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The Pomegranate


by Melody T. Horner

The pomegranate (Punica granatum), a fruit belonging to a class of polyphenols and plant compounds rich in deep pigments contains hundreds of edible yellowish seeds, contains several seeds enveloped by juicy, red flesh. The nutrients in pomegranate include: punicalagin, elagitannins, ellagic acid, gallagic acid, urolithins, potassium and vitamin K—all active in conferring major health benefits.

Ordinary breathing in of oxygen creates molecules that lack electrons. Those unpaired oxygen molecules—free radicals—grab electrons from tissues and begin a process of ill health. The active agents in pomegranate are the antioxidants that donate electrons to stabilize free-radicals. Scientists use ORAC to measure antioxidant value. Pomegranate’s score is 10,500, higher than blackberries at 5,100 and oranges at 2,400.

Oral Health

The gum diseases of gingivitis and periodontis release bacteria into the bloodstream, thereby increasing risk of heart disease. A pomegranate mouth rinse lowered bacterial counts in oral plaque by 84 percent, compared to a 79-percent reduction with chlorhexidine rinse.1

In 2006, Brazilian researchers investigated the effects of a pomegranate gel on three bacterial strains in their laboratory.2 The gel was more effective at inhibiting bacteria than the drug miconazole, and the gel prevented the growth of multiple oral bacteria.

Skin Health

After a 2010 laboratory study of the effects of pomegranate ellagic acid on both human skin cells and hairless mice, researchers reported pomegranate extract may protect skin from wrinkles and inflammation.3

UV radiation produces skin sunburn and photoaging. A 2008 study with human skin cells reported pomegranate helped to protect the skin against the aging threats of UV light and inflammation.4

After scientists had documented health benefits of pomegranate components, skin-care companies infused pomegranate into creams. For example, Burt’s Bees offers a skin-firming night cream formulated with pomegranate antioxidants to subdue free radicals that breakdown skin’s collagen and elastin. Use of the cream produces smooth, firmer skin with fewer lines and wrinkles.

Pomegranates attack many areas of health and offer the body a natural way to combat skin and oral health.

Reference available on the next page.

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