Pomegranates are a type of fruit as old as time itself. This fruit's origin dates back to the ancient Mesopotamia era. It grew prominently in what is now modern-day Iran and also in Northern India. The fruit has a hard red shell and tiny, fleshy seeds on the inside. Pomegranates are used in a variety of ways, such as made into juices or used to enhance the flavors of curry dishes. The seeds have many health benefits and can help with alleviating all types of ailments and medical conditions. Let's crack the shell and discover the numerous health benefits of pomegranates now.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Pomegranates have a plethora of antioxidants. With over a hundred different nutritional phytochemicals in each piece of fruit, it is easy to see why pomegranates have been used for health purposes for thousands of years. One important antioxidant found in pomegranates is called polyphenols, which are micronutrients that help remove potentially harmful free radicals from the body. An abundance of free radicals floating around in the body can damage cells and lead to serious health issues. Polyphenols are also responsible for what makes the fruit so vibrantly red. For instance, pomegranate juice has three times more antioxidants than green tea and red wine.
Continue reading to learn how this powerful fruit can ease digestive problems.
Natural Digestive Aid
Pomegranates provide an ample supply of vitamin B-complex. This group of water-soluble vitamins includes folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. These vitamins help the body convert protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy properly. One piece of pomegranate fruit can yield up to twenty-five percent of the daily folate requirement and provide approximately eleven grams of fiber. The hefty amount of fiber is incredibly beneficial for the digestive system because it helps food move through the body easily. As a result, constipation, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea are less likely to occur. Pomegranates also help to secrete specific enzymes to improve the overall function of digestion. Mixing honey and pomegranate juice can also alleviate indigestion.
Next, find out how this ancient fruit can help prevent certain diseases.
Pomegranates can help prevent and treat many types of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is a condition that can lead to death. It can affect many people and is the primary cause of fatalities within the United States. Pomegranates are especially effective in treating atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up on the artery walls and narrows the passages of the blood vessels. Plaque consists of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that can harden in the arteries over time and can lead to a major stroke if the blood vessels become obstructed. Pomegranates work to decrease oxidate stress in the blood vessels, which help reduce the inflammation and lower the risk of cardiovascular problems. Pomegranates also prevent diseases such as diabetes and other metabolic syndromes by keeping blood sugar levels in check and not letting it get too high.
Keep reading to reveal how this fruit can help reduce inflammation within the body.
Chronic inflammation can be an indicator of an underlying condition and lead to other complications. These complications can develop into heart disease, cancer, obesity, and type II diabetes. Inflammation is an intricate biological response to tissue damage and infection. Pomegranates contain a vital antioxidant called punicalagins, which are found in the juice and the peel of the fruit. These agents can drastically reduce and inhibit levels of inflammation in an afflicted area. Pomegranates are highly effective in treating autoimmune diseases that affect the joints such as different types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. These conditions can be treated by adding pomegranates to the diet. The fruit can help delay cartilage degeneration and act as an extra supplement for reinforcement of joint stability and structure.
Uncover the essential vitamin that pomegranates contain next.
Packed With Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a crucial antioxidant that is needed in the body to help ward off toxic free radicals that invade the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that can invade healthy tissue and cause harm in the body, leading to illnesses. Vitamin C is also essential in promoting healthy, youthful skin. It is good to have a significant amount of vitamin C to help facilitate the production of collagen, as collagen is a fibrous protein that is responsible for the elasticity of the skin tissue and muscles. The consumption of vitamin C can help delay the aging process by brightening skin tones and reducing blemishes such as acne and wrinkles. Pomegranates have a substantial amount of vitamin C, and consuming the fruit or making juice out of it will ensure the individual gets an adequate amount of the daily recommended amount.
