Simply put, pomegranate (Punica granatum Linn), is good for diabetes patient. Logically diabetics should stay away from most fruits or only eat fruit in small portions. However, pomegranates are an exception because studies have shown that their fruits, seeds, seed extract, and flowers may help control blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetics. Besides of lowering glucose levels, the potential benefits of pomegranate for diabetes also include preventing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
The pomegranate is a berry native to the Middle East. It can’t be eaten like an apple. The arils, simply the seed pod inside a pomegranate, are the only edible part of the fruit. A fruit contains about 600 seeds and their surrounding pulp inside. When it is consumed, a knife can be used to open it. After that, a bowl of water is recommended to separate the edible seeds from the inedible pulp since the former sinks while the latter floats. According to a report published in “Journal of Medicinal Food” in 2007, the researchers located antioxidant acids with anti-diabetic effects in this fruit. As an added bonus, it can increase levels of antioxidants in the blood by a whopping 141% increase, according to newspaper reports. That’s to say, it can help the body to scavenge free radicals before they can damage the cells.
The idea of using pomegranate juice for reducing the risk in diabetes isn’t new at all. While it has long been used as a diabetes treatment by Ayurvedic and Unani practitioners, a variety of modern studies have linked pomegranate with type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment over the last decade. So, what scientific research has found today is just adding more evidence to its antidiabetic effects.
It is generally known that a spike in blood sugar tends to occur in patients with diabetes if they consume fruits and juices in high quantities. So, why is pomegranate different from other fruits? When it comes to the potential mechanism, many researchers attribute all these things to the antioxidant activity of pomegranate. In particularly, the compounds called punicalagins and punicalins play a major role in this amazing antioxidant ability. Besides, it is worth mentioning that the sugars of this fruit are not in free form but attached to antioxidants. One study was ever conducted to determine the benefits of daily consumption of pomegranate juice for diabetics, and it had been shown to help the participants lower blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance 3 hours after the consumption. As an added bonus, pomegranate juice consumption also reduces oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and the body’s antioxidant defense system.
Thanks to a variety of active components contained, pomegranates have a role in type 2 diabetes. First, they reduce oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. Actually, pomegranate fractions affect diabetes mellitus type 2 mainly in this way. Second, the compounds, such as pomegranate peel extract, punicic acid, and methanolic seed extract, work together to lower fasting blood glucose levels. Third, uallic acids, punicalagin and ellagic, ursolic, gallic, oleanolic, and other components in pomegranates are known for their anti-diabetic actions too. Fourth, unique antioxidant polyphenols have been found in the juice sugar fraction too. The typical ones are tannins and anthocyanins.
Pomegranate extract reduced aortic sinus and coronary artery atherosclerosis in SR-BI/apoE dKO mice, according to a report Published in the journal Atherosclerosis. Hardening of the arteries refers to the buildup of plaque inside the arteries. As mentioned above, this is a factor in heart disease and stroke. Apparently, this is good news since pomegranate juice may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by helping clear clogged arteries. A recent study shows that it reduces blood vessel damage to prevent or even reverse the progression of atherosclerosis. And the researchers conclude that the main mechanism behind is to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, a gas naturally produced in the body and used to communicate between cells. By doing so, the consumption of pomegranate juice helps human blood vessel cells to get less side effects of stress.
So, how much pomegranate juice is enough for diabetes? However, there is no formulaic answer to this question. The recommended daily dose can be 50 ml, 8 to 10 oz, no more than one pomegranate, and so on. But one thing is certain – be sure to talk to a health practitioner before diabetic patients use it as an alternative treatment.