The Top 10 Health Benefits of Pomegranates

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Pomegranates Cover

Top 10 Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates are one of the oldest known medicinal foods on the planet.  Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutrient value are considered “super-foods.”  Science has shown that this ancient symbolic food is also extraordinarily beneficial for human health.

Pomegranate is an ancient food that has symbolic meaning in many traditions and is mentioned throughout the Old Testament of the bible and the Homeric Hymns of Ancient Greece (1).  Pomegranates are one of the fruits that the scouts brought back to Moses to show the promised land of Israel was rich and fertile.  The bible consistently uses pomegranates with their many seeds to symbolize the blessing of fruitfulness.

Were Pomegranates the Forbidden Fruit?

They are one of the seven species of foods enumerated in the Hebrew Bible as being unique and special products of the Land of Israel.  Due to its frequent mention throughout the Old Testament of the Bible many scholars believe it may have been the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Pomegranates are loaded with nutrition and are particularly abundant in vitamin C, potassium, & pantothenic acid (B5).  Pomegranate is rich in anti-oxidant phytonutrient polyphenols such as tannins & flavinoids.    The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranates are ellagitannins, punicalagins, catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins.  These nutrients have incredible free-radical scavenging effects that are just now being studied by scientists (2, 3).

The Anti-Oxidant Capacity of Pomegranate:

The antioxidant capacity (ORAC) of pomegranate is 2,860 units per 100 grams making it one of nature’s richest sources of free-radical scavenging anti-oxidants. This potent defense against oxidative stress makes pomegranate a powerful tool for preventing degenerative and inflammatory based diseases like cancer, heart disease, & arthritis (4, 5, 6, 7).

In 2008, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry ranked Pomegranate Juice as the healthiest of all fruit juices. For comparison, study authors used four tests of antioxidant potency, a test of antioxidant functionality and an evaluation of the total polyphenol content (8).

The Rankings:

1. Pomegranate juice
2. Red wine
3. Concord grape juice
4. Blueberry juice
5. Black cherry juice
6. Açaí juice
7. Cranberry juice
8. Orange juice
9. Tea
10. Apple juice

Polyphenols and Blood Pressure:

These unique anti-oxidants have also been shown to have a significant effect on stabilizing blood pressure by inhibit serum angiotenin converting enzyme.  The specific metabolites of elligatannin polyphenols have been shown to localize in the prostate gland, colon, and intestinal tissues of mice where they take on powerful anti-carcinogenic properties (9, 10).

Due to the high sugar content of fruit juices it always advisable to either eat the entire fruit or drink just small quantities of the juice. The fruit itself contains a high content of fiber that slows down the release of the fruit sugars into the bloodstream.

The rich array of anti-oxidants is also in its most pure form within the covering of a freshly ripened pomegranate.  The juice does have many beneficial factors and due to pomegranates incredible anti-oxidant potency a 1-2 oz shot can be of significant benefit for those who react well to it.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Langley P. Why a pomegranate? BMJ : British Medical Journal. 2000;321(7269):1153-1154.
2. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hoffman A, Dornfeld L, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Liker H, Hayek T. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33. PMID: 15158307
3. Stowe CB. The effects of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 May;17(2):113-5. PMID: 21457902
4. Basu A, Penugonda K. Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice. Nutr Rev. 2009 Jan;67(1):49-56. PMID: 19146506
5. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Hayek T, Presser D, Fuhrman B. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1062-76. PMID: 10799367
6. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hofman A, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Hayek T, Fuhrman B. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2002;28(2-3):49-62. PMID: 12224378
7. Zarfeshany A, Asgary S, Javanmard SH. Potent health effects of pomegranate. Advanced Biomedical Research. 2014;3:100.
8. Comparison of Antioxidant Potency of Commonly Consumed Polyphenol-Rich Beverages in the United States Link Here
9. Pantuck AJ, Leppert JT, Zomorodian N, Aronson W, Hong J, Barnard RJ, Seeram N, Liker H, Wang H, Elashoff R, Heber D, Aviram M, Ignarro L, Belldegrun A. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-26. PMID: 16818701
10. Kasimsetty SG, Bialonska D, Reddy MK, Thornton C, Willett KL, Ferreira D. Effects of pomegranate chemical constituents/intestinal microbial metabolites on CYP1B1 in 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 25;57(22):10636-44. PMID: 19919114
11. Viladomiu M, Hontecillas R, Lu P, Bassaganya-Riera J. Preventive and Prophylactic Mechanisms of Action of Pomegranate Bioactive Constituents. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:789764
12. Kidd P. Th1/Th2 balance: the hypothesis, its limitations, and implications for health and disease. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Aug;8(3):223-46. PMID: 12946237

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