The source of the many health benefits of pomegranates is found inside the juicy arils, in a small white seed that contains punicic acid. The punicic acid found in pomegranates is an especially powerful form of CLA, which has been shown to be beneficial in the fight against cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. There seems to be no downside other than cost in adding pomegranate juice to your daily diet.
Pomegranate seed oil is a valued ingredient in skin care oils, and is especially good for dry, devitalized skin. Pomegranate oil aids in moisturizing skin, preventing and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Those with skin conditions including dry skin, eczema, psoriasis will benefit from using pomegranate oil. Using pomegranate oil for skin may well have extended benefits beyond it's moisturizing and anti-aging properties. The tannin in the oil can also help decrease the chances of skin cancer according to some sources.
In the Kitchen:
Pomegranate seeds can be juiced, or eaten fresh. The pips also make a colorful garnish. Pomegranate seed are also made into a cordial, grenadine, which is used for cocktails, and a flavoring for sorbets and desserts. Seeds are boiled to make a pomegranate syrup, popular in Iran and the Middle East.
Pomegranate Side Effects:
Pomegranate root bark is used to treat intestinal parasites, and is very effective against tapeworm. The alkaloids in the bark, known as pelletierines, paralyze the tapeworms, loosing their grip on the intestinal wall so are easily expelled. Pomegranate bark extracts are subject to legal restrictions, and are very toxic. Do not use these extracts for self-treatment.
How to Use: Pomegranate
Preparation Methods & Dosage :You can juice pomegranate seeds (use only the seeds, not the whole fruit), if you live in an area where they are abundant like the California coast. Pomegranate seed oil is also available as a cosmetic and medicinal oil. Pomegranate oil can be used alone, but I like to stretch this rather pricey oil by combining it with other skin care oils like almond oil.
Amazing Clinical Results
This fantastic little fruit recently made its way back into the news after some spectacular clinical results. Here's what you need to know:
A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate's antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants' blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.
In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.3
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.4 Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect.5 Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans.
Also of note, pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals.
More Health Benefits of the Pomegranate
Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
Lowers blood pressure
Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies
- May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis
Many studies show that the pomegranate is one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health. These clinical findings clearly show a correlation between pomegranate compounds and their positive effect on both human and animal cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal health. This is one fruit that you can't afford to exclude from your diet!