What Are Pomegranates Good For?
By Dr. Mercola
Pomegranates have been enjoyed for thousands of years and are a symbol of hope and abundance in many cultures. They’ve been found in Egyptian tombs, eaten by Babylonian soldiers prior to battle and incorporated into Persian wedding ceremonies to symbolize a joyous future.
It’s even been suggested that it was pomegranates, and not apples, that grew in the Garden of Eden. Pomegranate literally translates to “seeded apple,” but research shows pomegranates may pack even more nutritional punch.
Sometimes referred to as the Chinese apple or “jewel of the winter” (in North America, pomegranates are in season during early winter), pomegranates are one of the world’s most popular fruits.
In North America, they’re often overshadowed by more common fruits like apples and oranges, but once you learn how to eat them (it’s not as hard as you might think), this is one fruit that can add valuable nutrition, including antioxidants, to your regular diet.
Pomegranates Are an Antioxidant-Rich Superfood
The primary source of pomegranate’s benefits come from its antioxidant content, particularly ellagitannin compounds like punicalagins and punicalins, which account for about half of the pomegranate’s antioxidant ability. It’s also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, with one pomegranate providing about 40 percent of the daily requirement for this vitamin.
Its potency was found to be at least 20 percent greater than any of the other beverages tested, beating out Concord grape juice, acai, and blueberry juice —three well-known sources of potent antioxidants. It beat them primarily because it contains the most of every type of antioxidant.
Pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols, including tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, in significant amounts. Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist cellular damage and aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants.
If you don’t have an adequate supply of antioxidants to help neutralize free radicals, then you can be at risk of oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage. Antioxidants may also help to lower chronic inflammation in your body.
In his book The Antioxidants, Richard A. Passwater, PhD, says that humans have one of the longest natural lifespans in the animal kingdom, most likely because of the wealth of antioxidants in our omnivorous diet – including from eating whole foods like pomegranates.
Pomegranates May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Pomegranate’s antioxidant activity is known to inhibit cell proliferation and invasion, and promote apoptosis (cell death) in various cancer cells. In one study, pomegranate extract was found to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells by inducing cell death. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:
“In test tubes, pomegranate extracts made from juice, rind, and oil slow down the reproduction of cancer cells and may hasten their death. Some extracts also help reduce blood supply to tumors, starving them and making them smaller. Most studies have focused on breast and prostate cancer cells. In one other study, pomegranate juice extract given to mice slowed down the growth of lung tumors. However, most of these studies have been in test tubes or in animals, not humans.”
At least one study in humans has yielded promising results, however. In men with prostate cancer, those who drank pomegranate juice significantly lengthened the time it took for their PSA levels to double (from about 15 months to 54 months). Men whose PSA levels double in a short time are at an increased risk of death from prostate cancer, so the results suggest that pomegranate had a powerfully protective effect.
Pomegranates May Reduce Arthritis Symptoms, Support Joint Health
Pomegranates or pomegranate extract may help reduce joint pain and decrease inflammation in arthritis sufferers, according to research published in the Israeli Medical Association Journal.
The antioxidants in pomegranates may also help to reduce inflammation that contributes to the destruction of cartilage in your joints, a key reason for the pain and stiffness felt by many osteoarthritis sufferers. One study even found that pomegranate extract blocked the production of a cartilage-destroying enzyme.Researchers concluded:
“PFE [pomegranate fruit extract] or compounds derived from it may inhibit cartilage degradation in OA [osteoarthritis] and may also be a useful nutritive supplement for maintaining joint integrity and function.”
Pomegranates for Your Heart Health
There is evidence to suggest that the antioxidants in pomegranates also benefit your heart in a number of ways, including lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading), slowing, and even reversing, the growth of plaque formation in arteries, and improving blood flow and keeping arteries from becoming thick and stiff.
According to the authors of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice that drank pomegranate juice reduced the progression of atherosclerosis by at least 30 percent. They noted:
“In this experimental study, we have established that polyphenols [antioxidant chemicals] and other natural compounds contained in the pomegranate juice may retard atherogenesis [hardening of the arteries].”
A Possible Natural Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Leading erectile dysfunction drugs treat erectile problems by increasing nitric oxide (NO) production, relaxing your blood vessels, which increases penile blood flow. Pomegranate juice has been shown to protect NO and enhance its effects on certain biologic systems, which suggests it may be useful for helping erectile dysfunction, at least theoretically.
A small study that tested this theory in 2007 found promising, although not statistically significant, results among men with erectile dysfunction who drank pomegranate juice. However, the researchers believed there was reason to keep testing to see if a benefit does, indeed, exist:
“Subjects were more likely to have improved [erectile dysfunction] scores when pomegranate juice was consumed … Although overall statistical significance was not achieved, this pilot study suggests the possibility that larger cohorts and longer treatment periods may achieve statistical significance.”
