The humble pomegranate is yet further proof of why the Mediterranean diet is being hailed as the healthiest diet in the world.
For many centuries these rather unexciting and overlooked looked fruit have grown on Fincas all around the Mediterranean area and have been a seasonal part of the diet just taken for granted. However recent research has uncovered some almost miraculous health benefits of pomegranates from which the people of the Mediterranean area have been unwittingly benefitting.
Firstly they have a marvelous ability to not only protect against atherosclerosis, i. e. the thickening of arterial walls which can cause heart attacks and strokes, but to actually reverse this thickening and thus return your arteries to a more youthful state. This is something that no drug on the market today is capable of.
Another health benefit of pomegranates is that they have the ability to lower blood pressure in addition to which they can effectively reduce your levels of bad cholesterol and help to increase levels of the good cholesterol.
One of the other health benefits of pomegranates will be of interest to men with problems of impotence as this is often caused by atherosclerosis as the resulting thickening of the blood vessels affects blood flow in all areas of the body. In fact it is not uncommon for narrowing of the arteries to only be diagnosed as a result of a man consulting his doctor over impotence problems. The exceptional effect that the powerful antioxidants found in pomegranates has is to improve blood flow in all areas of the body and thus dramatically lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and impotence.
Other recent research has uncovered evidence of the cancer protecting and even treating abilities of pomegranates, particularly in relation to prostate cancer although there is also some suggestion that the same benefits may extend to breast cancer. A substance in this remarkable fruit has been found to reduce the levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen, ) high levels of which are a marker of how well a patient has responded to conventional prostate cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy etc. One study of prostate cancer patients discovered that 80% of the men receiving pomegranate juice daily reduced they rate at which PSA increased dramatically. In addition there was a marked decrease in the proliferation of prostate cancer cells and an even greater increase in the rate of apoptosis, or cancer cell death.
Even in men without prostate cancer it is important to keep these PSA levels low as you age because their elevation is a precursor to cancer and can also contribute to benign prostate enlargement which affects many men as they age and causes much discomfort.
Although there has been no human research as yet into the protective action of pomegranates viz a viz breast cancer this type of cancer is akin in some ways to prostate cancer and certain in vitro studies have been very promising. With pomegranate extract inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis in the laboratory.
The general antioxidant effect of pomegranates is three times greater than that of either red wine or green tea and they should definitely be included in everyone's diet.
Pomegranates tend to have a fairly short season and do not store very well. However if you want to make the most of the health benefits of pomegranates all the year round then buy them when they are in season and therefore plentiful and cheap and freeze them.
The easiest way to prepare pomegranates for freezing is to cut them in half, immerse them in a deep bowl of water then break the segments apart prying out the seeds. The seeds will sink and the pith and skin will float. Skim this off the top and then strain the seeds, pat dry on a clean tea towel and freeze in polythene bags excluding the air. On defrosting pop them in your juicer. Alternatively you could juice them first and then freeze the juice.
Heart attacks and strokes are the number one killer for men and women alike in the western world so if you are only going to adopt one element of the healthy Mediterranean diet then I think this should definitely be top of your list. The incredible effect pomegranates can have on not only maintaining a healthy heart but their ability to even reverse some heart disease makes this so. No doubt as more research is done into the health benefits of pomegranates it will be found to have many other advantages.
Article submitted by Ruth Polak the owner of http://www.costadelsol-vacationrentals.com A web site specializing in holiday villas and apartments on the Costa del Sol and in Rural Andalucia. You will also find lots of information about Spain and Andalucia, in particular.