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Funny-Looking Fruit Packs a Punch

CancerWise - February 2009

You may have heard that red wine is good for heart health, but did you know pomegranate juice may be even better? Recent studies have shown this fruit has powerful cardiovascular benefits.

Pomegranate is packed with antioxidants, specifically polyphenol compounds, which are known to reduce the inflammation that plays a part in heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and other diseases.

Nutrients may boost health

The amounts and varieties of these disease-fighting nutrients are particularly potent in the deep red fruit. Increased blood flow among study participants is evidence of pomegranate’s effectiveness.

Pomegranate juice works in at least two ways to improve cardiovascular function. It has been shown to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce artery-clogging plaque buildup.

The fruit is not only good for the heart, but like other foods rich in antioxidants, it is also associated with slowing and preventing the progression of several types of cancer. The antioxidant makeup of the fruit clearly packs a powerful punch.

How much should you drink?

Participants in studies received benefits by consuming 1.5 ounces, or 3 tablespoons, of pomegranate juice a day and experienced no side effects. Pomegranate juice is available in grocery and health stores.

However, there is potential for the juice to interact with some drugs or supplements, including statin drugs taken to lower cholesterol. Speak with your health care practitioner if you take medications or are pregnant and want to consume more than 1.5 ounces on a daily basis.

Some people who are allergic to peanuts or hazelnuts also are allergic to pomegranate.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center