Pomegranate has been touted as the new superfood with exceptional nutritional benefits and other qualities such as being beneficial in the fight against cholesterol, cancer, heart diseases and much more. Various diets recommend consumption or pomegranates, pomegranate juice and even supplements such as pomegranate capsules which are available in the market today. Some may argue that the said tall claims are unsubstantial and unproven and are overly optimistic. Currently various studies are researches are being conducted on the health benefits of this wonder fruit. So, what all have the researchers and health professionals able to establish about the benefits that pomegranate provides?
The list of claims that are being made about the benefits that pomegranate provide is long. It is being stated that the miracle-fruit provides relief from menopause, enhances sexual health, helps fight cancer and heart diseases and the list just goes on. Some facts about pomegranate that are obvious are that due to high amount of antioxidants it helps strengthen the immune system and is definitely good for your skin. Pomegranate is also believed to be very beneficial for pregnant women. It helps reduce the risk of premature delivery and also help babies have normal birth weight. Pomegranate also has anti-vital properties and helps fight health disorders such as anaemia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pomegranate and Cancer
Researchers have found definite benefits of pomegranate in fighting cancer especially breast cancer and prostate cancer. During research it was found that extracts of pomegranate seeds reduced the activity of estrogen in breast cancer patients up to 50%. It was also found that with reduced estrogen stimulation breast cancers cells died more rapidly when compared to normal cells. Similarly in prostate cancer patients, during a study at the University of California it was found that pomegranate juice slows down rise of cancer markers called prostate-specific antigens (PSAs). It took 15 months for PSA levels to double-up in patients who were not on pomegranate juice whereas for prostate cancer patients who consumed pomegranate juice it took 54 months.
Pomegranate and Heart Diseases
Pomegranate helps fight bad cholesterol level, it helps reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol which is good cholesterol hence it is very beneficial for the heart. Regular consumption of pomegranate is also linked with control of hypertension or high blood pressure which is a major cause of strokes and heart attacks. Punicic acid contained in the fruit is also good for the heart; it helps keep the arteries flexible thus reducing inflammation and risk of blockages. In various studies it was found that pomegranate reduces oxidative stress and supports synthesis of nitric oxide which in turn protects the cardiovascular system of the body.
Pomegranate Nutrition Facts
Pomegranates are a good source of potassium; one fruit has about 400 mg more than most oranges. They also are loaded with vitamin C and fiber. Other than Vitamin C, Pomegranate is also rich in vitamins A, E and folic acid. Pomegranates contain low saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and glycemic index, thus they don't cause any substantial rise in blood sugar levels. Pomegranates also supply the body with generous amounts of fiber, protein, omega-6 fatty acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and phosphorus. Other nutrients contained in pomegranates although in limited quantities are riboflavin, folate, niacin, thiamin and choline.
How to Consume Pomegranate?
It’s best to consume pomegranate as a fruit and avoid pomegranate supplements. Tropical health fruits such as pomegranate pack vitamins and antioxidants, which are often destroyed when heated or cooked. Thus consider eating them raw to get its fullest health benefits. When exposed to air and sunlight, pomegranates quickly give up their vitamin C. Thus keep them in a cool dark place to preserve their freshness and nutrients. Choose the fruits that are heavy, big in their size and have a bright, fresh colour and blemish-free skin. If one plans to consume pomegranate juice, one should do so in appropriate quantity. If one is on any medication especially heart medication it is best to consult your doctor before indulging in a pomegranate diet or having pomegranate juice often.