By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
Pomegranates have been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years as a way to better your health.
People have used the leaves, tree bark, flowers, and juice as a way to control symptoms associated with diarrhea, acidosis, hemorrhage, and acute microbial infections.
In fact, it has been shown that pomegranates, due to the high levels of polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanin, and tannins, could possess powerful health-related benefits.
According to some research, these powerful molecules found in pomegranates have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and even anti-tumor effects.
Plus, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, pomegranates could play a powerful role in curbing obesity.
Let me explain…
Pomegranates and Obesity
Obesity has quickly become a global threat that has the health of the world’s population backtracking, trying to curb the obesity epidemic.
In fact, there are more people classified as overweight or obese than ever before.
One method for slowing the rise, research shows, is through altering dietary patterns and making smarter choice when it comes to what is going into your mouth.
Including the right mix of fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of grass-fed beef, poultry, fish, and chicken, and ingesting healthy fats, are just some of the ways that you can prevent or slow obesity.
Now, however, research is showing that including pomegranates into your daily routine could slow weight gain and help lower cholesterol.
The purpose of this study was to see the mechanism that pomegranates have in preventing weight gain.
They used both female and male obese mice, and separated them into two groups: one group consumed a high-fat diet (which was used to raise obesity levels of the mice) until they were 20% higher than the normal diet group, the other groups was a normal (placebo) group.
After the mice reached their weight, the researchers closely monitored food intake.
They also took baseline measurements of body weight, adipose pad weight, serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and HDL (good) cholesterol.
Once they were 20% higher, the obese group was administered 400 or 800 mg/kg/day of pomegranate flower extract.
They also wanted to look at dietary fat absorption.
They administered 800 mg/kg/day in combination with a fat (lipid) mixture. They analyzed triglyceride levels at one, two, three, four and six hours after treatment.
The researchers showed the group administered pomegranate flower extract showed a significant decrease in body weight, energy intake, and lower adipose pad weight.
Also, they rats showed that the rats given the pomegranate flower extract showed a decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol/HDL ratio.
The ratio between total cholesterol and HDL is an important indicator of your risk for developing heart disease. A higher number could indicate an increased risk.
They noted that the pomegranate extract group had a slower rise in serum triglycerides, plus a decreased absorption by the intestines of dietary fat.
From their results, the researchers concluded that pomegranate flower extract could inhibit the development of obesity and hyperlipidemia in high-fat fed, diet induced, obese mice.
They also concluded that this change could be partially mediated by inhibiting pancreatic lipase, which could decrease energy intake.
Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme that is released by the pancreas and has been shown to breakdown dietary fats into monoglycerides and free fatty acids. Decreasing pancreatic lipase, some studies suggest, could result in more fat being excreted by the body, which may mean less fatty acids are able to be stored.
Amazing Power of the Pomegranate Fruit
Pomegranates have been used for many years as a way to control diarrhea symptoms, hemorrhage, and even acidosis.
Now, however, the pomegranate has been shown to also possess anti-obesity effects by suppressing your desire to eat and inhibiting a powerful enzyme from being released from your pancreas.
Many people only include the juice of the pomegranate, but it has been shown that you can use all parts of the plant including the flowers, tree bark, and the leaves.
Although this research still needs to be verified, including pomegranates could be an easy preventative way to slow weight gain and lower negative blood markers associated with heart disease.
NEXT: Learn Even More Reasons Why The Pomegranate Is So Important To Your Health >>
Al-Muammar, MN. Khan, F. Obesity: The preventative role of the pomegranate (Punica granatum). Nutrition. 2012. [Epub ahead of print] Lei, F. Zhang, XN. Wang, W. Xing, DM. Xie, WD. Su, H. Du, LJ. Evidence of anti-obesity effects of the pomegranate leaf extract in high-fat diet induced obese mice. International Journal of Obesity. 2007. Vol. 31:pp. 1023-1029. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803502.