Although pomegranates are world-renown for their beauty, taste and religious inspiration, we love them the most for their powerful health benefits. Contained in their ruby seeds are antioxidants that combat free radicals—an important part supporting of cardiovascular health and fighting visible signs of aging.
Pomegranates contain four different polyphenols, or plant-based chemical compounds: ellagic acid, gallic acid, anthocyanins and punicalagin. Punicalagin is especially closely associated with this terrific fruit—its name comes from the scientific appellation for pomegranates: Punica granatum. Although this polyphenol has been uncovered in other plants, pomegranates have the highest concentration of this amazing compound. Studies have shown that punicalagin has antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Punicalagin is very bioavailable, meaning that the body has very little trouble breaking it down and using it beneficially. As an antioxidant, punicalagin’s presence works to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are seeking a bonding partner; in that quest, they can damage the body’s cells.
Punicalagin, like other antioxidants, attaches to free radicals, keeping more cells out of harm’s way. Research into this compound has shown that it supports healthy blood pressure and may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Known commonly as the “bad” cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels as sticky plaque. Plaque narrows the blood vessels and restricts blood flow through them, which can lead to cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart attack.
Pomegranate juice or pomegranate concentrate, with punicalagin as a core element, has been shown to protect cells from being damaged by UV radiation. This is good news for everyone! Sunshine, as lovely as it can be, does emit radiation. (Sunscreen does a fine job of protecting the skin, but it’s hard to be 100% vigilant about fully covering all exposed areas.)
Punicalagin and pomegranates can support your health in so many ways—is it a part of your healthy routine?