Prunes may be the most maligned dry fruit around. Joke after joke, you know one popped in your head when you read the title; but all joking aside, this former plum may be a great way to help keep your gut healthy.

Your digestive tract is home to trillions of different microbes, and each is important to your overall health. Low or missing types of gut bacteria has been linked with depression, some types of autism, anxiety, and low immune system response. They also keep inflammation in your intestine under control.

New research out of Texas A&M university is now linking the lowly prune with the body’s ability to retain beneficial bacteria in the colon - thus reducing inflammation and ultimately the possibility of reducing your risk of developing colon cancer. Dr. Nancy Turner, research professor in the nutrition and food science department of A&M, says that prunes help neutralize free radicals that can damage DNA and lead to the formation of cancer cells.

The study was performed on rats and needs to be extended to humans. Much more research is needed, and it is also important to note that the study was funded by the California Dried Plum Board.

The doctors at GI Associates want you live your healthiest life and prevention is key! Regardless of the specific responses cited in the study, prunes are an excellent source of fiber and a high fiber diet is a widely recommended prescription for colon health. So try adding a few prunes to your morning routine. If it makes you feel better you can tell your friends you are eating some dried plums.

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