Dec 13 2020

When it comes to Health Benefits, Pomegranates Pack a Punch

Published by at 1:06 pm under antibacterials,Antioxidants

When it comes to Health Benefits, Pomegranates pack a Punch.

The unrivaled health benefits of pomegranates make this a favorite winter fruit.

So peaches and watermelon may no longer be in season, but with the winter months comes one of the healthiest fruits you can get your hands on…the pomegranate. Seeing them in the stores puts me in the holiday spirit as they are plentiful this time of year. Not only are they tasty and fun to eat, but their range of beneficial plant compounds is also unrivaled.1*

Pomegranates earn their status as a powerful superfood due to their wide range of nutrients and compounds which can help lower your risk of developing various diseases. While the thick tough skin is discarded, (yet used in pomegranate powder and some juices) the inside is packed full of seeds with a sweet, red, and juicy covering called an aril. These seeds and arils can be eaten raw or can be juiced. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive plant compounds. But consuming both seeds, arils, and skin, as in some pomegranate juices and powders, can deem all the more beneficial. “…The synergistic action of the pomegranate constituents appears to be superior to that of single constituents…” (1,2)*

Pomegranates have historical medicinal uses for a variety of ailments.  “…The pomegranate, Punica granatum L., is an ancient, mystical, unique fruit borne on a small, long-living tree cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region, as far north as the Himalayas, in Southeast Asia, and in California and Arizona in the United States. In addition to its ancient historical uses, pomegranate is used in several systems of medicine for a variety of ailments…”2*

A cup of pomegranate seeds and arils contains:

  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 30% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
  • Folate: 16% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 12% of the RDI1*

The two most notable plant compounds found in pomegranates and responsible for most of their health benefits are punicalagin, which are extremely potent antioxidants, and punicic acid, which is the main fatty acid in the arils. Punicalagins, which are found in the juice and peel, has been found to have three times more antioxidant benefits than red wine or green tea.  If you ever see pomegranate extract or powder, it is typically made from the peel. 1*

Punicic Acid on the other hand is found in the pomegranate seed oil, which is the main fatty acid in the arils. It is a type of conjugated linoleic acid with very potent biological effects. 1*

Because of the potent antioxidant properties of the punicalagins, pomegranates offer a plethora of health benefits. “…In the past decade, numerous studies on the antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate constituents have been published, focusing on treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental conditions, erectile dysfunction, bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance, and ultraviolet radiation-induced skin damage. ..”(1,2)*

There is nothing better than eating food you really enjoy but at the same time knowing it is so good for you. When you eat a pomegranate or drink pomegranate juice, you will be benefitting from the following:  

Improve Gut health and boost healthy bacteria

The plant compounds found in pomegranate have been shown to help ward off harmful microorganisms. When it comes to inflammation, usually originating from harmful bacteria in the gut, we want to eat foods that promote good gut bacteria and avoid those that promote the bad. In addition to warding off certain types of harmful bacteria, it also helps battle Candida albicans. The antibacterial and antifungal effects of the compounds found in pomegranate may also protect against mouth infections and inflammation to include gingivitis and periodontitis.(1,2)*

 Strong anti-inflammatory properties

Whenever we can, we should eat foods that reduce inflammation as opposed to those that cause it (as in processed foods and sugar). Inflammation is a leading cause of such diseases as cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and obesity. One study involving pomegranates showed those who consumed it benefited from a reduction in inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, and also in both breast cancer and colon cancer cells. In another 12 week study of people with diabetes, they found that “…1.1 cups of pomegranate juice per day lowered the inflammatory markers CRP and interleukin-6 by 32% and 30%, respectively…” 3*.

May help with arthritis and joint pain Because most types of arthritis involve inflammation of the joints, it makes sense that pomegranate helps with arthritic pain. The anti-inflammatory effects of the plant compounds found in pomegranate have shown positive results in laboratory studies involving mice as well in research using isolated cells. The results suggest that pomegranate extract can block enzymes known to damage joints in those suffering from osteoarthritis. Human research has been limited but will hopefully prove beneficial.  4*

Can pomegranates help fight against Prostate Cancer?

“…Laboratory studies have shown that pomegranate extract may help slow cancer cell reproduction and even induce apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells…”(1,5)*

The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) is a marker in the blood for identifying and measuring prostate cancer in men. When PSA levels double in a short period of time, it indicates that a man is at a greater risk of dying from this type of cancer. A study involving men who drank 8 ounces (237 ml) of pomegranate juice per day, showed to increase the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) doubling time from 15 months to 54 months. A follow-up study using a type of pomegranate extract called POMx showed similar improvements.   This is significant in the fight against prostate cancer deaths.(1,5)*

Breast cancer benefits

In women, there were benefits when it came to breast cancer as well. Pomegranate extract may inhibit the reproduction and even possibly kill breast cancer cells. This evidence is limited to laboratory studies with more research and human studies needed before anything definitive can be claimed. (1,6)*.

Lower blood pressure and ward off heart disease

In another study, people who consumed 5 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks saw a significant reduction in blood pressure. Another study showed that punicic acid, which is the main fatty acid compound in pomegranate, may help protect against developing heart disease. 1*

 “…A 4-week study in 51 people with high triglyceride levels showed that 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil per day significantly lowered triglycerides and improved the triglyceride-HDL ratio …”1*

But that is not all. “…Another study looked at those with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and noted significant reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as other improvements.In both animal and human studies, pomegranate juice was shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, one of the key steps in the pathway towards heart disease…”1*

Might help your memory

Some evidence, primarily with studies in mice, suggests that pomegranate may improve memory in older adults, after surgery, and possibly protect against Alzheimer’s disease, most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.(1,7)*

If you want to reap the many health benefits pomegranates have to offer, eat the arils directly or drink pomegranate juice. The arils and seeds are delicious as an addition to a green or fruit salad or eaten by themselves. While you have to put in a little effort to peel the pomegranate and extract the seeds, it makes a bowl of pomegranate seeds all the more rewarding. *

To cut and eat a pomegranate, simply cut a circle around the top of the fruit to peel back the skin off. Then, cut vertical slices from top to bottom about 1 inch apart and peel the sections to expose the seeds. Empty seeds into a big bowl, and make sure to wear an apron because you are bound to get some of the vibrant red juice on your clothes. You can also buy pomegranate juice and powder with some incorporating the skin and really benefit from the punicalagin mentioned above.*

As the holidays get into full swing and the temptations of sweets abound, consider choosing a pomegranate instead for a sweet and colorful treat and get all the many health benefits that come with it, including a boost for the microbiome. To be sure you are fortifying your immune system this holiday, don’t forget to take your Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ daily.*

Healthiest wishes, and enjoy this special time of year.

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-pomegranate#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18590349/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23573120/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19504467/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23320197/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24962397/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789410/

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