Pomegranate:A Miracle Cure?

by Linda Hayes

Pomegranate and pomegranate juice have received a great deal of attention over the last several years. Israeli researchers studied a group of patients with narrowing carotid arteries due to atherosclerosis. Half of the patients consumed approximately ¼ cup of pomegranate juice daily and the other half, the control group, did not. The patients in the control group showed an expected increase in the thickening of their arteries. Those patients who consumed the pomegranate juice showed 13% reduction of arterial plaque in just three months, 26% by nine months and a 35% decrease by the end of the year (http://www.all-creatures.org/health/reversing.html). Pomegranate

A similar study from Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California studied 45 patients suffering from coronary heart disease. Patients consumed 8 ounces of pomegranate juice or placebo daily for three months. Those who had consumed the pomegranate juice showed “significant improvement in stress-related ischemia, indicating more optimal blood flow to the heart muscle”
(http://www.lef.org/LEFCMS/aspx/PrintVersionMagic.aspx?CmsID=114816). Researchers believe these effects can be attributed to the high polyphenols found in pomegranate juice, which are known to “neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals” (http://news.adventist.org/data/2006/1166535996/index.html.en).

These studies show the positive cardiovascular effects that pomegranate juice can have. In addition, pomegranate juice is being studied and shows promise for a number of health related issues. Loma Linda University has conducted a study using mice that have genetic tendencies toward Alzheimer’s disease. Again, half were given pomegranate juice and half received a placebo. At the end of six months, the mice that received pomegranate juice showed increased learning abilities and well as 50% less plaque in their brains (http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/6830/title/Pomegranate_juice_could_fight_Alzheimers).

A group of researchers from the University of Wisconsin Medical School tested a group of mice that had been injected with human prostate cancer cells. They divided the mice into three groups, one control group which received no pomegranate, one group received .1% pomegranate extract, and the other group received .2% pomegranate extract. The results revealed that the mice that had received the larger dose of pomegranate had a significant reduction of cancer progression. These findings indicate that more testing should be done to see if this kind of result will occur in humans (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-09/uow-cpp092205.php).

In addition to cardiovascular, prostate, and brain health, pomegranate juice is being studied for its effects on diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis, dental, skin, and liver health. There is also an indication that pomegranate juice may help in the fight against lung cancer, which now represents 28% of all cancer deaths (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070427123430.htm). The high content of antioxidants contained in pomegranate juice has anti-inflammatory effects that are believed to be the source of its cancer fighting effects.

Pomegranates can be difficult to eat because of the way the seeds are packed into the fruit. Here are some tips: First, cut off the crown and then cut the pomegranate into sections. Put the sections into a bowl of water and gently roll out the seeds. Strain out the water and enjoy. If you are interested in recipes for pomegranate check out this link: http://www.pomegranates.org/recipes.html. There are many pomegranate juices available on the market and can be found at your local grocery store, health food store, and even at Costco or Sam’s Club. They come in varying degrees of concentration as well.

Is pomegranate juice a miracle cure? While many studies show exciting possibilities regarding the health benefits of pomegranate juice, there is a down side as well. Before you go out and start a new regime of daily pomegranate juice, you need to know that pomegranate juice may be contraindicated for those who are taking antihypertensive or cholesterol lowering medications (http://www.netwellness.org/question.cfm/44966.htm). Generally, 1.5 ounces daily is considered safe. But be sure to talk to your doctor before consuming pomegranate juice regularly because it may affect the metabolism of some medications (http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/pomegranate-juice/AN01227/Method=print). Finally, be aware that pomegranate juice packs quite a few calories, approximately 150 calories in just 8 ounces.

More pages