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6. The Pomegranate Diet

Newman Ph.D., Robert A. Basic Health Publications ePub

O

ver one billion adults across the globe are overweight. Some 300 million of those adults are obese. Both overweight and obesity are concerns that go far beyond any issue of fashion or beauty, as both increase the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.

Before delving into the uses of pomegranate in the quest for slimming, it might be helpful to clarify the definitions of overweight and obesity. A measurement called the Body Mass Index (BMI) is most commonly used to determine whether a person is incurring increased health risk due to his or her weight. To figure out your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared, then multiply by 703:

Lets say you weigh 160 pounds and youre 58 inches tall. First, multiply 58 times 58 to get 3,364. Then, divide 160 by 3,364 to get 0.0476, and then multiply that number by 703 to get 33.5. That number is your BMI.

If your BMI is 18.5 or less, consider yourself underweight; if it is between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is well within normal, healthy ranges. At a BMI between 25 and 29.9, you are considered overweight; 30 to 39.9, obese; 40 or greater, extremely obese. Beyond a BMI of 25, your body begins to undergo changes that predispose you to disease and premature agingand these processes are linked to overweight and obesity by those important common denominators, inflammation and oxidation.

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3. Women’s Health

Newman Ph.D., Robert A. Basic Health Publications ePub

S

ome Biblical scholars insist that the fruit from which Eve took the first forbidden bite was not the apple, but the pomegranate. While the forbidden fruit has symbolized the source of human troubles, today the lovely pomegranate is recognized as a source of numerous benefits specific to women.

Recent research suggests that the pomegranate, rich in flavonoids, may be effective at treating and possibly preventing breast cancer. Moreover, this fruit may help with the depression and bone loss associated with menopause. Phytoestrogens from pomegranate seeds have been shown to reduce some of the symptoms of menopause through gentle, mild stimulation of estrogen receptorshormone receptors that, following menopause, lose effectiveness.

Pomegranate Phytoestrogens

Pomegranate seeds, the white interior of the juicy arils, are 18 percent oil. Once that oil is extracted, seed cake remains. Seed cake contains bioactive plant chemicals, including lignins and polysaccharides, from which the cell walls of the seeds are built. It is the main repository of the plants phytoestrogenic compounds. Lignans are phytoestrogenic (estrogen-like compounds found in certain plant foods) and appear to have cancer-preventive properties, particularly in women. These compounds may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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4. Men’s Health

Newman Ph.D., Robert A. Basic Health Publications ePub

W

eve established that the pomegranate has much to offer women and, as so often turns out, whats good for the goose is sauce for the gander. Men can also turn to the pomegranate for help with gender-specific conditions.

Awareness of male prostate health is at an all-time high, thanks to numerous high-profile males speaking openly about their prostate conditions. Erectile dysfunction, once a private and discreet discussion between a man and his doctor, has now become a high-profile item on the American advertising agenda, due in no small part to a new fascination with pharmaceuticals touted for countering this condition. Yet, the appeal of such items has been perennial; aphrodisiacs and performance enhancers being both ancient and universal.

Nowadays, studies show that pomegranate juice can slow the progression of prostate cancer, and its potent, anti-inflammatory antioxidants aid in preventing or relieving symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Furthermore, the fruit also has been shown to improve penile blood flow and erectile response.

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8. Today’s Best Pomegranate Products and Supplements

Newman Ph.D., Robert A. Basic Health Publications ePub

T

he pomegranateconsidered an exotic fruit not too long agohas indeed gone mainstream, popping up in juices, dressings, martinis, Frappuccinos, extracts, nutritional supplements, body lotions, and delectable dishes. Its long history of medicinal use, its many mentions in religious and spiritual texts, and a growing body of scientific research all collude to illuminate its role in promoting better health.

Now youve seen how this fruits distinct qualities, phytochemicals, and phytohormones help your metabolic and endocrine systems to normalize. Its antioxidants seem to alleviate some of the less exhilarating changes through which aging exteriors often go. Women are finding the pomegranate useful for menopausal complaints and for the prevention of breast cancer. Men are turning to the fruit for help in their quest for better prostate health and natural function. And those concerned with their heart health are discovering that the pomegranate shows promise against cardiovascular ailments. So, why and how is this popular fruit so effective for many conditions affecting men and women, young and old?

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2. A Pleitrope by Any Other Name

Newman Ph.D., Robert A. Basic Health Publications ePub

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leiotrope refers to any product affecting multiple changes. We use the word here in the sense of a medicine that affects multiple phyisiological improvements. (In medicine, pleiotrope generally refers to a genetic change which affects a wide range of physiological alterations.)

Since Ayurveda of India, one of the oldest medical systems, considers the pomegranate to be a pharmacy unto itself, pleiotrope is a suitable word to apply to the pomegranate. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the juice is a powerful aid in lowering fevers, its bright red color reflecting its reputation as a blood tonic. In ancient Greek medicine, pomegranate flowers were regarded as a treatment for diabetes. Even the roots and bark of the tree were used to treat infections caused by worms and related parasites. The leather-like peels of the fruits are boiled by folk healers around the world into tannin-rich potions used to staunch bleeding, check dysentery, and heal ulcers.

By the sixteenth century, the Royal College of Medicine in Great Britain had already assigned the pomegranate a spot in its coat of arms. This fruits medicinal value has been appreciated as far back as ancient Greece, during which timeagain, according to Langleys articlefamed physician Dioscorides wrote: All sorts of pomegranates are of a pleasant taste and good for your stomach . . . the juice of the kernels pressed out, being . . . mixed with honey, are good for the ulcers that are in your mouth and in your genitals . . . also for . . . ulcers, pains of the ears, and for . . . griefs in the nostrils . . . decoction of the flowers [helps] moist flagging gums and loose teeth . . . the rind having a binding faculty . . . decoction of the roots doth expel and kill [parasites]. Although knowledge about the pomegranate is more scientific today, Dioscorides was unquestionably right about many of pomegranates healing effects.

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