Pomegranates have been prized for their nutrition value for more than 4,000 years, especially in the ancient world of the Middle and Near East.
Now, research shows that this time-honored fruit can fight heart disease…support healthy cholesterol levels…lower blood pressure…relieve stress…improve your sex life…and, according to a brand-new study, even slow down the aging process of DNA.
Pomegranate Benefits: An Anti-Aging Super Food
In November of 2011, scientists from the ProbelteBio laboratory in Murcia, Spain conducted a month-long study of the effects of pomegranate extract. The study focused specifically on the pomegranate’s rich stores of antioxidants (important compounds that prevent age-related cell damage).
The research team recruited two groups of volunteers. The first group was given extracts of the whole pomegranate fruit in capsule form (extracts included the pith or membrane, peel, and seeds). The second group received a placebo.
The research team was highly impressed with their results. Those who took the pomegranate extract showed a significant decrease in a specific, important marker linked to cell damage.
That marker, known as 8-Oxo-DG, can have detrimental effects such as:
- • Lessened brain function
- • Weakening of muscles
- • Impaired kidney function
- • Decrease in liver productivity
- • Aging of the skin
Sergio Streitenberger, lead researcher at ProbelteBio, believes the study “demonstrates that the regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation.”
The pomegranate’s ability to decrease 8-Oxo-DG suggests that it wields significant power as an anti-aging super food.
Why Antioxidants Are The Ideal Anti-Agers
Antioxidants are crucial for preventing and reversing aging because they stop damage wrought by destructive free radicals.
“One way to look at aging is to think of it as rusting,” Streitenberger said, “or oxidizing.” Free radicals oxidize our body’s molecules. Everyday we take in these dangerous compounds in the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and even the air we breathe. “We get old because we fall apart cell by cell,” said Streitenberger.
Sandeep Prabhu, assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology at Penn State, says that foods especially rich in antioxidants—such as pomegranates—qualify as anti-aging super food because they have “the ability to neutralize harmful molecules in our cells.”
Once free radicals reach the DNA of our cells, Streitenberger warns, “the damage is cumulative and significant.” This is why the ProbelteBio study is so astounding. For any food to so effectively guard against the aging process “would be a significant breakthrough,” says Streitenberger.
A Pomegranate A Day…Unbelievable Benefits
Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit said to have tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate, not an apple. It could have been a mistranslation, because the word pomegranate comes from the Middle French pomme garnete, literally “seeded apple.”
Therefore, you might consider the pomegranate as the deluxe version of the apple, capable of so much more than simply keeping the doctor away.
But it’s important to remember that experts say the most potent pomegranate benefits come from consuming the whole fruit, not just the delicious seeds. Most commercial juices draw their content only from the seeds, and contain only small quantities of the powerful antioxidants that protect against aging. The real powerhouses are the inedible rind, hulk, and white pith.
These non-seed parts of the fruit are described as “inedible” not because they are toxic, but due to their bitter taste and unpleasant texture. With that in mind, heath practitioners recommend that you consider taking a supplement pill or health drink made with extracts of the whole fruit.