Did you know the health benefits of regular consumption of pomegranate juice are comparable to those of red wine, purple grape juice, and black tea?
That's because pomegranate juice is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants known as polyphenols, including anthocyanins. Polyphenol antioxidants - found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, soy milk, dark chocolate, tea and of course pomegranates - are known to lower levels of LDL 'bad' cholesterol, protect blood vessels and lower blood pressure (BP).
In fact, some scientists believe pomegranate juice is so beneficial for the heart and circulatory system that it should be promoted as a standard part of a heart-healthy diet.
In 2005, scientists at the Preventative Medicine Research Institute looked at the effects of pomegranate juice on atherosclerosis, the leading cause of heart disease. They gave patients with coronary artery disease either a cup of pomegranate juice or a similar-tasting control drink every day for three months. These patients were examined with EKGs and other screening methods both at the beginning and end of the study.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that ischemia, which is the restriction of blood flow because of blockage of arteries in the heart, was significantly less in the pomegranate juice group. On the other hand ischemia levels actually increased in the control group.
In 2009, a team of scientists published a review of all available research on the benefits of pomegranate juice. They reported the following:
1. Pomegranate juice not only improved blood flow in the entire cardiovascular system of heart patients, but it also helped to reduce high blood pressure and overall inflammation.
2. In human and mouse models, pomegranate juice had significant activity against free radical oxidation and atherosclerosis - which contribute to heart disease, along with inflammation.
3. Pomegranate juice cured lesions in the blood vessels of mice with atherosclerosis and also reduced the thickness of blood vessels in heart patients who were on prescription medications.
4. In one study, patients with type II diabetes who drank pomegranate juice saw a reduction in their blood lipid levels.
5. A more recent animal study in 2010 showed that pomegranate juice could even protect rats that later developed heart disease.
First, scientists fed pomegranate juice to a group of healthy rats for 30 days, while keeping a control group of rats for comparison. On days 28 and 29, both groups of rats were treated to induce a heart disease-like condition. The group of rats which had been fed pomegranate juice was significantly less affected.
So why not start protecting your heart today by adding pomegranate juice to your diet? Remember, fresh pomegranate juice is very high in natural sugar, so it is best to dilute it with water or add it to a healthy smoothie or shake before consumption.