Regularly eating dried plums may promote retention of beneficial gut bacteria and reduce the risk of colon cancer, suggests new research.
“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 Nancy Turner, professor at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, US.
Previous research has shown that disruptions to the microbiota are involved in the initiation of intestinal inflammation and recurrence of inflammatory bouts that can promote development of colon 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 neutralise the oxidant effect of free radicals that can damage our DNA,” she noted.
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, Derek Seidel, doctoral graduate student and research assistant for Turner who assisted in the study said.
The intestinal contents and tissues from different segments of the colon were examined.
“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,” Turner said in a statement released by Texas A&M University on Friday.