Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pomegranates - what's all the hype?

When I walked through Costco the other day, I saw this product. Pomegranates are in vogue, so in searching for information, I found this:

In the first nine months of 2005, at least 190 new pomegranate-flavored foods and drinks were introduced in the United States. Sales of pomegranates got a boost from several recent studies touting the fruit's protective benefits against cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Atherosclerosis is enhanced in arteries if disturbed flow exists. So, plaque in arteries causes disturbed blood flow, which causes more plaque development.

To the rescue comes pomegranate juice (PJ). The potent antioxidant and anti-atherosclerotic activities of pomegranate juice are attributed to its polyphenols. An Italian study shows that oral administration of PJ to mice with high cholesterol, at various stages of disease, significantly reduced the progression of atherosclerosis.Thus, artery plaque development induced by disturbed blood flow may be reversed by chronic administration of PJ. This approach may have implications for the prevention or treatment of atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations.

An Israeli study showed that PJ had potent antiatherogenic effects in healthy humans and in atherosclerotic mice that may be attributable to its antioxidative properties. Researchers saw a reduction in the size of mice atherosclerotic lesions by 44%.

Roger Corder, professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London, says that as a guide, one glass of PJ is equivalent to two glasses of red wine, ten cups of green tea, six cups of cocoa or four glasses of cranberry juice - all of which contain flavonoids.

How to serve a pomegranate.

If you’re interested, you can buy pomegranates at your local market or you can try some pomegranate juice. The Costco product is a concentrated product. As always, consult your physician before taking any dietary supplement, especially if taking prescription medications.

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