of dried plums.

During their research study, rat models were fed either a diet of dried plums or a control diet, both with equal calories and macronutrient compositions. Results indicated the diet of dried plums increased Bacteroidetes and reduced Firmicutes (major gut bacteria) with negatively affecting the promixal colon. Conversely, the group given the control diet had fewer Bacteroidetes and more Firmicutes.

Furthermore, those rats given dried plums had a reduction in aberrant crypts — lesions that often mark cancer development.

“Dried plums contain phenolic compounds, which have multiple effects on our health, including their ability to serve as antioxidants that can neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals that can damage our DNA,” said Nancy Turner, MD, Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor, Texas A&M University, College Station.

Turner concluded, “From this study we were able to conclude that dried plums did, in fact, appear to promote retention of beneficial microbiota and microbial metabolism throughout the colon, which was associated with a reduced incidence of precancerous lesions.”

Naturally, this new development proved monumental — suggesting that regularly consuming dried plums could be a great dietary method in reducing colon cancer risk.