Red pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and research shows that eating organic pomegranate seeds and drinking pomegranate juice can increase oxygen levels to the heart and significantly reduce oxidative stress.
Dates, which are rich sources of phenolic radical scavenger antioxidants, also inhibit the oxidation of LDL and stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells. They are also are rich in several vitamins, minerals and fiber and some specialists have even gone as far as saying that eating one date per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet.
But can consuming them together be a winning combination against heart disease? Yes, says researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They recently concluded that people at high risk for cardiovascular diseases as well as healthy people could benefit from consuming the combination of a half a glass of pomegranate juice four ounces together with three dates.
The findings published in Food & Function reveal that a number of risk factors are involved in the development of atherosclerosis. These include cholesterol oxidation, which leads to accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall. Natural antioxidants can slow down the oxidation process in the body and serve to reduce the risk of heart attack.
The team was led by Professor Michael Aviram of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center. For the past 25 years, Aviram and his team have worked on isolating and researching natural antioxidants to keep plaque buildup at bay. Going into the most recent study, the team was aware of the individual benefits provided by pomegranates and dates. In a trial performed on arterial cells in culture, as well as in atherosclerotic mice, the Technion team found that the triple combination of pomegranate juice, date fruits and date pits did indeed provide maximum protection against the development of atherosclerosis because the combination reduced oxidative stress in the arterial wall by 33% and decreased arterial cholesterol content by 28%.
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