Pomegranate’s Incredible Health Benefits: 5 Facts

Pomegranate has become very popular among health-conscious foodists thanks in part to emerging research showing its powerful antioxidant content and high nutritional values. The fruit is rich in vitamin C (a natural antioxidant), magnesium, potassium, and copper. As research continues to discover more and more benefits, it appears that pomegranate's place in nutrition and healthy-eating circles is here to stay. Here are 5 facts you should know about pomegranate and how it supports your health.

1. Pomegranates Supply Two Powerful Antioxidants

Pomegranates contain anthocyanins, flavonoids that give pomegranates their deep and intense red color. Punicalagins, a potent and versatile antioxidant, is responsible for pomegranate's main antioxidant activity. In addition to the fruit's antioxidant effects, anthocyanins appear to provide analgesic effects. Studies indicate punicalagins may possess cytotoxic properties in addition to their antioxidant activity. [1]

2. Promotes Health at the Cellular Level

Studies report those who eat pomegranate or supplement with the extract have lower levels of 8-Oxo-DG, a biochemical released by DNA oxidation. Individuals with high levels of this biomarker often suffer from muscle weakness, decreased liver function, skin aging, and reduced brain function. The lower the levels of 8-Oxo-DG, the healthier the cells.

3. Supports Cardiovascular Healing

Punicalagins seem to affect the heart and vascular system directly. One study had 10 participants drink one ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. At the end of that year, the participant's blood pressure lowered by 12% and atherosclerotic plaque levels reduced by 30%. [2] It also appears to inhibit LDL cholesterol from clumping, thereby reducing potential damage and lowering cholesterol levels. [3]

4. Prevents AGE Damage

Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs, play a role on the onset of diseases such as type-II diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. As appropriate by the products' acronym, AGEs also contribute to aging. Studies suggest pomegranate offers a natural means for fighting these diseases. In addition to scavenging for free radicals, punicalagin appears to target these specific AGEs. [4]

5. Mood Support

Research suggests pomegranate does more than just work at the cellular level; in fact, some research is showing that the fruit may aid mental and emotional health. In a study involving both men and women, pomegranate juice improved outlook and mood, as well as response to anxiety. [5]

How to Add Pomegranate to Your Diet

The seeds of the pomegranate make a nutritious snack, while pomegranate juice offers easier access to the antioxidants and nutrients, minus the fiber. Pomegranate extract used in many supplements provides potent, concentrated antioxidants, and are often combined with other health-promoting herbs.

Do you drink pomegranate juice? Why, or why not? Please let us know how it makes you feel!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Kulkarni AP1, Mahal HS, Kapoor S, Aradhya SM. In vitro studies on the binding, antioxidant, and cytotoxic actions of punicalagin. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Feb 21;55(4):1491-500.
  2. Aviram M1, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, …read more

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