How to De-Seed a Pomegranate in Three Simple Steps
While many of the research studies have looked into pomegranate juice, I strongly suggest consuming the fruit in its whole form instead. Not only will this give you added fiber (which is found in the edible seeds), but it will ensure that you’re not overdoing it on fructose, which is found in high levels in all types of fruit juice. If you’ve never eaten a pomegranate before you may be curious what part is actually edible, and what’s not. If you cut a pomegranate in half, you’ll find it’s filled with juice-filled seed sacs called arils (about 600 of them in an average pomegranate), separated by thin white (and bitter) membranes.
Arils are the “jewels” of the pomegranate, and they’re the part you’ll want to enjoy. Many people enjoy pomegranates alone as a snack, but you can also sprinkle the arils over salads or cooked dishes. Inside each aril is a crunchy fiber-rich seed. While some people spit them out, you can eat them whole, seed and all. So how do you get out the arils? The POM Council recommends this simple three-step process:
- Cut off the crown, then cut the pomegranate into sections
- Place the section in a bowl of water, then roll out the arils with your fingers (discard everything else)
- Strain out the water, then enjoy the arils whole, seeds and all.
Pomegranate tea makes it easy to take advantage of the many benefits of pomegranates.
Forget coffee and amped-up soft drinks. Here’s a safe and natural way to head off the slumps when you need a quick pick-me-up. This exclusive blend of antioxidant-rich green, white, and red teas – as well as taurine – naturally boosts your energy and gives you a feeling of well-being. Enjoy morning or afternoon, hot or cold. Comes in convenient single-serving sticks.
We don’t have to live in a medicated world, but we certainly choose to. The crux of the matter is that we refuse to proactively think about prevention because we re-actively commit to treating the symptoms of underlying health problems. This is the allopathic model. We want the quick fix so we can continue our poor lifestyle and dietary habits. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is. We can blame doctors, the medical institutions and healthcare systems all we want, but self-responsibility is our only recourse if we are ever to surface from this mess. There are no excuses–if you’re taking one of these drugs, consult with a Natural Health Practitioner this week about phasing out your medication and phasing in these powerful natural foods and remedies.
Of the over 4 billion prescriptions written every year, the United States and Canada make up more than 80% of the world’s prescription opioids (psychoactive medications). Between 1997 and 2012 prescription opioids increased in dosage by almost 500%. Pharmaceuticals and medical errors are now a leading cause of death. Painkillers are the leading cause of accidental death.
In the last 15 years of life, people are experiencing more pain for longer periods than at any point on our historical record. If you think life expectancy has increased to the benefit of mankind, you’re not looking at the numbers.
78% of U.S. prescriptions written in 2010 were for generic drugs (both unbranded and those still sold under a brand name). The most prescribed drugs aren’t always the best selling drugs, there’s a difference.
Prescriptions for pain, cholesterol reduction, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, antacids, antipsychotics, diabetes and antibiotics make up 100% of the most prescribed drugs.
Make a commitment to yourself right now and start incorporating some of these amazing foods into your diet with no consequence of side effects. When you accept this, you will get off prescription medications for good.
Check out the top 7 most prescribed drugs and the best natural remedies to treat and prevent disease.
1. HYDROCODONE (Acetaminophen/Vicodin/Oxycontin)
Use: For Pain
Currently the single most prescribed drug in the world. More and more doctors are getting huge payouts from pharmaceutical companies to promote these hydrocodone, especially generic drugs. They make up more than 20% of the top prescribed medications.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told Fox News that doctors are handing out narcotics like candy. Some doctors are giving patients prescriptions for narcotics for even minor injuries.
How it Works:
It is an orally psychoactive compound that works as a narcotic and analgesic. It is biotransformed by the liver into several metabolites. It is highly dependent on metabolism by the Cytochrome P450 pathway.
