Pomegranates are simply one of the richest sources of antioxidant flavonoids—healing compounds in plants—that nature has to offer. And research has confirmed that the particular flavonoids in pomegranates have the ability to slow the development of atherosclerotic disease in mice and humans to help prevent cholesterol oxidation in the blood.
Other research has examined pomegranate juice consumption in patients with carotid artery obstruction.
Specifically, ten study participants drank approximately 1½ ounces of pomegranate concentrate every day for one to three years. The same-size control group did not consume pomegranate juice. Throughout the entire trial both groups of patients continued their usual heart medications. At the end of the study, those people drinking pomegranate juice had:
- A 20 percent drop in systolic blood pressure
- A 19 percent reduction in oxidized LDL antibodies
- A reduction in intramedial thickness (IMT) of the carotid artery walls
On top of this fruit's enormous heart-health benefits, it has been shown to protect prostate health.
UCLA researchers found that drinking one 8-ounce glass of pomegranate juice a day significantly reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) among men who had undergone surgery or radiation treatment. (PSA levels indicate the level of prostate abnormalities.) Although it's not known exactly why the juice works, it's thought that its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may somehow change the way prostate cancer grows.
Simple To Swig
Drinking pomegranate juice is probably the easiest way to incorporate this super food into your daily diet. Because the taste is so sweet and tart, I like to dilute it with filtered or sparkling water (about 2 ounces of pomegranate juice with 6 ounces of water). It is also great to add to other organic juices or make in your own juicer at home. And you can use pomegranate juice to flavor sauces, dips, and salad dressings, as with the recipe below. (Get more heart-healthy recipes.)
You can find pomegranate juice in health food stores and some groceries. Select one that's all-natural, with no added sugars or artificial ingredients.
Spinach Salad With Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 3 cups raw baby spinach
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled pomegranate seeds for garnish
- 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
- 1 Tbsp. cider or wine vinegar
- Drizzle of honey
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. walnut oil
Arrange the spinach on a plate and top with sliced onion, feta cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, and pepper in a small bowl. Add oil in a thin stream while whisking to incorporate. Dress salads and serve. Makes 2 servings. © 2006 Monica Reinagel
WATCH: Dr. Sinatra's Top 12 Healing Foods
Video courtesy of HeartMDInstitute