Ever seen a pomegranate? Pretty ugly and unappetizing with all those seeds inside, isn’t it? And it’s hard and time-consuming to eat. The fruit is eaten raw and is used more in Italian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Spanish cuisines.
Only the seeds and the juicy red pulp around them are edible. However, only the juice has recently been the subject of research and is readily found in most supermarkets.
Most of the research is pretty exciting. After treatment with surgery or radiation for prostate cancer, 48 men were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice each day. All who followed this protocol had a significant reduction in the doubling time for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. This test is a marker for prostate cancer presence or recurrence. The juice did not directly cure the cancer but appeared to lengthen the time of its development. The reason may be due to the high level of polyphenollic flavonoids often touted as cancer fighting phytochemicals.
The juice may also promote heart health. Forty-five patients with ischemic heart disease were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice or a placebo for three months. The juice group had significantly less oxygen deficiency during exercise than the placebo group. The juice also has been reported to inhibit LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation when compared to other juices. Other studies have reported positive effects on the heart including a reduction in cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and atherosclerotic plaques.
There has been some research that pomegranate juice can retard aging due to its high antioxidant content compared to red wine, and green tea. It also has shown to be antibacterial in lab studies. A recent news item reports the possibility that pomegranate juice will help to reduce tissue damage and inflammation.
Nutrition Facts: Pomegranate juice is also high in vitamin C and potassium; the seeds are high in fiber.
An interesting history follows the pomegranate. Traditionally in Turkey, brides throw the fruit to the ground and the number of seeds that come out predicts how many children she will have. Based on all the claimed benefits (further studies needed), it’s certainly worth a try.