Posted on Mar 25, 2019, 4 p.m.
Pomegranates are fun, delicious, nutritious and carry many health benefits, a studies suggests drinking pomegranate juice can clean the arteries, lower risk of heart attack, and improve heart health.
Pomegranates carry a rather remarkable nutrient profile: a cup of seeds contains fibre, protein, folate, potassium, as well as vitamins C and K. According to a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis consumption of pomegranate juice resulted in a significant intima-media thickness reduction by up to 30% after one year.
Intima-media is the middle portion of the arteries which can become inflamed and fill up with plaque made of immune cells, oxidized fats, and debris known as blocked arteries. As it grows thicker there is less space for blood contents to move through the arteries, once they eventually close or become blocked there is a good chance you may suffer from severe conditions or even death.
Clinical Nutrition published a study showing pomegranate juice over the course of a year helped to reverse plaque accumulation in the carotid arteries in patients with severe carotid artery stenosis, which was defined as 70-90% blockage. 5 women and 14 men between the ages of 65-75, who were all non-smokers, were randomized to receive a placebo or pomegranate juice of 240 ml per day; 5 of which volunteered to continue for up to 3 years. The groups were matched with similar glucose concentrations and blood lipid, blood pressure, and similar medication regimens. Mean intima-media thickness of left, right, and common carotid arteries in severe carotid artery stenosis in those who consumed the pomegranate juice for at least one year were found to have reduced after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months by 13%, 22%, 26%, and 35% from baseline values.
Three potential mechanisms of action behind pomegranate’s observed anti-atherosclerotic active were detailed:
1) Those in the pomegranate group had noteworthy reductions in oxidative stress and decreases in autoantibodies formed against Ox-LDL linked to the pathological process of atherosclerosis.
2) Pomegranate juice improved systolic blood pressure by 7-12% after 1-12 months of consumption, as it has a healing effect on the endothelium that is not able to relax fully when in endothelial dysfunction.
3) After 3 and 12 months two of the ten in the pomegranate juice group experienced clinical deterioration. Volunteers underwent carotid surgery; lesions were analyzed to determine difference in composition compared to controls. Four distinct positive differences were identified;
- Cholesterol content in carotid lesions was lower by 20 and 58%.
- After 3 and 12 months lipid peroxide content from lesions in those in the pomegranate group was reduced by 44 or 61%.
- There was significant increase in lesion’s reduced glutathione content content by 2.5% at 3 or 12 months.
- LDL oxidation in the pomegranate group after 3 or 12 months decreased by 43% of 32% respectively.
All participants in the study were taking conventional drugs to address cardiovascular disease. Results confirmed pomegranate juice did not interfere with any medications making it suitable to adjunct or complement therapy. Those in the control group experienced gradually worsening and mean IMT increases of 9% after 1 year; implying their prescriptions were ineffective or they may have accelerated certain heart conditions.
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