As with most cancers, diet is thought to play a role in your risk of colon cancer. It’s known, for instance, that a diet high in processed meats like hot dogs and certain luncheon meats, increases your risk, while a diet high in whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, lowers it.
In case you’re wondering, dried plums are also known as prunes. Another interesting fact is that while all prunes are plums, all plums cannot be made into prunes. Plum varieties used to make prunes have very high sugar content, which, according to the California Dried Plum Board, allows them “to be dried without fermenting while still containing the pits.”
Dried Plums May Lower Your Risk of Colon Cancer By Building Gut Bacteria
Dried plums are rich in potassium, fiber, and phytochemicals, including antioxidants, all of which may help lower your risk of chronic disease. However, it’s dried plums’ influence on the bacteria in your colon that may be most impressive of all.
In an animal study, researchers fed rats either a diet containing dried plums or a control diet (the same as the first diet but without the plums). Those fed the dried plums had significant increases in the number of bacteria in the gut known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes.
Rats on the dried-plum diet also had reduced numbers of aberrant crypts, which are signs of precancerous lesions that may be an indicator for future cancer development.
A 2005 study similarly revealed that dried plums “favorably altered… colon cancer risk factors” in rats, possibly due to their high content of dietary fiber and polyphenolics.
- Dried prunes contain approximately 6.1 g of dietary fiber per 100 g, while prune juice is devoid of fiber due to filtration before bottling…
- Prunes contain large amounts of phenolic compounds (184 mg/100 g), mainly as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, which may aid in the laxative action and delay glucose absorption.
- Phenolic compounds in prunes had been found to inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro, and thus might serve as preventive agents against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
- Additionally, high potassium content of prunes (745 mg/100 g) might be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
- Dried prunes are an important source of boron, which is postulated to play a role in prevention of osteoporosis. A serving of prunes (100 g) fulfills the daily requirement for boron (2 to 3 mg).
Dried Plums May Be Beneficial for Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and More
Again in 2013, research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition touted dried plums’ beneficial role in health. This review included mentions of dried plums’ potential role in reducing not only colon cancer but also other chronic disease currently plaguing the developed world.
Dried plums contain significant amounts of sorbitol, quinic acid, chlorogenic acids, vitamin K1, boron, copper, and potassium. Synergistic action of these and other compounds, which are also present in dried plums in less conspicuous amounts, may have beneficial health effects when dried plums are regularly consumed.
Snacking on dried plums may increase satiety and reduce the subsequent intake of food, helping to control obesity, diabetes, and related cardiovascular diseases. Despite their sweet taste, dried plums do not cause large postprandial rise in blood glucose and insulin.
Direct effects in the gastrointestinal tract include prevention of constipation and possibly colon cancer. The characteristic phenolic compounds and their metabolites may also act as antibacterial agents in both gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.
The indirect salutary effects on bone turnover are supported by numerous laboratory studies with animals and cell cultures.”