Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of bright colors.
You rarely find beige produce.
It is in the color that much of the nutrition resides as that is where phytonutrients congregate. These chemical compounds protect plants from harm; when we eat them, we absorb their protective effects as well.
A recent study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research examined a particular antioxidant phytochemical called punicalagin found in the pomegranate. Researchers found it to be an efficacious anti-inflammatory whose implications for neurological health are significant.
Pomegranate and the Brain
Microglia are immune cells found in the central nervous system. When they come into contact with diseased or injured cells, they go to work to kill pathogens and dispose of damaged cells. In the pomegranate study, the genes of rat hippocampus cells that were antagonized with pathogens, when treated with punicalagin, experienced the arrest in proliferation of diseased cells.
“These results suggest that punicalagin inhibits neuroinflammation in…microglia through interference with…signalling, suggesting its potential as a nutritional preventive strategy in neurodegenerative disorders.”
Another study found that supplementing with pomegranate in rats who have sustained brain injury effectively reduced oxidative damage, showing that existing damage can be repaired.
The extension of these finding applies to the human brain. Inflammation is a significant factor in the genesis of disease anywhere in the body. By reducing inflammation in brain cells, disease can be stalled or even prevented. The application in people with a predilection for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can prevent their onset. Many tens of millions of people suffer from these disorders world-wide.
Curative Effects in Other Body Systems
In addition, pomegranate fruit extract, due to punicalagin’s antioxidant qualities, can reverse the effects of atherosclerosis–the building up of plaque in the arteries. With the reduction of plaque comes a lowering of blood pressure. Kind of like using baking soda and vinegar to clear a slow kitchen drain.
Eating pomegranates can improve mood and promote emotional and mental health by regulating various hormones in the body, such as testosterone, estrogen, and serotonin.
Concentration of punicalagin in pomegranates is in their skins. It’s the antioxidant photochemical that makes the pomegranate red. We don’t normally eat the skins of pomegranate, however, these are included in pomegranate juice and fruit extract.
Pomegranates are naturally grown in warm, dry climates. In the U.S., we can find them in most large grocery stores, coming from California, Arizona, and Mexico. The seeds are delicious and refreshing. To get the full impact of their antioxidants, throw the skins in your next smoothie.