An association between dried plums (prunes) and colon health has been known for some time. Researchers now have a better idea of why. Scientists at Texas A&M University traced how eating a daily dose of prunes affects colon biochemistry. They found that mice fed the equivalent of approximately 5 prunes per day in a human diet showed a unique combination of biologically active compounds in their colons. These compounds appear to contribute to a reduced risk for colon cancer. 

In a poster presentation at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2017 annual meeting, Derek Seidel, of Texas A&M University, presented findings that shed new light on how dietary changes can help to protect against the development of colon cancer. The findings could lead to new approaches for lowering colon cancer risk. 

The researchers traced numerous differences in the relative concentrations of biochemicals based on colon location and diet. They identified 35 compounds that were different as a result of the interaction between diet and location. Several biochemicals were identified in the animals fed a prune diet that were not detected in the control-diet animals.

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Mr Seidel and colleagues report that the alterations in microbially derived metabolites that were identified support the notion of dried plums as a prebiotic food. In addition, the theoretical benefit may be derived from a level that contributes only 5% of total dietary calories, which is equivalent to the recommended 100-calorie, 40-g serving of dried plums.


1. Dried plums modify the colon luminal metabolome in a rat model of colon carcinogenesis. Poster presentation at: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2017 Annual Meeting; April 22-26, 2017; Chicago, IL.