The pomegranate is a member of the Punicaceae family. The fruit is comprised of peel, seeds, and aril. An average pomegranate contains approximately 600 juicy seeds, which are encapsulated in white pith. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins.
Pomegranate ( Punica granatum L.) contains a variety of chemicals that might have antioxidant properties. Pomegranate is high in 3 different types of polyphenols, a strong form of antioxidants. The three types – anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannins – are present in many fruits, but fresh pomegranate juice contains especially high levels of all three. Preliminary studies indicate that pomegranate juice may contain nearly three times the total antioxidant ability compared to the same quantity of red wine or green tea. Some research show that chemicals in pomegranate juice might slow the progression of atherosclerosis and possibly fight cancer cells.
Pomegranate juice contributes curing and preventing cardiovascular disease. Studies demonstrate that the different and high antioxidant content decreases inflammation and thickening of the artery walls. Researchers attribute heart healthy benefits to polyphenols, including anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that give the pomegranate its red hue. A study reported in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” found that pomegranate juice combats hardening of the arteries and related diseases like heart attacks and strokes. Researchers in Israel have shown that drinking a daily glass of the fruit’s juice can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. “Pomegranate juice contains the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other juices, green tea and red wine ,” said Professor Michael Aviram, who led the team.
Pomegranate juice may improve blood flow to the heart in individuals with ischemic coronary heart disease. In a clinical trial of 45 patients with coronary heart disease and myocardial ischemia, participants who drank approximately 8 fluid ounces of pomegranate juice daily for 3 months had less ischemia during a stress test. Study participants who did not drink the juice, meanwhile, had evidence of more stress-induced ischemia. New research evaluated heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. Pomegranate was shown to have strong anti-atherogenic properties in healthy humans and in mice with plaque buildup. Participants were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12%, but there was a 30 % decline in atherosclerotic plaque. Participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9%. In other studies, powerful antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.
Pomegranate juice and extract, inhibit the proliferation of various prostate cancercell linesin vitro and induce apoptoticcell death in a dose-dependent manner. Pomegranate juice may slow prostate cancer growth. The juice appeared to suppress the growth of cancer cells and the increase in cancer cell death in laboratory experiments, according to research from UCLA. In a study of men who had undergone therapy for prostate cancer, 8 ounces of pomegranate juice every day kept their Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels stable thereby reducing the need for more treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. The ellagitannins found in pomegranates juice have the ability to prevent cancer cells from becoming mobile. Researches also show reduced blood supply to tumors which prevents cancer cells from obtaining nutrients. Mice that had been inoculated with human prostate cancer cells received a four week therapy of pomegranate extract. The results demonstrated a significant decrease in tumor size and tumor vessel density.
The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system has been implicated in prostate cancer. A study reported in 2010 investigated the effects of a POMx (10 µg/mL concentration of pomegranate extract prepared from skin and arils minus seeds) on the IGF system. Treating LAPC4 prostate cancer cells with POMx resulted in cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. Pomegranate may help prevent and slow the growth of some types of breast cancer. In the lab, pomegranate extracts inhibited human breast cancer cells’ ability to proliferate and spread to other areas and induced programmed cell death. Pomegranate showed efficacy against both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cells. Pomegranate may also help reduce the risk of colon. Pomegranate extract reduced the number and size of experimentally induced colon tumors in animal subjects. In the lab, pomegranate juice inhibited the proliferation and increased programmed cell death of human colon cancer cells.
Studies have shown that pomegranate extract have anti-inflammatory properties that stop the destruction of joints caused by osteoarthritis. Researchers at “Case Western Reserve University” have reported that tissue cultures of human cartilage cells respond to pomegranate extract. In laboratory tests, the pomegranate extract; 1-Cut levels of an inflammatory chemical called IL-1b (interleukin-1b). 2-Stopped enzymes that erode cartilage. Scientists said their findings “indicate the pomegranate fruit extract or compounds derived from it may inhibit cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis and may also be a useful nutritive supplement for maintaining joint integrity and function.
Erectile Dysfunction and Fertility
Pomegranate juice may help increase sexual performance and fertility. Men and women who drank a glass a day for a fortnight were found to have increased levels of the sex hormone testosterone. A study on 58 participants aged between 21 and 64 found significantly increased testosterone levels in both sexes at the end of the two week experiment. A glass of pomegranate juice every day may help manage erectile dysfunction. Writing in the International Journal of Impotence Research, researchers from The Male Clinic, Beverly Hills, and University of California, report that 47% of participants reported erections improvements as a result of pomegranate juice, compared to only 32% in the placebo group.
A animal-based study has been conducted on 28 male rats to examine the sperm production after giving them pomegranate juice. The study has successfully showed that pomegranate juice significantly enhanced sperm count of those rates. Compared with the mice drinking only water, the mice drinking concentrated pomegranate juice experienced a 48.5% decrease in their blood levels of malondialdehyde (a reactive carbonyl compound and a major end product of lipid oxidation), and a 63.5% decrease in the levels of the chemical in their sperm.