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13 Exciting Reasons Why You Should Eat More of this One Red Fruit
Pomegranate season is just about to get underway. Although these beautiful fruits can stain your clothing, lips, and fingers, they taste so good, no one cares! Some people find them difficult to peel and to extract their little red jewels of fruit, but this is why they sell pomegranate juice and even pomegranate wine!
This fruit is a favorite treat during the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, as well as a fun to eat fruit that packs not only a sweet and sour type of taste, but it packs a wallop of health benefits as well. This fruit has been known for centuries for its medicinal powers.
Keep reading and find out why you need to be eating, or drinking, more of these beautiful little red fruits. You won’t believe all the goodness that Mother Nature packed into one tiny little piece of fruit!
1. A True Superfood
The little seeds inside pomegranates are called arils. They are loaded with healthy goodness and contain tons of nutrition including an impressive 7 grams of fiber, 30 percent of your daily RDA of vitamin C, 36 percent of vitamin K, 16 percent of folate, 3 grams of protein, 12 percent of the RDA of potassium, all in one little cup (about 174 grams). Although pomegranate seeds have a sour taste to them, they are actually very sweet, with that same cup having 24 grams of natural sugar and 144 calories.
2. Improves Exercise Performance
This fruit is rich in dietary nitrates, which has been shown in studies to improve exercise performance. In fact, in one small study, 19 athletes who ran on a treadmill consumed 1 gram of pomegranate extract about 30 minutes before exercise was shown to significantly improve blood flow, which lead to a delay in feelings of fatigue, as well as an increase in efficiency.
Although this study was small and more studies should be done, this study makes it appear that pomegranates can be super beneficial for physical performance, much in the same way that beet juice improves exercise performance.
3. Powerful Medicinal Properties
Pomegranates contain two compounds that have been shown to have medicinal power. The first is punicalagins, which are a special type of antioxidant that are found in both the juice and the peel of this fruit. This antioxidant is so powerful that it is actually 3 times more effective than either green tea or the resveratrol found in red wine and red grapes.
The other ingredient is called punicic acid, which comes from the pomegranate seed oil. This is the main fatty acid in the seeds. It has potent biological effects and is similar in makeup to conjugated linoleic acid. Pomegranate extracts and powdered supplements usually contain the seed oil, the juice, and the peel so that you can get all the benefits that this fruit has to offer, without being forced to eat the peel!
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4. A Red Fountain of Youth
In Chinese medicine, pomegranate juice is considered to be a longevity treatment. Science backs up some of this as this fruits powerful antioxidants have been shown to help keep the skin soft and supple, and even prevent wrinkles. You will find many anti-aging creams that contain pomegranate extract because of its ability to delay the aging process. The punicic acid in pomegranates is a rare type of omega-5 fatty acid that has been shown to help improve overall skin tone as well as elasticity. Pomegranate extracts keep the skin healthy and fight the free radicals that cause premature aging.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Everyone is looking to fight chronic inflammation in the body since it is the leading cause of many chronic and killer diseases in the body, including cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidant compound punicalagin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and studies done in vitro show that it can reduce the inflammatory effects in the digestive tract. One study that involved persons diagnosed with diabetes showed that consuming 250 ml of pomegranate juice each day over a 12 week period lowered their inflammation markers by as much as 32 percent.
6. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is still the number one killer in America but stopping it is not as easy as it sounds because it is a disease that is driven by many different factors. The good news is that you can lower your risk of developing heart disease by consuming more pomegranate juice. The main fatty acid in pomegranates, punicic has been shown to help protect you in several different ways. First, studies show that for those with high cholesterol levels, consuming 800 milligrams of pomegranate seed oil each day over a 30 day period was shown to lower bad cholesterol levels but improve the good cholesterol in the body.
7. Improves Memory
There have been several studies done recently that show that pomegranate can help to improve cognitive function and memory skills. In one study involving surgical patients, consuming 2 grams of pomegranate extract prevented any memory deficits after their surgery. Another study that involved 28 elderly subjects who had difficulty with their memories found that when these subjects consumed 8 ounces (238 ml) of pomegranate juice each day, all subjects had improved markers in tests done involving verbal and visual memory. In studies done with mice, pomegranates appeared to help fight Alzheimer’s disease.
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8. Fights Against Prostate Cancer
The most common type of cancer in adult men is prostate cancer. Some studies have shown that consuming pomegranate extract can not only slow down the reproduction rate of cancer cells, but that it can induce cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells. Doctors use a blood test to determine the amount of PSA (prostate specific antigen) as a marker for prostate cancer.
Men whose PSA tests show that their levels doubled or more within a one year period are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. One study showed that men who consumed 8 ounces of pomegranate juice each day increased the amount of time that their PSA doubled from 15 months to 54 months, which means that pomegranate juice was slowing down their risk of prostate cancer by a significant amount.
9. Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the leading causes of heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease is hypertension. Pomegranate juice was shown to lower blood pressure levels in a study that was done involving subjects who had hypertension. These subjects consumed just 5 ounces of pomegranate juice each day over a 2 week period. All subjects had lower systolic blood pressure readings after the study period. Although more studies need to be done in this area, pomegranate juice appears to be quite effective when it comes to matters of the heart!
10. Helps with Erectile Dysfunction
Oxidative damage impairs the blood flow to all parts of the body, including the genitals. In studies done with rabbits, consuming pomegranate juice was shown to help increase blood flow throughout the body and improve erectile response. In another study done involving 53 men who had ED, consuming pomegranate juice appeared to have some benefit, but more studies need to be done in this area.
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11. Fights Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Pomegranates have been shown to have anti-fungal and antibacterial compounds, which can help to fight infections in the body, such as Candida, gingivitis, periodontitis, and denture stomatitis. Although cranberry juice gets all the attention when it comes go stopping UTIs (urinary tract infections) pomegranate juice will also help to stop these types of infections.
12. Fights Joint Pain and Arthritis
Due to its anti-inflammatory compounds, pomegranate juice is a great way to help stop the pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Studies show that pomegranate extract blocks the enzymes that are known to cause damage to the joints in persons who are suffering from osteoarthritis. Although there have not been many studies done involving humans, numerous studies done involving mice show that it can help to fight pain and offer pain relief for those suffering from various types of inflammatory joint pain.
13. Fights Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the fear of women everywhere and is the most common type of cancer for women of all ages. Pomegranate extract has been shown in studies to inhibit breast cancer cells from reproducing and even kills some weaker cancer cells. Much more research needs to be done in this area but recent studies are very promising.
So not only are pomegranates beautiful to look at and super tasty, but they are as healthy for the body as they are for the skin. Find ways to add these pretty red gems, or their juice, into your diet. If you aren’t a fan of the flavor, pomegranate extract can be found in almost all health food stores in a supplement form.