Is there really a fruit that can prevent aging? Maybe not. But the pomegranate comes close.
Pomegranates, native to the middle east but now grown in tropical climates throughout the world, have a lot going for them: they’re exotic, nutritious, high in flavor and low in calories. A medium-sized pomegranate delivers vitamins C and A, dietary fiber and iron in a delicious 100-calorie package. But it’s the fruit’s amazing antioxidant properties that make it an anti-aging powerhouse.
The Most Antioxidants Of Any Natural Food
Pomegranates contain extremely high levels of antioxidants, which are the body’s front line of defense against aging. Antioxidants are molecules that can prevent or repair the effects of free radicals, which are chemically imbalanced molecules that scavenge and damage the cells with which they interact.
Free radical damage has been implicated in a host of age-related illnesses and disorders, ranging from conditions as minor as wrinkles and age spots to conditions as serious and life-threatening as heart disease, adult-onset diabetes, Parkinsons disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ounce for ounce, pomegranates contain the most antioxidants of any natural food; even red wine and green tea, both well known for their antioxidant properties, only deliver about a third of the antioxidants that you can get from a pomegranate.
Effective Against Cardiovascular Disease
Laboratory studies and clinical trials indicate that pomegranate juice can actually have a powerful positive effect on a number of conditions. It has been shown to effectively reduce factors that are closely associated with both atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, including improving the efficiency of blood vessels and reducing thickening of the arteries. The resultant increase in blood flow even helped improve erectile dysfunction.
A 2001 study by Israeli researchers showed that participants who drank approximately two ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a year effectively reduced their systolic blood pressure by as much as 21%.
Extracts of the fruit have also produced positive results in tests of their antibacterial ability with regard to the development of dental plaque, which is one of the key factors in periodontal or gum disease.
Cancer Fighting Potential Possible, But As Yet Unproven
One of the most exciting potentials of the pomegranate is the possibility that it may be able to slow or even halt the progress of certain types of cancer. Some preliminary studies appear to suggest that pomegranate extracts can halt the proliferation of breast cancer cells and a 2006 UCLA study suggested it was effective in stopping the spread of prostate cancer, but experts stress that no clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness as a specific anti-cancer agent.
In 2010 the Federal Trade Commission filed suit to prevent suppliers from claiming that pomegranate is a proven anti-cancer treatment, calling those claims misleading. Nevertheless, ongoing research continues to spark hopes the the phytochemicals in pomegranates can slow the progression of some types of cancers.
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