Some people believe that pomegranate juice helps prevent and treat heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
But for this, pomegranate juice contains very few active ingredients. However, it contains many vitamins and minerals, so it can be included in the diet. It is true that it is not suitable for everyone: pomegranate juice is not compatible with some drugs.
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Our articles are written with love for evidence-based medicine. We refer to authoritative sources and go to doctors with a good reputation for comments. But remember: you and your doctor are responsible for your health. We do not write recipes, we make recommendations. Rely on our point of view or not – you decide.
The benefits of pomegranate juice
Pomegranate grows in warm countries, such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, and is propagated by hard-skinned, which botanists consider berries. Inside such a berry there are about 600 grains – seeds covered with juicy shells.
Useful properties of pomegranate juice. Freshly squeezed juice, which is offered in markets and malls, is usually made from what is in the pomegranate, ie from beans. This juice is rich in potassium, vitamins A, C and B9, but these substances are also found in other natural juices, such as orange. Thus, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice has almost no difference in health effects from other freshly squeezed fruit juices.
Polyphenols have long been of interest to scientists because of their antioxidant activity. This means that they neutralize free radicals – unstable molecules that form in the body when exposed to sunlight or when food is converted into energy.
Free radicals are molecules that contain oxygen and have one free electron. due to an unpaired electron, such molecules are unstable and react rapidly with other molecules.
For example, with what constitutes cell walls. So if too many free radicals are produced, they destroy the cells and cause inflammation that accompanies many chronic diseases. For example, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Many manufacturers are willing to include information about the benefits of pomegranate juice in advertising. But that does not mean that it really improves health.
What is the problem with pomegranate juice?
So far, it has not been proven that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice can really benefit people. But still if managed to confirm it, in the pomegranate juice from the store are still too few to have at least some effect on health.
Experiments in a test tube, ie in cell cultures, confirmed that at least two pomegranate polyphenols – punicalagin and ellagic acid – have strong antioxidant activity.
And studies in rats and mice have shown that pomegranate juice extracts with polyphenols lower cholesterol and cancer cell activity, reduce inflammation in blood vessels and promote heart health.
For example, in healthy people who took 50 ml of juice a day for two weeks, their cholesterol levels remained the sameas well as those who did not drink juice.
People with diabetes who drank 50 ml of juice a day for three months had a slight reduction in blood glucose levels. And the well-being of overweight patients, who received not only juice for a whole month, but 1.4 g of dry pomegranate extract in capsules, containing at least 90% polyphenols, did not affect at all.
After that, all participants in the experiment measured the antioxidant activity in the urine. It turned out that for those who drank pomegranate juice, this number was 1.46 mmol / l. And those who drank apple juice – 1.36 mmol / l. The authors of the study concluded that the antioxidant effect of pomegranate juice is better, although it is difficult to say how much more useful it is than apple juice.
It should be borne in mind that the experimental pomegranate juice is not at all Same most juice from a store bottle.
Study participants received either pomegranate juice extracts, in which most of the weight came from antioxidants, or standard pomegranate juice, which contained at least 570 mg of polyphenols per 200 ml of juice. But the concentration of chemicals in the skin depends to a large extent on where the fruit was grown and on the compression technology. Therefore, no one knows how many polyphenols will be in the usual juice from the store, because their content is not controlled during production.
In 2019, Spanish scientists proved that there may be no antioxidants in the juices purchased from the store. They bought 12 different brands 100% pomegranate juice and measured the concentration of ellagic acid and punicalagin in them.
As a result, the researchers concluded that until manufacturers learn how to measure and control the polyphenol content in pomegranate juice, it can not be considered a “product with natural antioxidants.” And the manufacturers who write this on the juice packs are misleading the buyers.
Worth drink pomegranate juice
Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice is not much different from any other. Natural juices are considered a complete food for healthy people, including pregnant and lactating women, and when used properly, they do not cause harm.
But there are nuances:
- Sometimes people are allergic to pomegranate juice. And some people who drink more than one glass a day may experience stomachache and diarrhea.
- Every juice, including pomegranate juice, has much less soluble fiber than fresh fruit. This is important because soluble fiber slows down the absorption of free sugars, so natural juice has more calories than fresh fruit.
Sugar is usually added to industrial pomegranate juices in tetra packages and bottles. In order not to exceed the calories, it makes sense to treat the juice bought from the store like any other sweet drink: drink it no more than twice a week, one glass a day.
Therefore, if you are taking regular medication and at the same time you like pomegranate juice, you should ask your doctor it is compatible is with your medicines. And you can also find out by looking at the Medsafe website maintained by New Zealand doctors. They put together simple instructions that tell you which other medicines, supplements and foods are compatible with basic medicines prescribed to people around the world.
We wrote in detail about how to use the Medsafe website in the article “How dangerous is it to skip drugs?”.
New Zealand Drug Information is written in English and is called Consumer Medicine Information or CMI. You are interested in the section Effects of other medicines. It is true that in this section they do not always write about pomegranate juice. But if he says that the drug is incompatible with grapefruit juice, then you should not drink pomegranate either: both juices contain substances that can alter the effect of drugs.