We’ve known for a few years now that eating pomegranate seeds and drinking pomegranate juice was a healthy thing to do. It’s high in the antioxidant Vitamin C and polyphenol compounds, catechins and anthocyanins. Those qualities alone make it a powerhouse fruit to include in your diet regularly to fight free radical damage to your DNA. But there’s even more you should know about pomegranates that make it both a powerful disease fighter as well as an anti-aging substance for both men and women. Read on…
The Ruby Red Queen of Fruits Holds an Anti-Aging Secret
Pomegranates are an amazing, and even mystical, fruit. They were growing in the Biblical Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were residents and were thought to be the “crowned fruit” brought to Moses as a fertility symbol of the Promised Land. It’s said they even contain the same number of seeds – 613 – as commandments in the Hebrew Torah. Interesting ancient mysticism and religion aside, modern day scientists have learned through numerous studies what ancient physicians have long known about the pomegranate – they contain powerful medicine as well as anti-aging properties.
Pomegranate seeds (arils) have been used in natural medicine for centuries to treat stomachaches, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis, osteoarthritis, and lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and ward off viruses and bacteria; as well as help diabetes, reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. Yet, it wasn’t until the numerous studies of the last decade or so that revealed all the amazing benefits of the pomegranate’s nutrient compounds to diabetes, your heart, preventing and treating cancer, and more.
Pomegranates also contain a substance which can be very beneficial in treating 2 conditions often associated with aging in older men and women. One is prostate cancer in men and the other is atrophic vaginitis in women. Pomegranates contain a weak, phytoestrogen bioidentical to a certain type of estrogen called estrone, one of the 3 types of estrogen that your body naturally manufactures (estriol, estrone, estradiol). Here’s what this phytoestrogen can do for men and women specifically:
Men. The natural phytoestrogens and punicid acid in pomegranates help men with prostate cancer by helping prevent its spread, says a study out of Harvard Medical School. The study showed that the punicic acid in pomegranates stopped the growth of prostate tumor cells. A little further back in 2005, an Israeli study also showed that pomegranates polyphenols help promote healthy prostate cell growth. Pomegranate compounds also seem to help stabilize PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels, decrease urge incontinence, improves penile blood flow and erectile capabilities, thereby promoting sexual wellness.
Women. Because of the phytoestrogen in pomegranates, its oil may be the perfect solution to treating the uncomfortable, and often debilitating, condition of ‘atrophic vaginitis’ that frequently afflicts postmenopausal women. Women’s products (see Sources below) are just starting to make use of this natural estrogenic property of pomegranates by developing vaginal moisturizers that contain pomegranate oil.
Pomegranate’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds help turn off both internal and external inflammation and dryness of tissues that occurs with this condition. These products are inserted into the vaginal tract just as prescription estradiol creams that typically treat atrophic vaginitis. The phytoestrogenic properties of pomegranate oil have also been found to re-strengthen vaginal tissues, increase their elasticity, and decrease their “friability” – the ease in which they tear and/or bleed with intercourse. Pomegranate taken orally in capsules is also thought to improve peri/post-menopausal hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and diminished libido.
Two other conditions that are often a concern of both older men and women are also helped by pomegranate compounds.
Skin Rejuvenation. The active compounds in pomegranates, cited in research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, have been found to stimulate “keratinocytes”, keratin cells, which are present in youthful, healthy skin. They help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in skin, helping to preserve its volume and tone. Another compound, punicic acid, or punicalagin, is an Omega-5 fatty acid that helps your skin hold onto collagen, rehydrate skin and prevent moisture loss, giving your skin a plumper, more youthful look. It creates a rejuvenating effect on elasticity, texture, tone, softening of wrinkles, and decrease of redness and dark age spots. The oil has also been found in research to reduce the growth of skin tumors.
Bone Density. Pomegranates also contain good amounts of Vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and manganese that help stimulate the production of new bone cells and maintain bone density and strength, a significant concern of growing older. In addition, pomegranate compounds, because of its collagen stimulating properties, also helps maintain the strength of supporting cartilage and ligaments.
Whether you eat pomegranate seeds, drink its juice, take it in a supplement form, or make use of the various skin, or women’s products containing pomegranate oil, you’re getting the anti-aging benefits of this remarkable fruit. Yes, it’s not the cheapest fruit to buy, but a cup of pomegranate seeds every week has such good benefits for older men and women that I think you may find them to be well worth the extra money.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.