Pomegranate juice may improve blood flow to heart

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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LOS ANGELES — Men and women with coronary heart disease who drink one glass of pomegranate juice daily may improve blood flow to their heart, according to a new study published in the Sept. 16 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

The research is the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showing that pomegranate juice may affect the progression of coronary heart disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and in most of the world.

Researchers from the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, and California Pacific Medical Center studied patients with coronary heart disease who had reduced blood flow to the heart. These 45 patients were randomly assigned into one of two groups: one group who drank a glass of pomegranate juice each day (240 ml/day, which is approximately 8.5 oz/day) or to a placebo group, who drank a beverage of similar caloric content, amount, flavor and color.

After only three months, blood flow to the heart improved approximately 17% in the pomegranate juice group but worsened approximately 18% in the comparison group (i.e., a 35% relative between-group difference).

These differences were statistically significant. This benefit was observed without changes in cardiac medications or revascularization in either group. Also, there were no negative effects on lipids, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, body weight or blood pressure.

Pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenols and other naturally-occurring antioxidants. It demonstrates high capability in scavenging free radicals and inhibiting low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro and in vivo. Other studies have shown that pomegranate juice has a number of important health benefits.

"Although the sample in this study was relatively small, the strength of the design and the significant improvements in blood flow to the heart observed after only three months suggest that pomegranate juice may have important clinical benefits in those with coronary heart disease," said Dr. Dean Ornish, senior author, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and clinical professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. "Also, it may help to prevent it."

Pomegranate juice from POM Wonderful was used in this study.

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