If you have never eaten a pomegranate, you don't know what you're missing!The pomegranate, Punica granatum L.,is a fruit tree already well-known by ancient civilizations lauded because of its medical properties for a wide range of ailments. Pomegranates are usually earmarked for arils fresh consumption, juice, jam, dried arils and also for developing nutraceutical ingredients such as seed oil and polyphenols extracts. From a nutritional point of view, edible part of pomegranate, either arils or their juice contains mainly high sugar content, dietary fibers( including pectin) and variable quantities of organic acids. In addition, pomegranate has been reported as an interesting source of potassium besides that is rich in some essential vitamins as folate and vitamin K .Nonetheless, the most important added value of pomegranate is its large content in phenolic compounds, which are present in the edible part as well as in the rest of the fruit and in fact, is precisely in the husk where they are found in higher concentration. Phenolic compounds are plant secondary metabolites commonly found in vegetables and fruits.
Pomegranate and oxidative stress.
Pomegranate has its high effect in lowering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress reflects an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage. Pomegranate polyphenols have been suggested like antioxidant compounds and it has been confirmed on biological system. Research in animals and humans has demonstrated pomegranate derivatives increase plasma antioxidant capacity and decrease oxidative stress. Pomegranate fresh juice consumption increased serum antioxidant status as well as it modified other specific antioxidant biomarkers. Pomegranate juice may contain close to three times the antioxidants as green tea or red wine. Antioxidants fight against free radicals -- unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cell membranes. This cellular damage has been linked to all kinds of diseases including cancer.
Pomegranate and cardiovascular diseases.
Pomegranate intake has shown a high potential in the management of cardiovascular diseases(CVD). This is based on a research done by researches of the University of California. Pomegranate phenolics have demonstrated their ability to protect blood vessels of inflammation. Both pomegranate juice and pomegranate fruit extract have demonstrated to be able to decrease vascular inflammation markers, thrombopodin-1 and cytokine transforming growth factor beta-1. Cardiovascular health benefits of pomegranate have not been limited to atherosclerosis. Pomegranate juice has also shown cardioprotective effects on coronary diseases.
Pomegranate and cancer.
Prevention of cancer is part from the increasing efforts to reduce cancer burden. One of these preventive strategies is through the diet, increasing the consumption of foods rich in chemoprotective compounds. Pomegranate , due to its phytochemical composition, has demonstrated to possess potential effects on multiple cancer such as colon, prostate and breast, using cell lines and animal models assays. Antioxidant pomegranate juice and its constituents have been broadly studied for their antiproliferative and apoptotic activities in human cell cultures of cancer.
Pomegranate and neurological disorders.
Dietary interventions have demonstrated that consumption of anthocyanins-rich both food or extracts may exert beneficial properties in neurological functions by retarding age related declines, preventing behavioral deficits in Alzheimer’s disease and improving spatial learning. Likewise, anthocyanins supplementation has shown diminishing oxidative modifications of proteins and lipids in the brain, as well as dopamine neurotransmitter abnormalities caused by emotional stress. Moreover, equal to pomegranate juice, dietary supplementation with foods rich in anthocyanins provides neuroprotection in animal models of ischemia.
Pomegranate and antimicrobial effects.
Pomegranate extracts have displayed antagonist effects against all type of microorganisms causing urinary tract infections. On the other hand, pomegranate sun-dried rind is employed in some regions of India as an anti-malaria herbal preparation. The role of tannins-rich pomegranate rind methanolic extract on the treatment of cerebral malaria, a complication of the infection by Plasmodium falciparum, has been studied. Positive results were attributed to the anti-parasitic activity and the inhibition of pro-inflammatory mechanisms involved in the onset of malaria.
Pomegranate and other diseases.
Consumption of pomegranate derivatives has been related to possess anti-inflammatory activity and has been tested in various animal models. Pomegranate polyphenols extract strongly delayed the initiation, reduced the morbidity and lowered the severity of collagen-induced arthritis. Pomegranate derivatives also present considerable prospects as cosmeceutical because of their protective effects on UVB-induced damage. Two different trials have been carried out with similar results, pointing out the inhibition of increase and activity of matrix metalloproteinases in both human reconstituted skin and human skin fibroblasts.
A plethora of pharmacological and therapeutic features have been associated to pomegranate fruit. Pomegranate fruit derivatives contain a very different range of phenolics among other bioactive phytochemicals that may be implicated in protective effects, being possible that these health promotion properties are generated from the influence of multiple constituents. Hence, it seems logical to take into consideration the consumption of a complete and balanced pomegranate-derived product.