Plums and prunes are probably best known for their mild laxative properties, and they can be used for keeping digestion on track for mild constipation. But if you are wondering why plums are good for you, there is more than one answer. It turns out that this tasty fruit offers many other health benefits, including that they may have the potential to lower your risk for colon cancer.
The Many Plum Health Benefits
- They are high in fiber, which is partly what makes them great for keeping digestion moving.
- They have many important vitamins, like vitamin K1 (important for bone health), B-vitamins (important for energy, memory, cholesterol, control, and more), vitamin C (an antioxidant, immune booster, and heart-healthy vitamin) and vitamin A (necessary for healthy eyes, skin, and hair).
- Plums are also good sources of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and copper.
- Plums may help lower cholesterol.
- They may help fight osteoporosis.
- They may help manage and even prevent diabetes.
- Phenolic compounds, carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and α-tocopherol are all important antioxidants found in plums that may help reduce the risk of disease including cancer and heart disease.
Do Plums Really Help Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer?
The effects of plums on colon cancer appear to be very promising. Some of the reasons why plums may help reduce the risk of colon cancer include:
- Dried plums promote beneficial bacteria in the colon, a change that is associated with reduced incidence of precancerous lesions in the colon.
- Because they are high in fiber, plums reduce the transit time of stool in the colon, which can protect the colon and reduce risk of cancer.
- Plum can bind to bile acids, including those that promote cancer, helping to remove them from the body.
- Due to its high antioxidant content, dried plums can help reduce oxidative damage associated with cancer occurrence.
So far, there have been no studies in humans showing the effects of eating plums on cancer risk, but this growing body of laboratory evidence suggests that doing so could be important.
How to Eat More Plums
Plums are easy to add into your diet any time of year. Fresh fruits are always a healthy option because they undergo no processing and all the nutrients in the fruit are preserved. When you can’t find fresh, opt for dried plums or 100% prune fruit juice (but be sure not to drink juice loaded with extra sugars). If you don’t like the flavor of plums or prune juice, try blending them into a smoothie.
Originally published in November 2015 and has since been updated.