Good for your gut: dried plums may help prevent colon cancer.

Good for your gut: dried plums may help prevent colon cancer.

A new study found dried plums helped maintain the healthy level of bacteria in the intestines.

Hope they are tasty.  A new study out of Texas A&M University found a correlation between a diet containing dried plums and a lower chance of developing colon cancer.

As the Apex Tribune reports, colon cancer is a leading killer in the United States, and is estimated to cause nearly 50,000 more deaths before the end of 2015.  Experts have long indicated their belief that colon cancer develops depending on the person’s “gut health,” ie, the amount and health of the bacteria living in the large intestine.

Dr. Nancy Turner of the new study stated that an average human has trillions of bacteria, from at least 400 different species, living in his or her gut.  The standard understanding is that if those bacteria get disrupted, they suffer initial and then possibly recurrent intestinal inflammation, and encourage the growth of abnormal crypts that can lead to cancer.  A person’s diet may seriously disrupt the bacteria.

Dr. Turner’s group explored the link between diet and colon health further by giving two groups of rats the exact same caloric and nutritional diet except for one group’s food included dried plums.  The rats with the plum diet showed healthier levels of bacteria in their distal colon than the other group, with fewer abnormal cells noted.

The team theorizes the plums are helpful due to containing high levels of phenolic compounds, antioxidants that neutralize the effects of free radicals in cells.

More research is of course needed, but the study is an encouraging step in linking diet to health and cancer prevention.

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