A growing health concern among Americans, diabetes directly affects the way the body regulates blood sugar and can eventually increase one's risk of cardiovascular disease. As the number of people with diabetes increases, researchers are looking for natural ways to both prevent and treat the disease. One thing they've found to be effective: pomegranates. This antioxidant-rich fruit can regulate blood sugar and reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. Ayurvedic practitioners have long been using pomegranates to treat diabetes, and they're now finding support from breakthrough scientific research.
The glistening seeds of the pomegranate are an irresistible treat for many of us. Several studies now show that diabetics certainly shouldn’t have to resist this fruit! Typically, diabetics are advised to avoid consuming fruits and juices in high quantities as they can cause a spike in blood sugar. But this isn’t true for all fruits. The pomegranate (both its seeds and juice) has been shown to greatly reduce blood sugar, an especially vital function for those with type 2 diabetes.
Ayurvedic and Unani practitioners have long been using pomegranates to treat diabetes, and they’re now finding support from breakthrough scientific research. One particular study tested participants three hours after consuming pomegranate juice in predetermined doses. These participants exhibited reduced insulin resistance and a significant drop in glucose levels.1
Unlike many other fruits that contain sugars in free form, pomegranates consist of sugars that are attached to antioxidants. Of these, about four antioxidant compounds belonging to the ellagitannin class are believed to help reduce blood sugar. These antioxidants also reduce the high oxidative stress the body faces in diabetes.2 One study found that compounds such as punicalagin and gallic, ellagic, oleanolic, uallic, and ursolic acids in pomegranate have anti-diabetic effects. Antioxidant polyphenols such as tannins and anthocyanins found in the juice were also found to be effective in controlling type 2 diabetes.3
There’s another positive angle to eating pomegranates: their antioxidants also help prevent the hardening of arteries, a disease known as atherosclerosis.4 Atherosclerosis, as well as associated conditions such as heart disease and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death in diabetics. Pomegranates can help reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body, a major culprit in the onset of heart disease.5
Because diabetes has become such a major epidemic, it’s crucial to consider alternative treatments. As proven here, pomegranates are a wonderful addition to any diabetic’s diet. Various other plants and plant derivatives – including tulsi, fenugreek, garlic, and jamun – have been used for centuries to control diabetes and are only now getting the research and support they deserve.6 While all these plants function a little differently, most of them work by inhibiting the action of enzymes that aid in the quick digestion of carbohydrates.7 This is in contrast to pomegranates, which actually work by inhibiting the oxidative stress caused by diabetes.8
Of course, anytime you’re looking at natural alternatives, it’s important to discuss these options with your health practitioner first.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Banihani, S. A., S. M. Makahleh, Z. El-Akawi, R. A. Al-Fashtaki, O. F. Khabour, M. Y. Gharibeh, N. A. Saadah, F. H. Al-Hashimi, and N. J. Al-Khasieb. “Fresh pomegranate juice ameliorates insulin resistance, enhances β-cell function, and decreases fasting serum glucose in type 2 diabetic patients.” Nutrition Research 34, no. 10 (2014): 862-867.|
|2, 5, 8.||↑||Rosenblat, Mira, Tony Hayek, and Michael Aviram. “Anti-oxidative effects of pomegranate juice (PJ) consumption by diabetic patients on serum and on macrophages.” Atherosclerosis 187, no. 2 (2006): 363-371.|
|3.||↑||Banihani, Saleem, Samer Swedan, and Ziyad Alguraan. “Pomegranate and type 2 diabetes.” Nutrition research 33, no. 5 (2013): 341-348.|
|4.||↑||Aviram, Michael, and Leslie Dornfeld. “Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure.” Atherosclerosis 158, no. 1 (2001): 195-198.|
|6.||↑||Modak, Manisha, Priyanjali Dixit, Jayant Londhe, Saroj Ghaskadbi, and Thomas Paul A. Devasagayam. “Indian herbs and herbal drugs used for the treatment of diabetes.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition 40, no. 3 (2007): 163-173.|
|7.||↑||Tundis, R., M. R. Loizzo, and F. Menichini. “Natural products as α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibitors and their hypoglycaemic potential in the treatment of diabetes: an update.” Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry 10, no. 4 (2010): 315-331.|