(Natural News) Dried plums, or prunes, are nutritious healing foods that offer many health benefits. According to a study, adults of any age can benefit from prunes since they can improve gut health and lower the risk of colon cancer in adults.
The study, which was published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, was a collaborative effort between researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina.
Earlier studies have determined that a healthy diet is crucial to improving metabolism and colon microbiota composition. This discovery can help researchers develop natural ways of preventing and treating different diseases.
When gut microbiota is disrupted, you can suffer from intestinal inflammation, which may eventually result in colon cancer. Understanding the nature of the digestive system is key to preventing colon cancer, especially since trillions of species of bacteria live within your intestinal tract. To date, experts have only identified over 400 species in the gut.
The beneficial phenolic compounds of prunes
In 2015, colon cancer caused at least 49,700 deaths in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer-related complications in the country.
The study findings can help address this concern, especially since the researchers confirmed that adding dried plums to your regular diet can help improve gut bacteria in your colon. This, in turn, may lower your risk of developing colon cancer. (Related: Here are the healthiest fruits you can eat.)
In the study, the researchers tested the cancer-protective effects of prunes in rat models that had a strain of colon cancer similar to the human variety. While some of the test rats were fed a diet that included dried plums, the other subjects were given a control diet with no plums.
The test results showed that the diet which included dried prunes reduced two primary kinds of bacteria in the colon: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes.
The rats that followed the control diet had less optimal levels of gut bacteria. However, the rats that consumed dried plums had lower numbers of aberrant crypts and aberrant crypt foci than the control rats. Experts usually consider aberrant crypt foci, or precancerous lesions, as an indicator of colon cancer.
Prunes have phenolic compounds with various health benefits. These compounds are believed to be responsible for the anti-cancer properties of prunes. Phenolic compounds act as antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals which cause cancer and damage DNA.
The health benefits of dried plums
Consuming dried plums helps promote the retention of good bacteria and their positive metabolism in the colon, which can significantly help lower cancer risk. Continued research with human subjects will help verify the findings from this study, but the results highlight the fact that adding dried plums to your diet can help boost your colon health.
Prunes contain vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and K. They also have copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.
Surprisingly enough, prunes contain more vitamin K than plums. The former also contains more B-vitamins and minerals. Additionally, prunes are higher in carbs, calories, and fiber than fresh plums.
Aside from lowering your risk of developing colon cancer, dried plums also offer other benefits.
- Prunes and prune juice can help address constipation because they are rich in fiber. One prune contains a gram of fiber. Since the fiber in prunes is mostly insoluble, it does not blend with water. Prunes and prune juice also has sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with natural laxative effects.
- Prunes can boost bone health. According to several studies, eating prunes is associated with a reduced risk of debilitating bone conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- Prunes can also improve heart health. In a separate study, researchers report that consuming prunes and prune juice can help lower blood pressure levels, total cholesterol, and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- Prunes can help lower blood sugar. Even though they are fairly high in carbs, prunes do not appear to cause a substantial rise in blood sugar levels after they’re consumed.
Eat dried plums (prunes) regularly to prevent colon cancer, lower your blood sugar, and boost bone and heart health.