Winters bring with them a variety of fruits for us to enjoy. One can enjoy them fresh and ripe or in the form of juices to rehydrate themselves and their dry, flakey skin.
Fresh juice doesn’t have to be green or full of spinach to be healthy. Pomegranate juice contains more than 100 phytochemicals. The fruit has been used for thousands of years as medicine. Today, pomegranate juice is being studied for its many health benefits. It may help with cancer prevention, immune support, and fertility.
Benefits of Pomegranate
Here are some of the potential benefits of pomegranate.
Pomegranate seeds get their vibrant red hue from polyphenols. These chemicals are powerful antioxidants.
Pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in its juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation.
- Vitamin C
The juice of a single pomegranate has more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be broken down when pasteurized, so opt for homemade or fresh juice to get the most of the nutrient.
- Cancer prevention
Pomegranate juice recently made a splash when researchers found that it may help stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. Despite multiple studies on the effects of the juice on prostate cancer, results are still preliminary.
While there haven’t been long-term studies with humans that prove that pomegranate juice prevents cancer or reduces the risk, adding it to your diet certainly can’t hurt. There have been encouraging results in studies so far, and bigger studies are now being done.
- Alzheimer’s disease protection
The antioxidants in the juice and their high concentration are believed to stall the progress of Alzheimer disease and protect memory.
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Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
While there are conflicting beliefs and research on whether pomegranate juice helps or worsens diarrhea, most doctors recommend avoiding it until you are feeling better and your symptoms have subsided.
Pomegranate juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory because of its high concentration of antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress and damage.
Flavonols in pomegranate juice may help block the inflammation that contributes to osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. The juice is currently being studied for its potential effects on osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis and joint inflammation.
- Heart disease
Pomegranate juice is in the running as the most heart-healthy juice. It appears to protect the heart and arteries.
Small studies have shown that the juice improves blood flow and keeps the arteries from becoming stiff and thick. It may also slow the growth of plaque and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. But it may react negatively with blood pressure and cholesterol medications like statins.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before indulging in the juice or taking a pomegranate extract supplement.
- Blood pressure
Drinking pomegranate juice daily may also help lower systolic blood pressure. A comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials stated that it would be beneficial for heart health to include pomegranate juice daily.
Between the vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, pomegranate juice can prevent illness and fight off infection. Pomegranates have also been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests. They are being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses.
Whether you decide to add pomegranate to your daily diet or just sip on it every now and then, check the label to ensure that it is 100 percent pure pomegranate juice, without added sugar. Or, juice it fresh.
Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a daily may improve learning and memory, according to a recent study.
- Sexual performance and fertility
Pomegranate juice’s concentration of antioxidants and ability to impact oxidative stress make it a potential fertility aid. Oxidative stress has been shown to cause sperm dysfunction and decrease fertility in women.
The juice has also been shown to help reduce oxidative stress in the placenta. But researchers don’t yet know the exact benefits this may provide. Drinking pomegranate juice can also increase testosterone levels in men and women, one of the main hormones behind sex drive.
- Endurance and sports performance
Move over, tart cherry and beet juice. Pomegranate juice may be the new sport performance enhancer. The juice may help reduce soreness and improve strength recovery. It also decreases oxidative damage caused by exercise.
Pomegranate was traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India. While much is still unknown about the effects of pomegranate on diabetes, it may help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.