Consequences: Respiratory depression; bradycardia; coma; seizures; cardiac arrest; liver damage; and death. Inherited genes such as the Cytochrome P450 affects metabolic pathways–some cannot process it at all, whereas a smaller percentage can get even more strength from it than usual. Natural Foods: Ginger, turmeric, berries, cayenne pepper, celery/celery seeds, cherries, dark green veggies, walnuts. See: Natural Healing Remedies: 10 Foods That Fight Inflammation And Pain 2. STATINS (Generic versions of Lipitor/Zocor/Crestor) Use: Reduction of LDL Cholesterol Approximately 15% of the top prescribed medications are generic statins. A study published in January 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine linked statins to 48 percent increased risk for type-2 diabetes. The are NO scientific studies ever documented which have proved through causation that lowering LDL cholesterol prevents disease. The obsessed culture of lowering cholesterol may actually be causing cancer. How it Works: Statins artificially lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting a critical enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Consequences: Inflammation and pathological breakdown of muscle, acute kidney failure, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, interference with sex hormones and death. Natural Foods: Nuts, spinach, apples, turmeric, cranberries, tomatoes, green tea, fatty fish, beans, alfalfa herb, capsicum fruit, garlic, psyllium, fenugreek seeds, butcher’s broom, licorice root, hawthorn berry. See: – New Data Shows Lycopene Reduces Heart Disease Up To 26 Percent – Two Apples a Day More Effective At Reducing Heart Disease Than Statin Medications – Top 5 Foods and Herbs To Control Cholesterol – World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease 3. LISINOPRIL (Prinivil/Zestril) AND NORVASC (Amlodipine) Use: Reduction of High Blood Pressure In combination, Lisinopril and Norvasc make up a whopping 23% of the top prescribed medications. This makes them the most prescribed generic medications (if combined) for cardiovascular disease and blood pressure. Individually, Lisinopril constitutes approximately 14% and Norvasc about 9%. How it Works: Lisinopril is typically used for the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks. Norvasc is used for hypertension and angina. It accomplishes this by inhibiting the influx of calcium ions into vascular smooth muscle and cardiac muscle so it essentially interferes with the metabolism of calcium. Consequences: Cancer, blood disorders, development of breasts in men, impotence, depression, tachycardia, enlargement of gums, inflammation of the liver, elevated blood glucose, hepatitis, life threatening skin conditions. Natural Foods: Any foods high in vitamin C (chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, thyme, parsley, dark leafy greens, broccoli), any foods high in magnesium (chocolate, green leafy vegetables, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, and black walnuts) and any foods high in potassium (mushrooms, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, oranges and dates). Coconut oil/water and CoQ10 are also very effective for lowering blood pressure. See: – Magnesium Reduces Blood Pressure Naturally Without Side Effects– Low Salt Diets Do Not Decrease Blood Pressure, Period – Vitamin C Supplements Reduce Blood Pressure Without Side Effects Associated With Medication – Low Potassium Linked To High Blood Pressure
4. SYNTHROID (levothyroxine sodium) Use: Hypothyroidism A synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, generic Synthroid makes up more than 11% of the top prescribed medications. It’s used to treat hypothyroidism. The related drug dextrothyroxine (D-thyroxine) was used in the past as a treatment for elevated cholesterol but was withdrawn due to cardiac side-effects. How it Works: It replaces the thyroid hormone which is naturally occurring in the thyroid gland essentially halting natural production. Consequences: Long-term suppression of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) causes cardiac side-effects and contributes to decreases in bone mineral density (high TSH levels are also well known to contributes to osteoporosis.) May also cause elevated blood glucose levels, heart failure, coma and adrenal insufficiency. TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production so use of synthroid directly affects how the body metabolizes iodine. Natural Foods: Any foods containing iodine such as seaweed, kelp, radish, parsley, fish, seafood, eggs, bananas, cranberries, strawberries, himalayan crystal salt. Also, copper, iron, selenium and zinc are essential in the production of thyroid hormones. Exercise a minimum of 20-30 minutes per day — enough to raise the heartbeat. See: – 8 Critical Nutrients Lacking In More Than 70 Percent of Diets – The Number One Reason So Many Women Have Trouble Losing Weight 5. PRILOSEC (omeprazole/generic versions of nexium)
A proton pump inhibitor which constitutes just over 8% of the top prescribed medications. Omeprazole is one of the most widely prescribed drugs for reflux disease (GORD/GERD/LPR) and ulcers internationally and is available over the counter in some countries.
How it Works:
It suppresses gastric acid secretion by specific inhibition of the gastric acid ions in cells. The absorption of omeprazole takes place in the small intestine essentially turning off the switch which promotes healthy digestion of foods. Omeprazole is also completely metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system.
Angina, ulcers, tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitations, elevated blood pressure, development of male breasts, inflammation of the pancreas, irritable colon, mucosal atrophy of the tongue, liver disease/failure, elevated blood sugar, muscle weakness, skin conditions, tinnitus, inflammation of the eyes, urinary frequency, testicular pain, anemia and blood cell disorders.
Grapefruits, probiotics, broccoli sprouts, manuka honey, mastic gum, marshmallow tea, glutamine, slippery elm, deglycyrrhized liquorice (DGL), aloe vera juice, baking soda, pickle juice.
