Plums may reduce the risk of colon cancer

Plums may reduce the risk of colon cancer

Dried plum fruits are called dried plums or prunes. It is any of various plum cultivars, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum. Prunes are highly nutritious fruits that are sold fresh and dried. They are sweet with a complex flavor, and have a sticky texture. The dried fruit is available year round.

New research from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina shows that dried plums may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Through our research, we 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,” said Dr. Nancy Turner, Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor in the nutrition and food science department of Texas A&M University, College Station.

Previous research has shown that disrupting the bacteria involved in inducing intestinal inflammation can help prevent the development of colorectal cancer.

“Our research explored the potential cancer-protective properties of dried plums using a well-established rat model of colon cancer,” Turner said. “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. The hypothesis we tested in this experiment was that consumption of dried plums would promote retention of beneficial microbiota and patterns of microbial metabolism throughout the colon. If it did this, then it might also help reduce the risk of colon cancer.”

The microbiota are involved in the health of the host organism through physical interactions and, indirectly, through their metabolism,” said Derek Seidel, a doctoral graduate student and research assistant for Turner who assisted in the study. “The rats were fed a control diet or a diet containing dried plums, and both diets were matched for total calories and macronutrient composition so that the effect due to diet would be attributed to compounds uniquely found in the dried plums.”

Turner believes that the data found in the study show that plums may reduce the risk of colon cancer. She notes that one of the main reasons why plums are effective is because they help build up beneficial bacteria in the colon.

“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,” she said.

The results of the study showing that plums may educe the risk of colon cancer was published in Texas A&M’s online paper AgriLife Today.

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1. “Research Shows Dried Plums Can Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer.” AgriLife Today. Texas A&M Agrilife, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
2. “Dried Plums Can Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer, Research Shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

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