The industry makes some very grandiose promises! They claim that pomegranate can stop the ageing process, normalise blood pressure, fight cancer, counteract digestive problems and strengthen libido and virility.
And that's not all: it is said to defy cardiovascular diseases and help fight arthritis, Alzheimer's and dementia, to name just a few of pomegranate's many benefits...
Mother Nature endowed pomegranate, nicknamed the ‘paradise apple’, with numerous nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals and fatty acids – bio-active substances which should justify these benefits with one feature or another that is worthy of note for our health and well-being.
For example, because of their unique bioavailability of 95 %, the cell-protecting polyphenols in pomegranate are many times better than those of other medicinal plants (for example, three times as strong as green tea or red wine).
Associated with eternal youth and fertility for centuries, the ‘apple of Aphrodite’, as it is also respectfully referred to, is said to ensure a long, healthy, energetic life. What do people want more?
Pomegranate has the weight of reputable tradition behind it: The Chinese associate it with longevity, in the Orient, it is considered a symbol of immortality. It is even thought that pomegranate, mentioned in both the Old Testament and much later in Shakespeare's ‘Romeo and Juliet’, is one of the oldest crops ever, as evidenced by references in mythology.
In short: pomegranate is one of the oldest medicinal fruits humanity possesses!
On the other hand, pomegranate is so ‘trendy’ that all of Hollywood gushes about it; Kate Moss, Madonna and Mick Jagger swear by it, among others. No other fruit has received as much attention from the scientific community as the pomegranate.
A balancing act between myth and truth, between tradition, trendy hype and modern science?
In these sections, we want to counter this view and provide you with the facts about pomegranate...
Pomegranate can be used in a variety of ways and has traditionally been used in different ways by different peoples. In the Orient, it is an important part of the daily diet and all of it is consumed. The strong colour, which stubbornly clings to textiles, is also used to colour carpets. In India, pomegranate is used as a spice, but also as a food and also as a dye for textiles. Aboriginal peoples used all the ingredients of the pomegranate for the treatment of all sorts of suffering, such as diarrhoea, ulcers, parodontosis, throat infections and oral aphthae.
The trend in Western Europe and the United States with the wellness movement led to a small ‘hype’ around the pomegranate; for example, there are 90,000 German-languages searches for ‘pomegranate’ on Google every month.
Its use extends from juices and nutritional supplements to ensure a longer life in optimal health, to cosmetics, for example, to preserve the beauty of the skin.
Active ingredients in pomegranate
What distinguishes the pomegranate is its pronounced variety of active ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals and fatty acids.
Acting like an orchestra, these highly bioactive substances can combat many illnesses in unison and contribute to a fulfilling, longer life; they offer three to ten times more protection against oxidants than our native fruits.
So far, the following active substances or drug groups have been identified:
- vitamins (vitamins B1, B2, C, OPC, beta-carotene)
- minerals (magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron)
- secondary plant substances (e.g. flavonoids, ellagitannins, phenolic acids)
- essential fatty acids (linolenic acid)
Phytochemicals in pomegranate
For the most part, phytochemicals account for the remarkable effect of pomegranate on our health; therefore, they should be given special attention. Science is still in its infancy in this regard, but more and more recent findings are revealing what phytochemicals can do for our health.
Secondary plant substances have the following effects:
- antithrombotic (counters blood clumping),
- boosts the immune system,
- anticarcinogenic (tumour-suppressive),
- regulates blood pressure,
- regulates blood sugar level,
- and lowers lipids (reduction of cholesterol level).
Pomegranate contains many flavonoids, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, and quercetin, as well as ellagitannins, such as punicalagin, and phenolic acids, such as gallic and ellagic acid.
Effect of pomegranate
The extremely diverse spectrum of vital substances in pomegranate almost inevitably leads to a variety of positive effects on all kinds of diseases. Especially in diseases of the cardiovascular system as well as cancer, which, sadly, are the two most common causes of death and have not been controlled in any way by conventional medicine to date, the active ingredients in pomegranate are extremely interesting because, as natural ACE inhibitors, they reduce blood pressure, are able to normalise cholesterol very effectively, and even reverse atherosclerosis (vascular calcification), as well as its bioactive agents, which counteract cancer development and actively fight cancer.
It therefore makes sense to initially examine the general effect on the body and, subsequently, the specific effect on diseases. Again, it is important to note that the amazing effect of pomegranate is due to the interaction of ALL its natural ingredients and that individual isolated ingredients cannot have nearly as good an impact in this regard. For example, it is known that ellagic acid, in isolation, has little effect, because it is not soluble in water and thus absorption into the body is practically non-existent. Punicalagins, on the other hand, are 100 % water-soluble and 95 % are taken up by our bodies. They piggyback the ellagic acid, transport it into our body and release it. Once in the intestine, ellagic acid is transformed into urolithines, which then offer protection against diseases such as cancer.
General effect of pomegranate on our bodies
- antioxidant effect (protection against free radicals)
- immunomodulatory effect (strengthening the immune system)
- antibiotic effect (protection against bacteria)
- detoxifying effect (alcohol, nicotine etc.)
- anticancerogenic effect (protection against cancer)
- anti-arteriosclerotic effect (protection against vascular calcification)
- anti-inflammatory effect
- protection against UV rays
- promotes repair of damaged cells
- cholesterol-lowering effect
- blood pressure regulation
- regulation of blood lipid levels
- hormone regulation
- encourages circulation
Foto ©Emily_D by pixelio.de