The prevalence of heart disease and heart attacks has most people thinking arterial plaque, also known as atherosclerosis, is inevitable. But now we’re seeing proof that a lifestyle of exercise, a healthy diet, and managing stress can go a long way to prevent and reverse heart disease and can even shrink arterial plaque.
Enter the pomegranate!
A powerful fruit that helps us do just that.
Digging into the research and studies from around the globe, I was surprised and encouraged to learn how the pomegranate fruit reverses some of our body’s underlying behavior that leads to heart disease. It seems our ruby red friend has potent abilities to benefit the health of our heart and arteries.
For example, a pubmed.gov abstract summarizes a study where participants were given pomegranate juice for one year. Amazingly the group saw a reduction in their carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) by up to 30%! In the control group (not consuming the juice), their IMT increased 9%. That’s pretty impressive stuff!
Our arteries have two inner layers called the intima and the media. With atherosclerosis these inner layers become inflamed and fill with plaque leading to the condition we commonly refer to as “blocked arteries.”
One of the ways pomegranate helps our heart is by increasing nitric oxide in the body. This is important because, for one, nitric oxide helps relax the walls of our blood vessels which increases blood flow and helps prevent high blood pressure. It also helps prevent the formation of plaque and reduces injury to vessel walls.
And if that’s not reason enough to
consume more pomegranate…
It is one of nature’s most potent sources of antioxidants and has been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.
Besides the whole fruit, there are many ways to consume pomegranate, including juice, juice concentrate, powders and tablets. Dr. Joel Kahn says the safest way to be sure you’re getting all the active chemicals is with whole fruit and juice.
Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over salad or yogurt, oatmeal and cold cereal. They’re also great in smoothies. Delicious by the glass, the juice and can also be added to lots of other beverages, including hot or cold tea. We routinely drink about 4 ounces each day. And when we’re with our friends having drinks or wine, Bill sips pomegranate juice from a wine glass. If anyone notices they will always want a taste and say “Wow, this tastes good! I could do that!”
Want to dig deeper? Check out these links:
Fix it! Plan Photos by: Bill Peterson Galleries