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Once considered an exotic fruit, the pomegranate has soared to the top of the healthful foods chart. Pomegranates present a challenge because of their hard outer covering, which protects the nutrient-rich pulp and seeds. If you don’t want to tackle the fresh fruit, there are options, such as ready-made pomegranate juice (which are also usually high in sugar content and calories so be careful) and pomegranate supplements. Here are six important benefits of pomegranate for men’s health and why you should make the pomegranate—in whatever form—a part of your diet.
6 Benefits of Pomegranate for Men’s Health
Slows Progression of Prostate Cancer. Research shows that pomegranate extracts can encourage prostate cells to commit suicide (apoptosis) and can also slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells. Components in pomegranates called ellagitannins can interfere with the growth of new blood vessels, which are necessary to nourish prostate tumors.
Stabilizes PSA Levels: Men with prostate cancer who had had surgery or radiation but whose PSA levels had climbed were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. While the average PSA level had doubled every 15 months before drinking pomegranate juice, it was taking 54 months by the end of the study. The juice also was associated with a 17% increase in cancer cell apoptosis and a 12 percent decline in the spread of cancer cells.
May Fight Breast and Lung Cancers: Studies in Israel report that pomegranate juice kills breast cancer cells without damaging healthy cells, and that it may also stop breast cancer cells from forming. Other research indicates that pomegranate juice may inhibit the development of lung cancer.
Prevents Osteoarthritis: Several studies indicate that pomegranate juice may prevent the deterioration of cartilage, which is characteristic of arthritis. A February 2010 study reported that pomegranate juice helped prevent cartilage damage in the knee joints of animal models with osteoarthritis.
Protects Blood Vessels: Pomegranate juice has been associated with both lowering cholesterol levels (the bad LDL cholesterol) and protecting blood vessels by preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Thus pomegranates can help prevent against hardening of the arteries and related conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
Lowers Blood Pressure: Research shows that adults with high blood pressure who drank 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice daily lowered their systolic blood pressure by as much as 5%.
Whether you choose a fresh pomegranate, pomegranate juice, or a supplement, you will be treating yourself to a wealth of antioxidants and other nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E, folic acid, fiber, potassium, and niacin—and a boost to prostate and overall health.
- Albrecht M, et al. 2004 Pomegranate extracts potently suppress proliferation, xenograft growth, and invasion of human prostate cancer cells. Journal of Medicinal Food 2004; 7:274-83
- Rettig MB, et al. Pomegranate extract inhibits androgen-independent prostate cancer growth through a nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent mechanism. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2008; 7:2662–71
- Pantuck AJ, et al. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clinical Cancer Research2006; 12:4018-26
- Khan N, et al. Pomegranate fruit extract inhibits prosurvival pathways in human A549 lung carcinoma cells and tumor growth in athymic nude mice. Carcinogenesis 2006 Aug 18; Epub ahead of print
- Kim ND, et al. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2002 Feb; 71(3):203-17
- Hadipour-Jahromy M, Mozaffari-Kermani R. Chondroprotective effects of pomegranate juice on monoiodoacetate-induced osteoarthritis of the knee joint of mice. Phytotherapy Research 2010 Feb; 24(2): 182-85
- Aviram M et al. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans. Drugs Exp Clin Res 2002; 28(2-3): 49-62
- Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001 Sep; 158(1):195-98