Tags: Heart Disease | heart healthy diet | pomegranate | fact | fiction

Heart Healthy Diet: Fact and Fiction About the Benefits of Pomegranates

By    |   Friday, 08 Jul 2016 03:12 PM

The pomegranate has been called a superfood that is often used in a heart-healthy diet. Its fruit extract contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation in the body.

But how much of the benefits are exagerated, what's fact and fiction when it comes to adding pomegranates to a heart-healthy diet?

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Research suggests the antioxidants in pomegranates boost heart health by reducing inflammation and thickening of the artery walls, reports Jill Taufer, a licensed dietitian and nutritionist at the University of Florida.

Pomegranate juice could reduce the buildup of plaque and cholesterol by preventing platelets from clumping together in the arteries.

However, the improved blood cholesterol and blood pressure from the fruit could also be attributed to an overall well-balanced diet. A combination of fiber and nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods in a heart-healthy diet could bring on the benefits rather than the effects of one food, notes Taufer.

Although studies indicate the pomegranate might reduce narrowed arteries and improve blood flow to the heart, the results aren’t completely clear or have come from small trials, according to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.

Alison Hornby, a dietitian with the British Dietetic Association, told the NHS that studies on the fruit’s effectiveness “were very small and more investigation into the role pomegranate plays in these improvements is needed.”

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Lab studies on mice have suggested pomegranate juice slows down plaque formation in the arteries. Small studies on people indicate the juice improves blood flow to prevent the thickening of arteries, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Pomegranate juice has higher levels of antioxidants than other fruit juices, according to Dr. Brent A. Bauer at the Mayo Clinic. These rich benefits could help reduce LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, from clogging the arteries and increasing the risk of heart disease.

Bauer recommends choosing pure pomegranate juice without added sugar. The extra calories from sugar could take away from the benefits of a heart-healthy diet.

Pomegranate juice may also interfere with certain blood thinning and blood pressure drugs, resulting in serious side effects.

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The pomegranate has been called a superfood that is often used in a heart-healthy diet. But how much of the benefits are exagerated, what's fact and fiction when it comes to adding pomegranates to a heart-healthy diet?
heart healthy diet, pomegranate, fact, fiction
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2016-12-08
Friday, 08 Jul 2016 03:12 PM
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