Adding to the multiple health benefits of pomegranates, is the latest research, which indicates that the super-food stacked with vital nutrients, vitamins, iron and antioxidants is heart healthy.
According to experts, the fruit can help to reduce heart problems and cardiovascular disease by keeping blood vessels healthy.
The polyphenol compounds contained in pomegranates keep arteries free of fat. They also improve the inner linings of the arteries or endothelium that control the expansion and contraction of blood vessels. The effects can help blood circulation and smooth the inside of the blood vessels.
Researcher Dr Lina Badimon, of the Catalan Institute for Cardiovascular Sciences in Spain, said, “Enriching a diet with pomegranate polyphenols can help in preventing and retarding endothelial dysfunctions, which are among the first signs of atherosclerosis and strokes.”
Details of the animal study
In a bid to determine whether pomegranates can protect the heart from a high cholesterol diet by ‘strengthening the arteries’ the Spanish researchers conducted an animal study. They studied the impact of a pill packed with pomegranate polyphenols on the circulation of pigs. The pigs were selected because their cardiovascular system is similar to humans.
As a part of the study, 24 pigs were split into two units. One was fed a normal diet while the second was assigned to a high cholesterol diet. Both the swine units were given a daily dose of Pomanex supplements which supplied 200mg of polyphenols called punicalagins for 10 days.
At the close of the study period, experts analyzed each pig’s endothelial function. In addition, oxidative damage, inflammation markers and production of nitric oxide was assessed.
It came as no big surprise that fatty food damaged the blood vessels specially their delicate lining. Moreover, the blood vessels of the pigs fed fatty food were less elastic. Moreover, they made less nitric oxide and exhibited other signs of heart problems. However, a daily dose of Pomanex negated many of the effects of the poor diet.
The results of the study were presented at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam.
Other benefits of pomegranate
Pomegranate is stacked with antioxidants which scavenge free radicals and prevent DNA damage that can lead to a number of serious health conditions. The fruit contains soluble polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins which play a vital role in cancer cell death.
The fruit can reduce the effect of inflammatory markers in the body and reduce arthritis to a degree. Pomegranate can even help to alleviatesexual dysfunction and can help shift abdomen fat. Its juice lowers blood pressure and cuts the danger of stroke risk. It helps in killing harmful bacteria and increases bone density.
All parts of the pomegranate can have positive effects, including the skin, seeds, pulp and juice. A boiled infusion of the pomegranate rind can sooth a sore throat and a scalp massage form the paste of its leaves is thought to reverse baldness.
Originally published on 2013-10-12.