– Grapefruit Heals Stomach Ulcers
– Broccoli Sprouts May Prevent Gastritis, Ulcers and Stomach Cancers
6. AZITHROMYCIN AND AMOXICILLIN
In combination, azithromycin and amoxicillin contribute towards a mind-blowing 17% of the top prescribed medications. Then we wonder why we have antibiotic resistance. On their own, each contributes about 8.5%. Azithromycin is one of the world’s best-selling antibiotics and derived from erythromycin. Amoxicillin is usually the drug of choice for children.
How it Works:
Inhibits the synthesis of bacterial cell walls and interfering with their protein synthesis. These drugs also inhibit the protein synthesis of good bacteria needed for immunity and proper digestion.
Inflammation of the liver, inflammation and destruction of the stomach lining, destruction of healthy bacterial populations, inflammation of the colon, allergic reactions, obesity, human antibiotic resistance.
Sunlight (vit D), garlic, coconut oil, turmeric, foods high in nicotinamide (vit B3) such as salmon, sardines and nuts. Also manuka honey, olive leaf extract, green tea, pau D’Arco, rose water, myrrh, grapeseed extract, golden seal, oregon grapes, oregano oil, andrographis paniculata, and probiotics.
– Garlic Proven 100 Times More Effective Than Antibiotics, Working In A Fraction of The Time
– Before Antibiotics Ever Existed, Sunlight Was Used To Treat Diseases With Great Success
– The Most Potent B Vitamin That Combats Infections Better Than Antibiotics Ever Could
7. GLUCOPHAGE (metformin)
Use: Oral anti-diabetic drug
Glucophage drugs round up the top 7 but the prescription rate of this drug is rapidly increasing. It makes up about 7% of the top prescribed medications. It is the first-line drug of choice for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, in particular, in overweight and obese people. It also acts to indirectly lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
How it Works:
By suppressing natural glucose production by the liver, the drug activates an enzyme which plays an important role in insulin signaling, whole body energy balance, and the metabolism of glucose and fats.
Lactic acidosis, impaired liver/kidney function, decreasing thyroid stimulating hormone and testosterone, increased homocysteine levels, malabsorption of vitamin B12, B12 deficiency, bladder cancer, heart failure. The biggest consequence of diabetes drugs is that it causes pancreatic function to substantially decrease inhibiting several hormones and causing other imbalances which are never correctable without abstaining from the drug.
Black tea, Sunlight (vit D), potentially coffee (more research needed), turmeric, nuts, chia seeds, green leafy vegetables, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, red grapes, steel cut oatmeal, broccoli, spinach, green beans and strawberries. 90% of all cases of diabetes can be resolved by eating foods with a low glycemic load, and pursuing both weight training and aerobic exercise.
– Study on Black Tea Consumption From 42 Countries Shows It Lowers Diabetes Risk
– Two More Bombshells For Vitamin D: It Prevents Both Type I Diabetes and Cavities
– Coffee’s Anti-Diabetes Benefit
– Healthy Diet, Moderate Exercise Reduce Diabetes Risk Better Than Drugs
The drugs on which we spend the most money are those that are still new enough to be protected against generic competition. That’s why drugs like Abilify and Seroquel (antipsychotics), as well as Plavix (blood thinner) and Advair Diskus (asthma inhaler) don’t make the list.
|Choosing quality fish oilPosted: 20 May 2014 08:19 AM PDT
One of the more common nutrient deficiencies in the most people’s diet is the lack of EPA and DHA found in fish oil.
Following dietary suggestions to consume 2-3 servings of fish a week – especially cold water, oily fish — is good advice to ensure adequate EPA/DHA, but most consumers do not eat fish that frequently. Many consumers are concerned about the risk of contaminants in many common fish. In fact, many consumers question whether the health benefits of eating fish outweigh those of eating fish that could contain mercury, lead, or other toxins.
Recent reports do suggest that there may be cause for concern about the quality of our fish. Imported seafood accounts for around 80 percent of the fish we consume, and according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), only about 2 percent of imported seafood is inspected (and only 0.1 percent is tested for banned drug residues). Farmed fish seems to be no better with many of these fish containing PCB’s and other chemicals with serious long-term health effects. While mercury is certainly a concern, fish may also contain lead, arsenic cadmium, dioxin or other toxins.
With all of these concerns, many people turn to supplemental fish oil as a solution. When fish oil is properly processed, contaminants can be removed or reduced to levels where they should not pose a risk.
When choosing a clean fish oil, look for the following:
Ensuring quality should be a priority for anyone looking to get the most out of their fish oil.