Outstanding Health Benefits of Pomegranates
Pomegranate Seeds or Arils
Pomegranate Health Benefits
Pomegranates may be the most beneficial fruit for heart health that exists! The botanical name for it is Punica granatum. The fruit comes from a tree and unlike other fruits, the part of it that is eaten are the seeds or arils.
Wikipedia says that these fruits contain punicic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, polypehenols and ellagic acid. All of these substances that are in food and herbs that are good for health are known as phytochemicals (plant medicines). There are thousands of phytochemicals and over 900 of them have been identified. Some famous ones are curcumin in turmeric, resveratrol in grapes, and lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon.
This was written April 28, 2015. Pomegranate is especially high in ellagic acid, that has been shown to support healthy cellular function. It is also contains more polyphenols, that help protect blood vessels and reduce inflammation in artery walls, than blueberries, cranberries, green tea, orange juice or even red wine. It also contains some resveratrol that grapes are famous for.
The red color of pomegranates is due to anthocyanins, such as delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin glycosides. Wikipedia says that there are 60 clinical trials going on with this by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to see how effective it is in helping atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries), coronary artery disease, erectile dysfunction, memory, aging, prostate cancer, diabetes, common cold, rhinovirus infection (flu), osteoporosis and more.
WebMD.com says about pomegranate:
Pomegranate is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart attack, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. It is also used for conditions of the digestive tract, including diarrhea, dysentery, and tapeworm and other intestinal parasites.
Like blueberries, pomegranate helps to lower high blood pressure (the silent killer). Hypertension (its technical name) is a big problem in America with 40% of people over age 40 having it. I just read that a hospital in Kenya saw 1,800 patients over a 2 year period. Now if one of those people had high blood pressure (HBP) then that would be a rate of 0.06% having HBP.
But none of those people had HBP. The article was about salt and said that the average American eats 3,600 mg of salt daily while the average Kenyon eats 2,000 mg daily of salt. so the American eats 80% more salt. Note that many fruits and vegetables help to lower high blood pressure.
That alone would not make that big a difference in hypertension. But what also affects cardiovascular health is vitamin D that comes from sunlight. America is far from the equator where sunlight is the brightest while the equator goes right through Kenya. See The Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic.
Pomegranates, like beets, help the body to produce nitric oxide and also protects nitric oxide from breaking down. Nitric oxide relaxes the artery walls so the circulation improve and as a side effect, this lowers high blood pressure. Note that medications or drugs have bad side effects while healthy foods or herbs have good side effects.
Nitric oxide makes a huge difference in cardiovascular health and the prevention of heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. Read about the 3 scientists that got a Nobel prize for discovering what nitric oxide can do for your heart health. See Greatly Improve Circulation With Nitric Oxide.
Life Extension Magazine says:
Approximately 71 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, a history of stroke, or peripheral vascular disease (impaired blood flow to the extremities). Atherosclerosis—a disease of the blood vessels, characterized by inflammation, vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, and impaired nitric oxide production—is a major component of cardiovascular disease.
In both laboratory and clinical studies, pomegranate shows great promise in averting the numerous pathological changes associated with cardiovascular disease. Scientists believe pomegranate works through several mechanisms to fight cardiovascular disease by:
- reducing oxidative stress
- supporting the synthesis and activity of nitric oxide
- inhibiting the oxidation of potentially harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) [cholesterol].
This article mentions many studies that were already done like:
Among patients given daily pomegranate juice supplements (providing 78 mg of punicalagins) for one year, atherosclerotic lesions in the common carotid artery decreased by 35% in size, while actually growing by 9% in a control group. Thus, pomegranate reversed existing atherosclerosis, which continued to worsen in those who did not consume pomegranate.
Pomegranates are not one of the cheaper fruits but this article explains why they are worth their price. Below I will put up a video that shows an easier way to get the seeds out of the pomegranate. Trader Joe's is a popular chain of food stores across the U.S. I used to go to one in Philadelphia and now I go to one in Arizona.
They are known for having gourmet foods at very reasonable prices. In the refrigerator section of their store you can buy the pomegranate seeds or arils in a container without having to work to get them out of the fruit. This is great for a super healthy snack. Also a neighbor of mine in Arizona grows pomegranates on a little tree.
If possible, it always better to get organically grown fruit, vegetables and grains. My neighbor does not use any chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides. Like another neighbor of mine that uses no chemicals, they both use compost. Southern Arizona has 2 growing seasons or in other words, you can grow things all year round. It can get to over 110 degrees here in the summer but the low humidity makes it much more bearable.
Joel Fuhrman M.D. is an expert on treating people with fasting and a change of diet. He says that to prevent disease people should eat G-BOMBS. This is an acronym that stands for greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds/nuts. As far as health benefits the seeds of the pomegranate act similar to berries. See my article about how berries are the best food for the cardiovascular system with quotes from different studies. See The Best Foods for Cardiovascular Health.
Dr. Fuhrman says:
A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate's antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
He mentions a study on above article where people with severe carotid artery blockages were given an ounce of pomegranate juice daily for a year. I feel that they should have used more than that. Not only did it lower their high blood pressure by 12%, there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. In the group that was not given it, they had a 9% increase in atherosclerotic plaque.
For anti-aging pomeranate helps the body to produce the critical antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD). Like many plant foods it also helps to reduce inflammation.
For the best food (blueberries) that helps to keep you younger longer (anti-aging) see Health Benefits of Blueberries. For the best food (cherries) that an MD says that can reduce pain and inflammation better than aspirin, see Health Benefits of Cherries.