Jordan Trotter 22 February 2011 “The importance of the Pomegranate” Pomegranates have been regarded as a super fruit since ancient civilizations. The tart fruit was a symbol of “life, regeneration, health, and vitality,” and before sealing King Tut’s tomb, the Egyptians left pomegranates at his sides to help him in the afterlife (1). Physicians believe pomegranates are a tasty, low calorie snack, and also a powerful, cancer-fighting antioxidant with many rich benefits. Vasdani states, “The pomegranate's potent properties are due to its incredibly high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants: polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins.” The antioxidants in pomegranates are stronger than those of green tea, blueberries, and cranberries (2). This fruit could be an important key for winning the battle against free radicals. Pomegranates should be included in a person’s two to six and a half cups of fruit and vegetables a day. With excitement, physicians and scientists are conducting research that tests pomegranates’ ability to fight cancer and cancer-causing free radicals. Doctors Seeram, Schulman and Heber conducted an experiment dealing with men infected with destructive prostate cancer. During the study, the men were daily given eight ounces of POM pomegranate juice after treatment for surgery or radiation. The results showed “there was a prolonged delay in prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time by over 4-fold. Moreover, pomegranate juice reduced the rate of PSA rise by 50% over only one year” (3). The delay in PSA shows that pomegranates benefit in the healing and prevention of prostate cancer. In an article by Sturgeon and Ronnenberg, they discussed pomegranates as a possible mechanism to use in preventing breast cancer. Active estradiol (a form of estrogen) has been thought to be influential in initiating breast cancer and its progression, and menopause triggers an increase in this estrogen (4). Pomegranates contain phytochemicals that have shown to reduce estrogen synthesis, helping prevent what causes breast cancer. “Several mechanistic studies in cell culture and mouse models suggest possible estrogen receptor mediated and non-estrogen receptor-mediated benefits of pomegranate juice with respect to breast cancer risk” (4). Pomegranates could hold part of the key to unlocking the cure to breast cancer. Pomegranates are not only free radical fighting fruits, but in various trials have shown that they help prevent Type 2 Diabetes and Atherosclerosis. In an eight-week study with Type 2 Diabetes patients, they were given 40g/day of concentrated pomegranate juice, which contained notable amounts of polyphenols, sugars, and fiber. The results showed “significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol” (5). Other studies conducted showed decreased levels of hypertension. Basu and Penugonda state, “it appears that pomegranate juice supplementation in the form of at least one to two cups a day may exert beneficial effects in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes and CVD, and boost antioxidant defense mechanisms in healthy volunteers” (5). The phytochemicals of pomegranates have also had positive results when tested against heart disease. “Researchers at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRl) in Sausalito, California, found that drinking 8 ounces (250 mL) of pomegranate juice each day for three months increases blood flow to the heart muscle of patients with coronary heart disease by 17 percent” (1). Enjoying a pomegranate is not just delicious, but also a powerful antioxidant tool that could unlock the doors to cure diseases that are now incurable. Ingesting this fruit that is rich in fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals is an easy way for active adults to live life to the fullest, and this is the reason why pomegranates should be included in a person’s two to six and a half cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Reference List 1. Nagle A. POTENT pomegranates. Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition [serial online]. October 2008;(312): 156-157. Available from: Alt HealthWatch, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 19, 2011. 2. Vesdani K. fear not the pomegranate. Alive: Canadian Journal of Health & Nutrition [serial online]. April 2007;(294): 88-89. Available from: Alt HealthWatch, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 19, 2011. 3. Martin K. Pomegranates: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine. HerbalGram [serial online]. August 2007;(75): 67-68. Available from: Alt HealthWatch, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 19, 2011. 4. Sturgeon S, Ronnenberg A. Pomegranate and breast cancer: possible mechanisms of prevention. Nutrition Reviews [serial online]. February 2010; 68(2): 122-128. Available from: Alt HealthWatch, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 19, 2011. 5. Basu A, Penugonda K. Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice. Nutrition Reviews [serial online]. January 2009; 67(1): 49-56. Available from: Alt HealthWatch, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 19, 2011.
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