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May Fight Prostate And Breast Cancer
Recent studies suggest pomegranates may fight prostate and breast cancer. In one study on patients with prostate cancer, drinking eight ounces of pomegranate juice increased the doubling time of the prostate-specific antigen (one of the markers associated with prostate cancer) from fifteen to fifty-four months. Other studies have shown similar results with a pomegranate extract, and additional research on humans suggests pomegranate juice slows the growth of prostate cancer. In terms of breast cancer, laboratory studies have demonstrated pomegranate extract slows the growth of cancer cells, and some research found the extract destroyed the cancerous cells. Researchers hope to conduct human studies on the potential benefits of pomegranate extract for breast cancer patients in the near future.
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Reduce Blood Pressure
Multiple studies have found pomegranate juice can reduce blood pressure, and it seems to be particularly effective in reducing systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure measurement). A 2013 study of patients with high blood pressure noted a statistically significant drop in systolic blood pressure readings after the subjects consumed a five-ounce serving of pomegranate juice each day for fourteen days. A similar study the same year followed thirteen males with high blood pressure. After fasting for twelve hours, the subjects drank a five-ounce serving of natural pomegranate juice. Baseline and post-study blood pressure measurements were recorded. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted the participant's systolic blood pressure readings were reduced by an average of seven percent. Diastolic blood pressure measurements also fell by six percent. Scientists believe punicic acid may be responsible for these improvements in blood pressure. Pomegranates have also been shown to reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels, and this could indirectly reduce blood pressure by lowering overall inflammation. The antioxidants in this fruit can increase blood flow and lower cholesterol levels, both of which are associated with lower blood pressure.
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Can Help Fight Infections
One of the most powerful health benefits of the pomegranate is it can help fight infections. Researchers have noted it is particularly effective in combating fungal and bacterial infections. For example, a 2009 study of pomegranate rind extract found it was moderately effective in inhibiting the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). A 2010 study of dried and powdered pomegranate peel concluded it was effective in inhibiting the Candida albicans fungus that causes yeast infections. Additional research suggests pomegranates could help protect against mouth infections such as periodontitis, gingivitis, and denture stomatitis. Pomegranates can also improve the overall health of the immune system, and this may make it easier for the patient to fight the common cold and other minor illnesses. In 2012, researchers conducted a clinical trial that investigated the infection-fighting properties of pomegranate juice on roughly one hundred patients undergoing regular dialysis. The patients drank pomegranate juice three times each week over a one-year period. Compared to a control group, patients who drank pomegranate juice had fewer signs of inflammation, and they also had fewer hospitalizations due to infection.
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May Boost Cognitive Function
Both animal and human studies have suggested pomegranates may boost cognitive function. Research on mice found pomegranate juice seems to have a neuroprotective effect on the brain. The mice in the study were given either pomegranate juice or sugar water, and those given the pomegranate juice learned maze tasks more quickly and swam faster than the mice that received sugar water. Over a twelve-month period, the mice that received pomegranate juice had approximately fifty percent less amyloid deposition and soluble Abeta42 accumulation in the hippocampus. Amyloid and Abeta42 are currently believed to be associated with Alzheimer's disease. Several human studies also found pomegranates are helpful in reducing memory deficits. Memory issues frequently develop in patients who have just undergone heart surgery. A 2013 study of these patients found taking two grams of pomegranate extract improved memory retention in the subjects. Additional research on a group of twenty-eight adults who were already experiencing memory problems showed the daily consumption of an eight-ounce serving of pomegranate juice led to a significant improvement in verbal and visual memory.
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May Boost Exercise Performance
Research indicates the high concentration of dietary nitrates in pomegranates may boost exercise performance. In 2014, researchers conducted a small study involving nineteen male and female athletes. During the experiment, each of the athletes consumed pomegranate juice or a placebo before performing three treadmill tests that involved exercising to the point of exhaustion. Arterial flow was measured before and after exercise with an ultrasound of the brachial artery. The results indicated the athletes who consumed pomegranate juice were able to exercise for a significantly longer period before reaching exhaustion as compared to the placebo group. Additionally, the athletes in the pomegranate group also had improved blood flow and an increased blood vessel diameter in comparison to those who received the placebo. A separate study published in 2015 found drinking a five hundred milliliter serving of pomegranate juice daily for fifteen days improved both endurance and aerobic performance in a small group of endurance athletes.