Plums and prunes are probably best known for their mild laxative properties, and they are often used to help keep digestion regular. But if you are wondering why are plums good for you, there is more than one answer. It turns out that these tasty fruits offer many other health benefits, including lowering your risk for colon cancer.
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The Many Health Benefits of Plums
- Plums are rich sources of some important nutrients.
- 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 lowering cholesterol.
- They help fight osteoporosis.
- They help manage diabetes.
- Phenolic compounds, carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and α-tocopherol are all important antioxidants found in plums that help fight disease (especially cancer).
Do Plums Really Fight Colon Cancer?
Several laboratory and animal studies have looked at the effects of plums on colon cancer and discovered very promising results. Some of the reasons why plums are thought to 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 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.
- Plum extracts induce cell-death of colon cancer cells.
- Diets containing dried plums may reduce certain colon cancer risk factors.
- Due to a 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.
Researchers of the study found that plums favorably alter the microbial composition in the colon, preventing the formation of precancerous legions. They concluded that “the results from this study are exciting because they suggest that regularly eating dried plums may be a viable dietary strategy to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.”
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 prune 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.
Share Your Experience
Do you like plums? How do you eat them? Have you ever experienced any of the health benefits associated with them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Originally published in November 2015 and has since been updated.