Pomegranate Juice and Heart Disease
However, this has changed recently in regard to one particular fruit: the pomegranate. The pomegranate, when transformed into juice, does some amazing things for the body, and in particular, the cardiovascular system.
First and foremost it has been shown to lower blood pressure, and inhibit the formation of plaque along artery walls (aka atherosclerosis). Not only has it been shown to inhibit new plaque formation, but it also can reverse the atherosclerosis that has already occurred!
This last result is pretty amazing. The study was done in Israel and involved ten patients taking 50 mL of pomegranate juice every day for a year, after which a doppler ultrasound of the carotid artery showed up to a 30% decrease in the thickness of the artery. Patients who did not take the pomegranate juice showed a 9% increase in the thickness of their carotid arteries.
It has also been shown to help diabetic patients lower their LDL and total cholesterol, while having no significant effect on their blood glucose levels. Yep, you read that right, a juice that does not significantly increase blood glucose levels.
You can find the juice at most supermarkets and health food stores. However, make sure it is 100% pomegranate juice with no added sweeteners or other types of juice as they will only add calories and reduce the positive effects you have just been reading about!
Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
Esmaillzadeh A, Tahbaz F, Gaieni I, Alavi-Majd H, Azadbakht L.
Cholesterol-lowering effect of concentrated pomegranate juice consumption in type II diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2006 May;76(3):147-51.
Rosenblat M, Hayek T, Aviram M. Anti-oxidative effects of pomegranate juice (PJ) consumption by diabetic patients on serum and on macrophages. Atherosclerosis. 2006 Aug;187(2):363-71. Epub 2005 Oct 13.
~Dr. Emily Gonzalez