Its fruit with a hard peel and a heart full of juicy seeds begins to make its appearance on the supermarket shelves while its juice is available all year round, we are talking about the pomegranate, a true treasure of colors, taste and ... health. In fact, the pomegranate has important properties for the brain, the heart, the immune system and the whole organism. So let's try to understand why we should never miss the pomegranate and its juice, based on the most important scientific research.
Pomegranate against influenza
Pomegranate and its juice have been shown to support the immune system against viral infections, such as influenza A. But pomegranate juice has also been shown to inhibit the replication of the Sars Cov 2 virus, thanks to the presence of anthocyanins and tannins (Banihani et al, J Nutr Metab, 2022).
Pomegranate against cancer
Pomegranate juice has been shown to have an anti-tumor action. In particular, studies have tested its ability to inhibit tumor growth in the case of particularly aggressive prostate cancers. Well, pomegranate juice led to the death of most of the cells and of the remaining ones it reduced the likelihood of forming metastases, inhibiting the action of a protein considered responsible for the migration of cancer cells (Martins Green et al, 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, Philadelphia, 12 Dec 2010). Not only that, even the intake of pomegranate seeds has been shown to inhibit tumor growth in the case of lung and colon cancer (Khan et al, Cancer Res, 2007).
The pomegranate extends lifespan
The pomegranate and in particular the ellagitannins contained in the pomegranate are able to stimulate the self-healing processes of our body. In fact, ellagitannins, when they reach our intestine, are used by the microbiota to produce a substance called urolithin A, which in turn stimulates the mechanism that leads to the degradation of mitochondria that are no longer functioning. Mitochondria are the energy control unit of the body's cells and over time they lose their functionality, tending to accumulate and being toxic for the cell and for various tissues, first of all muscles. It is believed that the accumulation of no longer functioning mitochondria can lead to loss of strength and muscle mass. Moreover, this accumulation can also play a role in the development of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. This is why it is important to degrade the mitochondria and prevent them from remaining stationary inside the cells. The pomegranate, allowing our body to form urolithin A, helps to prevent this cellular aging and, in dedicated studies, has also made it possible to extend the life span of the specimens under examination, a population of worms (Ryu et al, Nature Medicine, 2016). The best way to take pomegranate and to take advantage of its anti-aging benefits is to drink its juice, as one of the products richest in ellagitannins (Heber, Herbal Medicine Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, 2011).
Pomegranate and dates, the heart-saving combination
Drinking 100 ml of pomegranate juice and eating 3 dates together has been shown to protect the heart and reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis. In fact, these two foods work in synergy, maximizing their respective antioxidant actions. The result is that this combination has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the artery walls by 33% and reduced cholesterol in the arteries by 28% (Rosenblat et al, Food Funct, 2015).
Pomegranate juice during pregnancy
The intake of pomegranate juice during pregnancy has been shown to protect the brain of the unborn child. In particular, there is a condition called intrauterine growth retardation that affects one in ten children, according to estimates. In this case the fetus is smaller than it should be due to problems with the placenta, which does not provide enough oxygen and nutrition, but also other factors such as cigarette smoke to which the mother is exposed, infections or poor nutrition of the mother can concur to this condition. Even the birth itself can lead to a lack of oxygen to the baby, with consequences on the brain. Well, in the case of intrauterine growth retardation it has been observed that drinking a glass, about 250 ml, of pomegranate juice per day during pregnancy protected the brain of the newborn, improving its development and the connections between neurons (Matthews et al, PLoS One, 2019).