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Other Health Conditions

Dried Plums Promote Increased Antioxidant Capacity in Smokers and Nonsmokers

Zawilski Alexandra, Nelson Stephanie, McGill Brittany, McIntosh Marian, Hong Mee Young, Shirin Hooshmand, Kern Mark

School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92812.

Smokers suffer from decreased antioxidant capacity, a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases. Consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as dried plums may increase antioxidant capacity and reduce disease risk. Nonsmokers (n=14) and smokers (n=6) between the ages of 18 and 45 years were recruited to participate in 2 randomly ordered trials in which they received 100 g of dried plums at one visit and a refined isocaloric control food (muffins) at another. Antioxidant capacity was examined in blood samples collected at baseline and 60, 90, and 120 minutes post-feeding. No significant differences in postprandial antioxidant capacity were detected over time when consuming the muffin snack in smokers or nonsmokers. Dried plum consumption elicited significant increases (p<.05) in antioxidant capacity in both groups together from baseline throughout all time points, with peak values achieved at 90 minutes. Dried plums promoted higher antioxidant capacity compared to muffins at all time points (p<.05). Smokers had significantly lower (p<.05) levels of antioxidant capacity at all time points compared to nonsmokers. Although antioxidant capacity remained elevated (p<0.05) at each time point in comparison to baseline, it decreased (p<0.05) from minutes 90 to 120 for smokers but continued to rise up to the 120 min time point for nonsmokers. Results suggest that dried plums are efficient in increasing antioxidant capacity for both smokers and nonsmokers and that they may be an effective way to reduce disease risk factors in smokers that are struggling with cessation. Future research should evaluate the use of dried plums as a chronic intervention to promote health of smokers. This study was funded by the California Dried Plum Board.

Neutrophil Elastase Responses in Smokers and Nonsmokers Consuming Dried Plums

Nelson Stephanie, Zawilski Alexandra, McGill Brittany, McIntosh Marian, Hong Mee Young, Shirin Hooshmand, Kern Mark

School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92812.

Neutrophil elastase, a marker of pulmonary inflammation, is secreted by macrophages within minutes of cigarette smoking to combat inflammation. Excessive levels of neutrophil elastase have been implicated in the pathogenesis of emphysema. Oxidative stress induced by smoking destroys the inhibitors of neutrophil elastase, further exacerbating the uncontrolled release and activity of the enzyme. To determine the effect of dried plums, a high antioxidant food, on neutrophil elastase, nonsmokers (n=14) and smokers (n=5) underwent two trials in which they consumed 100 g dried plums at one visit and an isocaloric control food  (muffins) during the other. Neutrophil elastase concentrations were evaluated in blood samples that were taken at baseline and at 60, 75, 90, and 120 minutes post-feeding, and smokers smoked one cigarette at 45 minutes post-feeding. Results demonstrated that there were no significant changes in neutrophil elastase from baseline in nonsmokers at any time point. However, smokers, experienced a significant decrease in neutrophil elastase 90 minutes after consuming dried plums (p<0.05) that did not occur after consuming muffins. The results suggest that dried plums may control the secretion and activity of neutrophil elastase, which could potentially prevent the pathogenesis of emphysema associated with smoking cigarettes. This study was funded by the California Dried Plum Board.

Fiber's Effect on Steroid Homones and Breast Cancer

Rock, C. L., S. W. Flatt, et al. (2004). "Effects of a high-fiber, low-fat diet intervention on serum concentrations of reproductive steroid hormones in women with a history of breast cancer." J Clin Oncol 22(12): 2379-87.

A high-fiber, low-fat diet intervention is associated with reduced serum bioavailable estradiol concentration in women diagnosed with breast cancer, in whom the majority did not exhibit weight loss.

Effect of Prune Consumption on the Ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16a-hydroxyestrone

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76 (2002): 1422–1427
Kasim-Karakas, S.E., Almario, R.U., Gregory, L., Todd, H., Wong, R. and Lasley, B.L.

High fiber intake has been associated with a decreased breast cancer risk. This study investigated the effects of prunes as a source of fiber on the concentrations and ratios of two estrogen metabolites: 2OHE1 and 16aOHE1. A higher urinary ratio of 2OHE1 to 16aOHE1 may be associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. Healthy premenopausal women ate their usual diet for three menstrual cycles and then consumed 100 grams (10–12 prunes) for the next three cycles. Urinary 2OHE1 and 16aOHE1 were determined during the follicular and luteal phases. Prune supplementation significantly decreased excretion of 16aOHE1 during the follicular phase of the first menstrual cycle and during the luteal phases of the first and third menstrual cycles. The 2OHE1 to 16aOHE1 ratio did not change significantly. The significance of the decrease in 16aOHE1 without a change in ratio of the two estrogen metabolites on the prevention of estrogen-dependent cancers remains to be determined.

A Diet Rich in Soluble and Insoluble Fiber Improves Glycemic Control and Reduces Hyperlipidemia Among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

McIntosh, M. and C. Miller (2001). “A diet containing food rich in soluble and insoluble fiber improves glycemic control and reduces hyperlipidemia among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Nutr Rev 59(2): 52-5.

Subjects with type 2 diabetes who consumed a diet containing food naturally rich in fiber (e.g., 50 g fiber/day, 50% soluble) for 6 weeks had significant improvements in glycemic control and lipid levels when compared with patients who consumed a diet with moderate amounts of fiber (e.g., 25 g fiber/day, 50% soluble).