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Pomegranate: The Healthiest Fruit for Men
Most fruits are beneficial for men and women, but the pomegranate offers numerous benefits that a particularly beneficial for men. Find out more about the benefits below.
Fruits come into and fall out of favor all the time, but despite their short-lived trendiness, some fruits definitely have more health benefits than others. Pomegranate is one of these fruits. Pomegranates are healthy for both men and women, but they have a few extra health benefits that make them particularly suited for boosting men’s health.
All in all, pomegranates can provide over seven health benefits that directly affect men. Find out more about this manly fruit below:
Pomegranates grow from a shrub and are actually classified as a berry. The seeds, and the juice surrounding the seeds, are the only part of the pomegranate that is edible. The seeds are called arils, but there are few people who will object if you just call them “seeds.”
One pomegranate contains the following nutrients:
Pomegranates contain a lot of nutrients (notably a lot of protein, vitamin K, and potassium), but many other fruits contain vitamins, and some even contain more. What makes pomegranates so much healthier for men is the high concentration of medicinal plant compounds the fruit possesses. Pomegranates contain two notable plant compounds:
This strange-sounding compound is an antioxidant that is present in the juice of pomegranates. This form of antioxidant is more powerful than the antioxidants found in other fruits. A study from the University of California in 2000 found that when compared with red wine and green tea, the antioxidant properties of pomegranate was about three times higher than either red wine or green tea.
Pomegranates aren’t known for being a source of fat, but they do contain one fatty acid known as punicic acid (usually called pomegranate seed oil). Punicic acid is a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA fats are found usually in animal products, so its presence in a fruit is a little surprising.
Strangely, the presence of this fat in the diet (when it comes from natural sources) has been linked with weight loss. A study published in the journal Lipids in 1997 found that when mice were given supplements of natural CLA fats from corn, the CLA group had 60 percent lower fat and 14 increased lean muscle mass over the control group that did not get extra CLA fats.
Pomegranates have many health benefits that affect both women and men, but some studies specifically conducted on men found that pomegranates can have particular benefit on health risks associated at higher rates in men, such as prostate cancer and prostate problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and exercise ability.
Men are diagnosed with prostate cancer more often than any other type of cancer. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer and other prostate problems is typically measured by how fast the prostate specific antigens (PSAs) spread in the bloodstream. Numerous studies have been conducted on men and how pomegranate reduces the risk for developing prostate cancer.
A study conducted by University of Medical Sciences in 2012 examined the ability of pomegranate extract to slow the growth and expansion of cancer cells. In this particular study, the researchers used a strain of pomegranate native to Iran. The researchers found that when pomegranate was introduced to cancer cells, it suppressed the growth of the prostate cancer cells. Pomegranate was also able to encourage the cell death of some prostate cancer cells.
In a clinical trial published in 2006 and published in Clinical Cancer Research, the researchers tested the ability of pomegranate juice on the prostate health of men. The men in the study had previously been treated for prostate cancer, but still had rising PSA levels. The researchers had the men drink 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily. The PSA levels of the men were tested to see how long it took for them to double.
At the start of the study, it took an average of 15 months for the men’s PSA levels to double, but by the end of the study, it took 54 months for the PSA levels to double. The men also had a 12 percent decrease in cancer cell spread and a 17 percent increase in prostate cancer cell death and showed less oxidative stress overall at the end of the study.
Today, more men die from heart disease than many other diseases. It is the number one cause of premature death worldwide. Several studies have suggested that the presence of punicic acid in pomegranate could help reduce the risk of heart disease. In several studies, pomegranate was shown to help reduce triglycerides and cholesterol.
More than simply lowering cholesterol levels however, pomegranate appears to be able to reduce the original causation of cholesterol production rather than simply reduce the symptoms of cholesterol rather than addressing the cause.
A 2013 study published in Atherosclerosis found that in mice, a daily dose of pomegranate extract was able to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body (which is what causes cholesterol). By doing this, cholesterol levels dropped naturally.
Another benefit of the compounds on pomegranate is their ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is behind many common health problems, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Even Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer have been linked with inflammation in the body.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences in 2014 experimented with giving pomegranate juice to patients with type 2 diabetes to see if inflammation in these patients was reduced. The study participants were part of a randomized, double-blind study with 50 total participants. The participants drank pomegranate juice or a control juice for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, the group drinking real pomegranate juice had reduced inflammatory markers of interleukin-6 by 30 percent and reduced CRP by 32 percent.
Many men suffer from arthritis and joint pain (often in joints injured when they were younger). Inflammation is often connected with arthritis, so it make sense that reducing total body inflammation would reduce some joint pain. What makes pomegranate even more interesting, however, is that in some studies, pomegranate has been found to reduce joint damage caused by osteoarthritis.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that taking a dose of pomegranate extract was able to reduce the damaging effects of osteoarthritis on joints. The study authors stated, “… these novel results indicate that PFE (Pomegranate fruit extract) or compounds derived from it may inhibit cartilage degradation in OA and may also be a useful nutritive supplement for maintaining joint integrity and function.”
Just like pomegranate juice and extract has been shown to fight heart disease, it also fights high blood pressure. Inflammation, heart disease, and high blood pressure are all closely related and stem from too much inflammation in the blood in many cases. Numerous studies have found that drinking about 5 ounces or so of pomegranate juice daily for just a few weeks could significantly reduce high blood pressure.
The biggest effects are seen on systolic blood pressure (the higher number), as shown in a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2011. In this study, results were seen in as little as two weeks.
According to numerous studies, oxidative damage in the body not only causes serious health issues such as cancer and heart disease, but it can also damage erectile tissue. A few studies have been conducted on men with erectile dysfunction to see if pomegranate could reduce the symptoms of ED. A study on rabbits found that supplementing with pomegranate juice was able to improve erectile response in rabbits.
A study from 2007 published by the International Journal of Impotence Research examined the effects of pomegranate juice on 53 men with erectile dysfunction. The men showed some improvement after drinking pomegranate juice in two separate four-week trials versus men who only consumed the control beverage. The researchers noted, “Subjects were more likely to have improved scores when pomegranate juice was consumed,” however, in this small of a study the results were not considered statically significant. Larger studies are necessary to prove this connection.
According to nutritionists, pomegranates are rich in dietary nitrates. A study from 2013 published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that these vegetable and plant nitrates have benefits for “…reducing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, preserving or improving endothelial dysfunction, enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals and patients with peripheral arterial disease.”
This means that during exercise, circulation is improved, blood flow is more efficient, and it takes longer for the body to wear out. In one study from 2014, athletes were given 1 gram of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before exercising. While they exercised, all athletes had improved blood flow.
Pomegranate is not the only supplement linked to improved prostate function. Several other supplements have also been scientifically proven to boost prostate health and reduce the risk for developing prostate cancer. Healthline.com and Web MD recommend the following supplements for any man suffering from prostate issues:
In addition to supplements, studies show that regular exercise, a healthy diet, and frequent sexual activity protect the health of the prostate gland.
Although no fruits are really “men’s” or “women’s” there are many nutrients in pomegranates that makes this tropical fruit particularly beneficial for men. With a little bit of pomegranate juice consumed daily, men can boost their prostate health, reduce risk of heart disease, reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes, exercise better, and reduce total inflammation. The pomegranate is a powerful tool that has many benefits. If you are suffering from an enlarged prostate or other prostate issues, try combining a daily dose of pomegranate with some of the other supplements and natural remedies for prostate health outlined here. You may be surprised at how quickly you see positive results.
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