Juicing. Everyone is doing it. Kale, spinach, cucumber, orange, apple, carrot, beetroot…the list goes on. Well new research, published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal, suggests you may have a good reason to add pomegranate to your juicing list.
Pomegranate is chock full of polyphenols, giving it high antioxidant capability. As such, this colourful fruit has been widely investigated for its protective effects on heart and blood pressure. It’s these polyphenols that are thought to give pomegranate - and other delicious treats, including red wine, cocoa and tea - their heart helping benefits.
Pomegranate for blood pressure study
Researchers were curious about this punchy little fruit and set out to investigate the effects of drinking pomegranate juice on blood pressure. To do this, they systematically collated and analysed the results of available *randomised controlled trials.
Data from eight trials were synthesised. Study researchers found that those people who regularly consumed pomegranate juice had significant reductions in blood pressure. The effect on systolic blood pressure was evident regardless of dose or duration (greater than or less than 12‑weeks). And doses greater than 1 cup (~240mL) resulted in small reductions in diastolic blood pressure.
Overall, study results suggest a benefit of drinking pomegranate juice in a heart-healthy diet.
Systolic? Diastolic? What’s the difference?
Blood pressure is expressed as a measurement with two numbers; 120/80, for example. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart.
The top number – called systolic pressure - refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts. The bottom number - called diastolic pressure - refers to your blood pressure when your heart is between beats.
5 ways to enjoy pomegranates
1. Pomegranate seeds are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. Sprinkle them in salads or as a garnish for desserts
2. Top cereal or oatmeal with pomegranate seeds to add crunch and flavour
3. Pomegranates add colour and texture to any cheese platter
4. Marinate chicken or pork in the seeds and juice for a tangy kick
5. Separating the seeds from the white pulp can be made easier in a bowl of water because the seeks sink, while the pulp floats. Easy.
*A randomised controlled trial (RCT) is considered the gold standard of clinical trials and is used to test the effectiveness of an intervention, or treatment. In randomised controlled studies people are randomly (by chance alone) allocated to receive one of several treatments (e.g. drinking pomegranate juice). One of these treatments is the control, or standard comparison (e.g. a placebo (‘sugar pill’), no intervention at all or standard practice).
Dr Suzanne Pearson PhD, MNutrDiet, APD, BSc (Hons) is the Global Scientific Affairs Manager at Swisse Wellness