Knowing the health effects of certain fruits can help you shop for your health. The antioxidants that pomegranate juice contains help to maintain your general well-being. Numerous studies also suggest that the nutrients contained in pomegranates can help to protect your brain from different forms of damage. Knowing how helpful pomegranate juice can be may give you the motivation to make pomegranate juice a permanent component of your diet.
In an article for the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, M.I. Gil and colleagues say that pomegranate juice contains high amounts of antioxidants. The commercial pomegranate juices that Gil and colleagues examined contained three times as many antioxidants as red wine and green tea. The concentration of antioxidants was higher in juices that were extracted from the entire pomegranate, rather than from only the flesh.
Antioxidants and Brain Function
According to an article from the Franklin Institute, "Maintaining the Oxygen Balance in Your Brain," antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells in your brain. Antioxidants also indirectly help you maintain healthy brain function by protecting your heart from free radicals. Elderly individuals with better cardiovascular health tend to have better memory because the brain relies on the cardiovascular system to function normally.
Protection from Alzheimer's Disease
According to neuroscientist Richard Hartman and colleagues in an article for the journal Neurobiology of Disease, pomegranate juice may reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease. Hartman and colleagues fed pomegranate juice to mice with symptoms that mimicked Alzheimer's disease. The mice who drank pomegranate juice learned how to navigate a water maze more quickly than mice who drank only sugar water. Hartman and colleagues attribute the better learning abilities in mice who drank pomegranate juice to the antioxidants that pomegranate juice contains.
In an article for the journal, Pediatric Research, D. J. Loren and colleagues say that pomegranate juice can protect the brains of infants if they are deprived of oxygen before birth. Loren and colleagues fed pomegranate juice to rats during the last trimester of pregnancy and while the newborn rats fed from their mothers. The rat pups from mothers that drank pomegranate juice showed less damaged brain tissue after being deprived of oxygen for 45 minutes. Loren and colleagues suggest that consuming pomegranate juice during pregnancy likely protects infants' brains.
Like most fruit, pomegranates contain high amounts of glucose. According to the United States Dietary Association website, your brain uses glucose for energy more than other nutrients. Since your body also converts glucose into energy extremely quickly, pomegranate juice can therefore give your brain a boost in energy first thing in the morning.
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Pomegranate Juice Concumption Reduces Oxidative Stress; Michael Aviram, Leslie Dornfeld, Mira Rosenblat, Nina Volkova, Marielle Kaplan, Raymond Coleman, Tony Hayek, Dita Presser and Bianca Fuhrman; May 2000
- Franklin Institute: Maintaining the Oxygen Balance in Your Brain
- "Neurobiology of Disease"; Pomegranate Juice Decreases Amyloid Load and Improves Behavior in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease; Richard E. Hartman et al.; September 2006
- "Pediatric Research"; Maternal Dietary Supplementation with Pomegranate Juice is Neuroprotective in an Animal Model of Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury; David J. Loren et al.; June 2005
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005: Chapter 7 Carbohydrates