DEA News
Return to News Home

Dried Plums May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

The sweet snack can affect gut bacteria, researchers say.

Samantha Costa, US News, Sep 29, 2015

Here's another reason to snack on dried fruit. Researchers have announced that people who eat dried plums as part of a regular diet can reduce their risk for developing colon cancer.

This discovery was made by researchers at Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina, and presented at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston.

"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," Nancy Turner, study author and professor in the nutrition and food science department of Texas A&M University, said in a press release.

Turner and colleagues examined how dried plums' antioxidants neutralized the type of changes that occur when cancerous cells damage the DNA. They found that when rats were fed a controlled diet of dried plums, two major phyla of bacteria in the gut - Bacteroidetes and Frimicutes - increased, without negatively impacting other areas of the colon.

They also observed that those who were on the dried plum diet showed reduced numbers of aberrant crypts, which are early signs of precancerous lesions considered to be a red flag for future cancer.

"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 the release.

The researchers plan to conduct additional research in humans.

Return to News Home