New research that is looking into the healing properties of pomegranate is underway at the University of Huddersfield, England. The fuchsia-colored fruit has been known to help with many different health conditions, and the newest data also connects it with slowing down inflammation which contributes to the destruction of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

Punicalagin is a chemical compound that is found in pomegranate fruit. It is a polyphenol, which is an antioxidant that prevents cell proliferation and invasion, and causes cell death in some types of cancer. The English research group, led by Dr. Olumayokun Olajide, looked at punicalagin’s potential to inhibit inflammation in brain cells, and other cells of the body. During their experiment, the team isolated rat’s brain cells, and examined the effect the chemical had on the cells. They came to the conclusion that pomegranate’s polyphenol can slow inflammation in specialized brain cells known as microglia.

Previous research has shown that inflammation of the brain cells makes Alzheimer’s and others types of dementia and neuro-degenerative disease (such as Parkinson’s) progressively worse, as more cells die off. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who suffer from the inflammation in their joints could also benefit from the latest findings. Punicalagin could not cure the disease, but could prevent it, or slow down its development.

Dr. Olajide notes that most of the antioxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate, not in the soft part of the fruit, so the peel may be a source of drugs in the future. But still a glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries. Consuming it on a regular basis has many health benefits. It has been associated with heart disease prevention, it lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, and possibly even slows prostate cancer growth. The latter is due to its antioxidant activity, which plays an important role in DNA repair and damage prevention. American Institute of Cancer Research suggests including pomegranate juice into your daily balanced diet.

Dr. Olajide is now working on establishing the amounts of pomegranate that are required, in order to be effective in disease prevention, specifically in curbing neuro-inflammation related to dementia. He recommends drinking juice products that are 100% pomegranate, meaning that approximately 3.4% will be the powerful punicalagin. The research group is aiming to produce compound derivatives of punicalagin, which could be used as a basis for a drug that would fight neuro-inflammation.

Some advise consuming pomegranate as a whole, and not just in the form of fruit juices. This will ensure that you also load up on fiber, and at the same time cut down on fructose, which is found in high levels in many fruit juices. If you cut pomegranate in half, you will see it’s full of juice-filled seed sacs called arils. Arils are what you want to eat and enjoy. You can eat it as a snack, or sprinkle it over other dishes and salads. Not only does it taste delicious, now you know that is will also help you preserve your memory and health.

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