Dried plums have been found to contain substances that could help in the fight against colon cancer risk.
Researchers from Texas A and M University and the University of North Carolina have shown a diet containing dried plums can positively affect microbiota, also referred to as gut bacteria, throughout the colon, helping reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Researcher Nancy Turner said that through the study, researchers were able to show that dried plums promote retention of beneficial bacteria throughout the colon and by doing so they may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. when men and women are considered separately, and the second-leading cause when the figures are combined. During 2015, colon cancer is expected to cause about 49,700 deaths nationwide.
A good amount of research has already shown that one’s diet can alter the metabolism and composition of colon microbiota, which has major implications for disease prevention and treatment, Turner said.
The research explored the potential cancer-protective properties of dried plums using a well-established rat model of colon cancer, she said, adding that dried plums contain phenolic compounds, which have multiple effects on the health, including their ability to serve as antioxidants that can neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals that can damage our DNA.
Another observation made was rats consuming dried plums had significantly reduced numbers of aberrant crypts, aberrant crypt foci and high-multiplicity aberrant crypt foci compared to control rats.
She said while additional research is needed, particularly in human studies, the results from this study are exciting because they suggest that regularly eating dried plums may be a viable dietary strategy to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.