Researchers praise the pomegranate

PomegranatePomegranates, so plentiful in Portugal at this time of year, have been found to help strengthen the body’s arteries, protecting the heart from high cholesterol in the diet.

Researchers for the first time studied the effects of pills containing pomegranate supplements on the circulation of pigs, which have cardiovascular systems similar to humans.

Diets high in cholesterol damaged the pigs’ blood vessels and their linings which releases substances to control the expansion and contraction of the vessels.

The damage can lead to hardening the arteries which contributes to heart attacks and strokes.

A daily dose of the pomegranate supplement cancelled out many of the effects.  The findings were presented to the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

Previous research found that pomegranate juice helped to lower blood pressure by reducing the stress hormones made in the body.

Yet another study revealed that a glass of pomegranate juice a day improved blood flow to the heart by more than one-third for people whose arteries had already clogged with cholesterol.

The pomegranate is one of the oldest cultivated fruits.  Some historians believe that it was the ‘forbidden fruit’ in the Garden of Eden rather than the apple.

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