Monday, March 5, 2007

Pomegranates Reverse Arteriosclerosis

Reversing Arteriosclerosis with Pomegranate Juice

Folk medicine has been extolling the medicinal qualities of pomegranates for thousands of years. Modern science has been a bit slow catching up, but with the fruit's intense ruby red color, it should come as no surprise it has topped the antioxidant charts, blowing blueberries right out of the water. But Israeli researchers have just permanently placed pomegranates on the map with a landmark study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.[7]

The researchers took a group of people coming into a vascular surgery clinic with severe carotid artery blockage--the arteries in their neck providing blood flow to their brain were 70-90% obstructed. Half of the patients were then instructed to drink a little less than a quarter cup of pomegranate juice every day for a year.

At the end of the year, the arteriosclerotic plaques in the arteries of those who did nothing predictably worsened, thickening 9%, closing their arteries off even further. But in the pomegranate juice group, after just 3 months the plaques in their arteries shrank 13%. By 9 months the plaque was down 26%. And after one year of drinking less than a quarter cup of pomegranate juice a day, the arteriosclerotic lesions were 35% reversed. The investigators attribute the anti-arteriosclerotic properties of pomegranates to the antioxidant polyphenols.

So should we start forking out $4 a bottle for that "Pom Wonderful" juice that started popping up in grocery stores? Well, you can get cheaper (and organic!) pomegranate juice in your natural food store, but the whole fruit is always preferable to juice--you get the additional benefits of the fiber and other nutrition discarded during processing. Expect to start seeing pomegranates in your local produce section as the growing season peaks around October.

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