What Are Pomegranates?
The word pomegranate comes from Latin meaning Apple with seeds. Pomegranates have been in use for thousands of years due to their health benefits in medicine and also in various dishes. Ancient Egyptians buried pomegranates with the dead because they believed that the fruit will help in the passage of the dead to the afterlife. Some scholars believe that in the garden of Eden, Adam and eve ate a pomegranate and not an apple.
What Are The Uses Of Pomegranates?
They are native from Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan to Northern India. Pomegranates belong to the Berry family. The trees grow in dry and hot climates. One pomegranate tree can live up to 200 years and one pomegranate from a tree contains more than 1000 seeds. Pomegranates are believed to be heavenly fruits because their root, stem, leaves, and skins are rich in nutrients and are one of the fruits that can provide you with the most variety of vitamins and minerals.
Pomegranate contains three times more antioxidants than green tea and red wine. Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body against free radical damage, inflammation, and aging. The Other health benefits of pomegranates are described below:
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pomegranates?
The buildup of cholesterol in arteries leads to a heart disease known as “Atherosclerosis”. Eating pomegranates reduce the level of low-density lipoproteins also known as “bad cholesterol” that are the cause of blockage in the arteries. They also increase the level of high-density lipoproteins which are known as “good cholesterol”. Pomegranates also keep the heart healthy by lowering blood pressure and keeping blood sugar levels in check.
Free radicals are reactive oxygen species that are always found in your body. But they become dangerous when their level rises above a certain limit and antioxidants are compounds that protect the body from the damage of these free radicals. Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that protect the body from free radical damage. The most common antioxidants in pomegranates are punicalagin, anthocyanin, and tannins.
Acute inflammation is a normal reaction of the body in response to infection and injury but if left untreated chronic inflammation can lead to various diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. Pomegranates may help protect the body from long-term inflammation and reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. Test tube and animal studies have shown that the punicalagin compound present in pomegranates has anti-inflammatory properties along with antioxidant properties. Some human studies also suggested that pomegranate juice reduces the inflammation markers in the body. Thus, pomegranates protect the body from the effects of chronic inflammation
Pomegranates support urinary health by reducing the formation of kidney stones. In one study carried out on humans, it was found that the experimental group which was given 1000mg of pomegranate extract for 90 days had reduced the formation of kidney stones. Animal studies show that pomegranates also help eliminate excess oxalate, calcium, and phosphates from the body which are common causes of kidney stones.
What Makes Pomegranates An Anti-cancer Food?
Pomegranate has anti-cancer effects against various cancers. Their juice contains compounds that reduce inflammation and thus slow the growth of cancer cells. The fruit has shown anti-tumor effects against colon, skin, breast, and lung cancer. Research has also shown that it slows the spread of cancer cells in liver cancer and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. Another test-tube study showed that pomegranates slow growth and even kill cancer cells in prostate cancer. PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a biomarker of prostate cancer. If the level of this antigen increases in the body in a short time, then it increases the risk of death from prostate cancer. A study carried out on pomegranate extract showed that men who were given the extract showed a delayed increase in PSA thus reducing the risk of prostate cancer.