Pomegranates

pomegranate03(Along with their “Sidekicks:” Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines)

A source of:

  • Polyphenols
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
Copyrighted Material*

Pomegranates have been getting rave reviews for their many health benefits, and for good reason. They contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals, and drinking pomegranate juice has been shown to lower high blood pressure and increase blood flow throughout the body. Increased blood flow to the ears and the eyes may help to reduce hearing loss and prevent macular degeneration, both of which are relatively common diseases of aging.

The paraoxonase family of enzymes found in HDL cholesterol exert a powerful antioxidant effect on the fats contained in both HDL and LDL cholesterol and also work to keep the cells lining our blood vessels in optimum health, thereby helping both blood flow and blood pressure. It has been shown that some of the substances in pomegranates actually increase the activity of this important enzyme system.

One of the polyphenols in pomegranates has been shown to decrease our body’s production of triglycerides (a fat found in the blood), and pomegranate juice also provides us with another natural way to reduce the stickiness of our platelets (the aspirin-like effect). Substances in pomegranates also help to enhance insulin sensitivity by suppressing the secretion of resistin, a compound that plays a role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In addition, pomegranates have shown promise in the prevention and treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. And in laboratory models, at least, they have shown promise in the prevention and treatment of cancers of the breast, the liver, the colon, and the skin. A number of human clinical trials have also shown promising results in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

Pomegranates have also shown benefits in oral health by helping to control plaque development, which leads t gum disease (gingivitis).

Even male fertility may get a boost: at least two animal studies show enhanced sperm production through the antioxidant effect of pomegranate01pomegranate. There are also laboratory and clinical studies suggesting that pomegranates can play a role in decreasing the incidence of trichomonas vaginal infections, a common cause of vaginitis in women of reproductive age.

The fruit may be a bit messy to eat, but the seeds are great in salads, and the juice (pure, not blended), which you can buy, has the same benefits as the fruit itself.

*This brief summary contains copyrighted material from SuperFoods HealthStyle by Steven G. Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews. Copyright © 2006 by Steven G. Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews Inc., published by HarperCollins; and from SuperFoods Rx For Pregnancy by Steven Pratt, M.D. Copyright © 2013 by SuperFoods Partners, LLC, published by Wiley. All rights reserved.