Pomegranate Juice's Heart Benefits Backed by Study by Staff Writer, Food Navigator - Europe
19/09/2005 - The evidence in favor of pomegranates is stacking
up, as the latest research indicates that drinking a glass of
pomegranate juice each day may be of benefit for patients with
coronary heart disease.
Pomegranate juice is remarkably rich in antioxidants, such as
soluble polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins, which scavenge free
radicals and help prevent DNA damage that can lead to a number of
serious health conditions. It is also believed to have
antiatherosclerotic properties, as studies in Israel have shown
that the fruit juice, taken daily, prevented the thickening of
arteries and slowed down cholesterol oxidation by almost half (Clin
Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33).
POM Wonderful, which supplied juice for the new study, draws
attention to the antiatherosclerotic properties of pomegranate
juice on its website.
And it seems consumers are keen to partake of the benefits: In
the UK pomegranates are hardly sold in their fruit form but RJA
Foods, which sells the Pomegreat brand, reports that sales have
grown over the last year from around 50,000 liters per month to
500,000 liters per month.
Notwithstanding the earlier research, researchers from the
University of California's non-profit Preventive Medicine Research
Institute and California Pacific Medical Center claim theirs new
study, published in the published in the September 16 issue of the
Journal of Cardiology, is the first to assess its effect on
patients with ischemic coronary heart disease (CHD).
They randomly divided 45 participants, all of whom had CHD and
myocardial ischemia, into two groups. One group received 250ml (8.5
oz) pomegranate juice each day for three months, and the other
received the same amount of a placebo drink with a similar
calorific content, flavor and color.
Their findings showed that blood flow to the heart improved by
about 17 percent in the pomegranate group and declined by 18
percent in the placebo group. The researchers noted that this
benefit was realized without and negative effects on lipids, blood
glucose, hemoglobin A1c, body weight or blood pressure.
"In conclusion, daily consumption of pomegranate juice may
improve stress-induced myocardial ischemia in patients who have
CHD," they wrote.
Senior author Dean Ornish said: "Although the sample in this
study was relatively small, the strength of the design and the
significant improvements in blood flow to the heart observed after
only three months suggest that pomegranate juice may have important
clinical benefits in those with coronary heart disease."
He added that it may even be able to help prevent CHD in people
who do not already suffer from it.
Researchers at Hammersmith Hospital in London, UK, are currently
involved in research to find out whether pomegranate juice could be
an effective prevention measure against heart disease in people
with healthy arteries.
CHD is the biggest cause of death in many Western countries. In
the United States, an estimated 13 million individuals suffer from
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