Pomegranates are good for the heart, says new study

Los Angeles: Pomegranate juice is bursting with antioxidants which are good for the heart, scientists at the University of California have found.

The juice contains as many antioxidants as two glasses of red wine or ten glasses of green tea. It also contains vitamins A, C and E, and folic acid.

In the study doctors gave volunteers with heart disease, caused by fat, a 240ml glass of pomegranate juice a day. A second group was given a similarly coloured and flavoured placebo drink.

After three months, the pomegranate drinkers experienced a 17 per cent increase in blood flow to the heart. In the placebo group blood flow had worsened by around 18 per cent.

As a result those who drank the pomegranate juice were 35 per cent better off overall, according to a report about the study in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Dr Dean Ornish, of the University of California, who led the study, said: ‘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. Also, it may help to prevent it.’

The pomegranate originated in the region from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India. It has been cultivated across the entire Mediterranean since ancient times.

Today it is widely grown throughout India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaysia and tropical-Africa. One of the world’s oldest fruits, the pomegranate has been a symbol of fertility, death and eternity.