A new study has found that regularly eating dried plums may protect you against colon cancer. Tests have shown that these products improve the retention of gut bacteria in the colon, which in turn lowers one’s chances of developing the disease.
• When their colon gut bacteria suffer disruptions, that’s when people should worry about developing colon cancer.
• Dried plums are beneficial because they’re rich in phenolic compounds.
• Dried plums chance the colon gut bacteria population and prevent aberrant crypts from forming.
Several recent studies have indicated that a person’s diet can affect how the metabolism of colon gut bacteria behaves, and how their composition changes.
The new study was conducted by a team led by Dr. Nancy Turner, professor with an expertise in nutrition and food science from Texas A&M University, the department of AgriLife Research. She gave a statement informing that people have trillions of bacteria living in their intestinal tract, but so far researchers have only identified a little over 400 species of them.
Field experts generally agree that people develop colon cancer when their colon gut bacteria suffer disruptions. This initially causes intestinal inflammation and recurrent inflammation, which can encourage the development of the disease if it persists.
The reason why dried plums may help counteract these inflammations is that they’re rich in phenolic compounds, which are well known for their ability to act as antioxidants responsible for neutralizing the oxidant effects associated with free radicals that damage DNA.
For their study, Dr. Turner and her team tested their theory that dried plums improve the retention of gut bacteria in the colon on a colon cancer model based on rats.
The rodents were split in two (2) groups, one which was put on a diet that incorporated dried plums, and one which deliberately eliminated the fruit. The researchers were careful to make sure that both diets contained the same amount of calories per day and the same macronutrient composition. This allowed them to ensure that any health benefits they might notice can be objectively attributed to dried plums.
They then examined tissues collected from a number of segments of the colon, as well ad the intestinal contents of their subjects.
The results showed that the diet incorporating dried plums affected the levels of two (2) important phyla of bacteria found in the gut – in increased the number of Bacteroidetes in the distal colon, and reduced the number of Firmicutes in the sane area.
But another thing the research team noticed was that the numbers of the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes were not affected at all in the proximal colon.
And the results from the rats who were not fed dried plums showed the reverse in the distal colon – the number of Bacteroidetes decreased and the number of Firmicutes increased.
What’s more, the rats on the dried plum diet also had a lower number of aberrant crypts. Derek Seidel, research assistant and doctoral graduate student, gave a statement of his own explaining that the presence of a large number of aberrant crypts is one of the early signs of cancer development.
Colon cancer is one of the main causes of death in the United States. Field experts estimate that about 49,700 Americans will die from the disease by the end of the year.
The findings of the study were first presented in Boston, at 2015’s Experimental Biology Conference.
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