New research presented at the 2015 Experimental Biology meeting expands on the current body of evidence suggesting that eating dried plums may offer benefits ranging from supporting bone health in post-menopausal women to helping to reduce inflammation in smokers. The research headlines are:
• Dried plums promote retention of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract which may be protective against the risk of colon cancer. (Program 394.7)
• Dried plums help slow/prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. (Poster C155)
• Dried plums increase antioxidant capacity in the body, which may help reduce disease risk in smokers that are struggling to quit. (Program 922.15/Poster C366)
• Dried plums may lower elastase in smokers. Elastase is an inflammatory marker that has implications in the development of emphysema. (Program 922.13/Poster C364)
Diet containing dried plums is linked to lower risk of colon cancer in rats.
New research presented as part of the session titled "Diet and Cancer: Fat versus Fiber in Colon Cancer: Opposite in the End?" explored cancer-protective properties of dried plums in rats. Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina evaluated how a diet containing dried plums affected microbiota throughout the colon and risks of colon cancer. Dried plums appeared to promote retention of beneficial microbiota and microbial metabolism throughout the colon, and, by doing so, reduce the incidence of colon cancer in rats.
"While additional research is needed, the results from this study are exciting because they suggest that eating dried plums may be a viable nutrition strategy to help prevent colorectal cancer," says Nancy Turner, PhD, Research Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas A&M University. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined.
A daily serving of dried plums is linked to preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women
Emerging research shows that eating dried plums may have positive effects on bone health. Previous studies discovered that eating 100 grams (two servings; about 8-10 dried plums) of dried plums for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD) and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. The objective of this current study was to examine whether 50 grams (one serving; about 4-5 dried plums) would be as effective as the larger dose. The results indicate that one serving of dried plums may be as effective in preventing bone loss in older, osteopenic postmenopausal women.
"This is especially compelling as This is a serious issue for men and women alike, and dried plums continue to show promising results in the prevention and reversal of bone loss."osteoporosis is a serious issue for men and women alike, and dried plums continue to show promising results in the prevention and reversal of bone loss. A dried fruit that you can incorporate into your diet as a convenient snack that may help to prevent further bone loss is an incredible finding," says Shirin Hooshmand, PhD, Researcher and Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University.
Osteoprotective effects of dried plums: a promising dietary strategy to counter age-related bone loss
Adding to the positive role of dried plums and bone health, Brenda Smith, PhD, Researcher, Professor and John and Sue Taylor Professorship, Department of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University, presented a hot topic session focused on the dietary bioactive components of dried plums in relation to bone health and development. Smith and her team found dried plums particularly interesting because of their source of phenolic compounds that have both antioxidant and immunomodulating properties, according to the article entitled "An Anti-Osteoporosis Recipe," in International Innovation.
Dried plums are effective in increasing antioxidant capacity in the body, which may help reduce disease risk in smokers that are struggling to quit When eaten frequently, dried plums contribute to the overall intake of dietary fiber and many important vitamins, minerals and phenolic compounds, which function as antioxidants. Research results presented at the conference discovered that dried plums are effective in increasing antioxidant capacity for both smokers and nonsmokers and may give smokers some protection against oxidative stress associated with cigarette smoking.
"Since dried plums contain plant compounds with antioxidant activity that promote good health, choosing dried plums as a snack instead of a less nutritious option may be beneficial in reducing disease risks in smokers that are struggling to quit," says Mark Kern, PhD, RD, CSSD, Researcher and Professor, Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University.
Dried plums are shown to lower elastase, an inflammatory marker implicated in the development of emphysema in smokers
The same study in smokers conducted by researchers at San Diego State University discovered that eating dried plums may have a positive role in preventing the emphysema associated with smoking cigarettes. Research linked eating dried plums before smoking a cigarette with decreased signs of inflammation in lung tissue.