Pomegranate juice is often touted for its health benefits because, in some clinical studies, it has been shown to be of significant benefit, especially in the prevention of heart disease. An 8-ounce (236.5 ml) glass can contain about 40% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, although many brands available in stores contain little or none because it is destroyed during pasteurization. The juice may also include vitamins A, E, and folic acid, although again this depends on its source.
Further, pomegranate juice has excellent antioxidant properties. It has about three times more antioxidants ounce-for-ounce than does red wine or green tea. Many people also enjoy its rich taste, making it a welcome beverage.
Some research has shown that this juice may work as a blood thinner, and it may be an excellent agent for promoting blood flow to the heart. It also has been shown to reduce plaque in the arteries, and to raise “good” levels of cholesterol while helping lower “bad” cholesterol. This preliminary research suggests that the juice may be helpful in preventing heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Most medical professionals are quick to point out that consuming pomegranate products should be just one aspect of a healthy diet and exercise program. Alone, it would not cure or completely prevent heart disease.
Some research has also evaluated the antioxidant nature of pomegranate juice and its usefulness in fighting certain forms of cancer. The juice has been tentatively shown to reduce incidence of breast and skin cancer. It has also been tested and shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer in mice.
Another interesting study has evaluated pomegranate juice and osteoarthritis. The juice tends to act as an inhibitor on enzymes responsible for damaging cartilage. These studies applied extract of pomegranate directly onto damaged cartilage, however, and more research would have to examine a cause and effect relationship between oral ingestion and reduction in cartilage deterioration.
Early studies on pomegranate juice do suggest that it is healthy to drink. The fruit can be quite fun to eat as well. There are many pomegranate juice products available, many quite highly priced because of the health craze surrounding them. It is likely, if continued studies show promising health benefits, that more manufacturers will emerge and help ease prices through competition.