A team of researchers in Iran and Australia conducted the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to determine the effect of pomegranate extract on plasma inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers, as well as serum metabolic profiles, in overweight and obese individuals.
Obesity has been linked to various health complications, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, gallbladder disease, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and other breathing problems, arthritis, infertility, and certain cancers like breast, colon, and endometrial cancers.
To carry out the study, the research team recruited 48 obese and overweight individuals, then divided them into two groups: one treatment and one control group. Participants assigned to the treatment group consumed 1000 milligrams (mg) of pomegranate extract every day for a period of 30 days, while the control group received a placebo.
The research team measured the anthropometric parameters, dietary intake, plasma concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA), interleukin-6, and hyper sensitive-C reactive protein, as well as levels of serum lipids, glucose, and insulin at the beginning and end of the intervention period.
The results of the pomegranate extract supplementation of 30 days led to a significant reduction in serum glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. In addition, it reduced plasma MDA, IL-6, and hyper sensitive-C reactive protein. Moreover, the treatment group exhibited an increase in the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased after taking pomegranate extract. (Related: Pomegranate extract found to help mitigate the effects of a high fat diet; when combined with inulin, it also lowers cholesterol.)
With these findings, the researchers concluded that taking pomegranate extract for 30 days may help lower the risk of complications related to obesity.
Pomegranate and its other health benefits
A pomegranate fruit is round in shape and is covered in a hard, shiny red-yellow skin. When you split it in half, you will see its jewel-like inner seeds, which can be eaten raw or juiced. These pomegranate seeds are known as arils. Studies have shown that pomegranate provides many health benefits:
- It is nutritious: Pomegranate offers good amounts of fibers, vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, and some B vitamins, as well as minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and iron. It contains two compounds called punicalagins and punic acid, which are responsible for most of the health benefits of pomegranate. Its antioxidant activity is three times more powerful than that of red wine and green tea.
- It is good for the bones: Several animal studies have shown that pomegranate consumption can protect against bone loss.
- It can boost athletic performance: Research has shown that consumption of pomegranate or pomegranate juice may enhance endurance and aerobic performance in athletes. Another study also revealed that ingestion of pomegranate extract boosted performance for sports involving intermittent running within 30 minutes.
- It may have anti-inflammatory properties: Various studies have shown that pomegranate, pomegranate seed oil, and pomegranate juice may have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce markers of inflammation.
- It is good for the memory: Pomegranate and its juice may improve cognitive function, according to some studies.
When selecting pomegranates, look for those that have shiny and unblemished skin, and those that feel heavy for their size. Typically, these pomegranates are the juiciest. For those who are using medications for high blood pressure and statins, be cautious when consuming pomegranate and its juice, as they may interact with these medications.
Read more news stories and studies on the health benefits of pomegranate by going to Superfoods.news.