Eating unhealthy foods, smoking, physical inactivity, and drinking alcohol are just some of the unhealthy lifestyle habits that can contribute to the high incidence of cancer worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that cancer will account for more than 9.6 million deaths this year. Almost 70% of cancer-related mortality cases happen in low- and middle-income countries because of their limited access to conventional cancer treatments, which are very expensive.
Conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are often found to be ineffective and even contribute to the rise of resistant cancer cells that are hard to eliminate. Due to these, more and more researchers are now turning to nature with the hope of finding better remedies against cancer.
Pomegranate fruit is one of the natural products that was found to have potential use as alternative treatments for cancer. Through an in vivo study, researchers from Brazil were able to observe pomegranate’s anticancer properties. The Journal of Medicinal Plants published their findings, which include the potential systemic effects of pomegranate, which were not evaluated in previous in vitro studies.
Traditionally, pomegranate fruits have been used as a remedy for numerous health problems such as digestive disorders, arthritis, skin disorder, coughs, sore throats, and urinary tract infection. Using the current advancement in science, researchers were able to determine the bioactive compounds in the fruit that are potentially involved in these applications. They found that pomegranates are rich in tannins like ellagic acid, punicalagin, gallic acid, punicalin, and ellagic acid derivatives. There were also existing publications that attribute the healing, chemopreventive, antimicrobial, and antitumor effects of pomegranates to these compounds.
For the study, the researchers conducted an in vivo study involving mice that were transplanted with sarcoma tumor cells. The mice received either aqueous pomegranate extracts or 5-fluorouracil, which is a conventional cancer treatment. After eight days, both treatments were found to significantly increase the number of apoptotic cancer cells. This only indicates that pomegranates work against cancer by inducing programmed cell death, which will then signal immune cells to eliminate them without triggering an inflammatory response.
Moreover, the researchers also conducted hematological, biochemical, histopathological, and morphological analyses of the tumor and organs in order to determine if the treatments used in the study have unwanted toxic effects.
The mice treated with 5-fluorouracil were found to suffer from a loss in body weight, spleen atrophy, and a reduced number of white blood cells, which indicate toxic effects. On the other hand, pomegranate-treated mice did not exhibit any signs of toxicity, which proves that it is safe for use.
The researchers concluded that pomegranate extracts are effective against cancer and are much safer than conventional treatments.
Other Health Benefits Of Pomegranates
Are you now convinced that you should eat a pomegranate? If not, then here are some other health benefits that you can obtain from eating this superfood.
Promotes Wound Healing
Found in pomegranates are different nutrients that stimulate the regeneration of cells involved in wounds to speed up the healing process. Also, it was found to be effective in protecting the skin from damage caused by sun exposure.
Improves Heart Health
Pomegranates improve blood flow throughout the body by reducing inflammation of blood vessels and preventing the formation of cholesterol blocks that can hinder the passage of blood.
Boosts Immune Functions
Pomegranates have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that work great against pathogens that attack your immune system. According to studies, among all fruits with antimicrobial properties, pomegranates are the best in preventing HIV transmission.