The Pomegranate and it's Health Benefits
The Pomegranate, or Punica granatum, the “seeded apple,” has been eaten and enjoyed for centuries. The fruit originated in the Mideast, spread to southern China, Southeast Asia and some areas of Europe before finding its way to the USA. In fact some evidence shows the fruit has been consumed as far back as the Early Bronze Age. The Babylonians are said to have chewed its seeds before battle in the belief they contained the amazing powers of “invincibility.” The ancient Egyptians considered their “powers” strong enough to have them placed in their tombs. Modern researchers are coming to the belief that the ancients knew well of the benefits to be derived by eating the seeds of this small, tartly sweet fruit.
The average Pomegranate contains in the neighborhood of 600 seeds. These seeds, known as “arils” are encased in a white, non-eatable, bitter tasting membrane. The arils are tasty, low in calories, extremely high in fiber, vitamins C and K, as well as being high in phytochemicals - a chemical compound found in many fruits and vegetables that has either hormonal or antioxidant properties. The most prominent antioxidant being “ellagitannins,” a powerful compound formed when ellagic acid combines with carbohydrates.
Health Benefits of This Heavenly Fruit
There are various health benefits attributed to the lowly pomegranate. Several studies have been conducted with more under way to look even deeper into the medicinal role this succulent fruit may play in the future of natural healing. For thousands of years the pomegranate has been used in India’s ancient medical practice known as the “Ayurveda System” as a treatment for everything from diarrhea to stopping nose bleeds. I have listed the three major known benefits here.
- Heart disease; the antioxidants contained within the seeds have shown very promising results in reducing the risk factors in cardiovascular disease. Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000 reported that test subjects consuming pomegranate juice on a daily basis over a two week period had significantly increased levels of antioxidants, as well as a substantial drop in LDL (low density lipoprotein) oxidation. The juice not only fights hardening of the arteries, it also works to reduce systolic blood pressure in those individuals suffering from high blood pressure, thus doing its bit to help prevent future heart attacks and strokes.
- Cancer benefits; the polyphenols (phytochemicals); tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins may not only offer substantial benefits in cardiovascular health, but in the prevention of cancer. These powerful antioxidants may induce cancer cell death, promote healthy cell survival, and prevent the growth of, or regrowth of tumors. Studies conducted by Israeli researchers have concluded that pomegranate oil may provide a welcome benefit to those suffering from breast cancer by destroying cancer cells all-the-while leaving healthy cells untouched.
- Osteoarthritis; debilitating and deforming, this disease affects hundreds of thousands of postmenstrual women. Current research has indicated the extract from pomegranates my assist in fighting this disease by cutting levels of interleukin-1b – an inflammatory chemical associated with osteoarthritis, and possibly prevent cartilage degradation thus assisting in maintaining healthy joint integrity.
These are just a sample of the benefits being attributed to eating, and or drinking the juice of this “Miracle” fruit. So to sum it all up; this natural little physician not only contains the highest antioxidant levels of all known fruits, it has been shown to have anti-cancer and immune supportive properties; lowers overall LDL cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors, may prevent the return of prostate cancer and is a natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial. So my advice to you, whether you currently suffer from any of the ailments listed in this article or are looking to take a step to protect yourself from these devastating, life changing diseases, add an 8 ounce glass of high quality, pure Pomegranate juice to your diet today.