When someone mentions prunes, the first thing that comes to mind is your grandparents. But, this healthy snack is of great benefit for all ages. It enhances gut bacteria and reduces the risk of colon cancer in adults of any age.
According to researchers from Texas A&M University and The University of North Carolina, prunes (dried plums) have positive effects on gut bacteria in the colon.
The American Cancer Society states that colon cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer-related complications in the United States. 49,700 deaths were caused by colon cancer only in 2015 in the U.S. According to the study mentioned above, prunes are very beneficial for gut bacteria, which further results in a natural reduction in colon cancer risk.
It’s been also concluded that diet is crucial for altering metabolism and colon microbiota composition. Trillions of types of bacteria thrive in our intestinal tract, but only 400 have been identified so far. When microbiota is disrupted, intestinal inflammation and inflammation are caused that eventually lead to colon cancer.
The anti-cancer effects of prunes were tested on rats that had a strain of colon cancer similar to the human variety. One group of rats was fed dried plums, while the other one were fed a control diet with no prunes. It’s been shown that the first group that was given prunes had reduced Firmicutes and increased Bacteroidetes in the colon — two primary types of gut bacteria. They also showed lower numbers of aberrant crypts and aberrant crypt foci (precancerous lesions often considered an indicator of colon cancer) than the control rats.
Phenolic compounds that are found in prunes act as antioxidants that neutralize DNA-damaging, cancer-causing free radicals.
Moreover, being full of fiber makes them great for healthy bowel movements and can replace constipation drugs.
“Fruit provides high levels of fiber and water in addition antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation throughout the digestive system. While fresh fruit such as berries, melon and apples are more hydrating and filling, dried fruit like figs, prunes or dates are also a good source of dietary fiber when in a pinch, especially when you consume several at once.
Fruits that contain pectin fiber (apples or pears) are especially good choices since pectin stimulates your bowels… For most people, fruit helps relieve constipation while also making you feel comfortably full, but again it comes down to individual reactions to various kinds” states Dr. Axe.
It’s been concluded that prunes can protect you from colon cancer thanks to their ability to contribute to beneficial colon microbiota. The 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston was the place where the research was presented. The event was funded by the California Dried Plum Board.