Pomegranate plant is famously known for its fruit which is considered as one of the healthiest fruits on Earth. According to studies, it has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-viral properties as well as a good source of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E and folic acid. Its juice, oil, and peel were also found to possess anti-cancer activities. This amazing fruit was found to have three times as many antioxidants as both wine or green tea. Adding this fruit into our diet can help us lower our risks of several diseases.
Pomegranate Extracts And Breast Cancer Stem Cells
Several studies have shown that numerous plants contain powerful chemicals that can do what conventional cancer treatments cannot – that is to stop drug-resistant cancer stem cells.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) or cancer-initiating cells are found within tumors and are capable of self-renewal and transforming into any cell type. They are believed to play a critical role in cancer initiation, maintenance, progression, drug resistance, and cancer recurrence or metastasis. Experts have found that CSCs are not affected by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In fact, there were studies revealing that these treatments can even increase the number and malignancy of CSCs, which have the same DNA mutations as ordinary cancer cells but behave differently due to their stem cell-like nature.
Cancer stem cells have been the important targets of cancer therapy. Researchers from the University of Albany in New York have found that pomegranates extract has the ability to suppress cancer stem cells and can be used to prevent breast cancer.
For this study which was published in Nutrition and Cancer, American researchers reported that pomegranate extracts can reduce the formation of clumps of mammary glands cells which are the hallmark of breast cancer stem cells. They observed that the cells broke formation and became adherent cultures. This only means that the extract can cause cancer stem cells to differentiate into a specific mature cell type. Differentiation robs stem cells of their ability to proliferate rapidly and renew themselves. Moreover, the results of the study showed that the extract is capable of reducing the ability of breast cancer stem cells to migrate and the expression of genes involved in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT).
Due to these findings, experts concluded that these effects were mainly due to the anti-tumor activity of pomegranate and that it can be used in the prevention of breast cancer.
Pomegranate Nutrition Information
per 1 cup of pomegranate seeds (174 g)
- Calories: 144
- Protein: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Fiber: 6 g, 28% Daily Value (DV)
- Fat: 2 g
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 16% DV
- Potassium: 12% DV
- Manganese: 10% DV
- Vitamin K: 36% DV
- Vitamin C: 30% DV
Pomegranates also contain two unique substances that are responsible for most of its health benefits. These are punicalagins and punicic acid. Punicalagins are extremely potent antioxidants found in pomegranate juice and peel. On the other hand, punicic acid is the main fatty acid in pomegranate seed oil and is a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects.
Other Health Benefits Of Pomegranate
Helps Keep The Immune System Up
Pomegranates contain antioxidants as well as vitamin B, C, and K that can help our immune system regulate itself and fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Pomegranates have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even obesity.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the main cause of strokes and heart attacks. According to a study, consuming 150 ml of pomegranate juice daily for 2 weeks can help reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressures.
Can Help Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Pomegranate contains plant compounds that have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. It can fight off some types of bacteria that cause yeast infection and gum diseases. It has been found to be protective against gingivitis, periodontitis and denture stomatitis.
How To Add Pomegranate Into Our Diet?
1. Add pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime in sparkling water and sip throughout the day.
2. Add pomegranate to the cauliflower rice mixture of mint, parsley tomatoes, onions, scallions, lemon and olive oil, or mix and match with the pom and veggies.
3. In a pan with coconut oil, crisp up some collard greens as the outside of your wrap, and then stuff with quinoa or black rice and pomegranate seeds.
4. Add pomegranate seeds and some feta crumbles to your favorite veggie salad.