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Pomegranate juice: All hype or anti-cancer powerhouse?

February 11, 2013 Pat Killingsworth 2 Comments

With so many nutritional anti-cancer claims floating around, I wanted to share this honest overview from Canadian Dietitian, Leslie Beck.  Lets discuss on the other side:

Can pomegranate juice really prevent cancer?

LESLIE BECK

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012

The question

I’ve heard that pomegranate juice can help prevent cancer. Is this true? Should I add it to my diet?

The answer

Pomegranate juice has been hyped to do many things: fight cancer, increase fertility, boost sex drive, reduce erectile dysfunction, stave off heart disease, even guard against Alzheimer’s disease.

The potential health benefits of pomegranate juice are attributed to antioxidants called polyphenols. (Antioxidants are thought to guard against free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules in the body that can damage cells.) The antioxidants in pomegranate juice have been shown to be as potent – or more – than blueberries, purple grape juice and green tea.

The truth is, there’s flimsy evidence that pomegranate juice lives up to any of these claims, at least in humans. Pomegranate juice has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast and lung cancer cells in the lab, but it remains to be seen if drinking the juice will kill cancer cells in people.

Preliminary research has found that after treatment for prostate cancer, the length of time it took for PSA (prostate-specific antigen) to double was significantly longer in men who drank 1 cup of pomegranate juice (POM Wonderful) daily for up to two years. (Studies have shown that a rapid PSA doubling time may signal a quickly growing cancer.) But this finding is based on a very small number of people. It’s too soon to say drinking pomegranate juice treats prostate cancer.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agrees. Earlier this year, the FTC concluded that POM Wonderful engaged in exaggerated and deceptive advertising with insufficient evidence to show that the juice treats or prevents prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean pomegranate juice isn’t a healthy addition to your diet. Just don’t expect it to fight off cancer. For that matter, what fruit juice could prevent cancer, or any chronic disease, on its own?

Pomegranate juice is an excellent source of antioxidants. And if you buy 100 per cent pomegranate juice, you’re avoiding added sugars. However, I don’t recommend drinking more than one serving a day (that goes for fruit juice in general) since it’s a concentrated source of calories. One cup (8 ounces) of 100-per-cent pomegranate juice has 150 calories (one cup of orange juice has 112).

Instead of juice, add fresh pomegranate to your diet since the fruit is now in season. The seeds inside a pomegranate are packed with antioxidants and deliver fibre, vitamins C and K, and potassium. One half cup of pomegranate seeds – equivalent to one fruit serving – delivers 72 calories.

Add pomegranate seeds to yogurt, hot cereal, whole-grain pilafs, and muffin and pancake batters. Or enjoy them on their own, right out of the fruit.

Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is the national director of nutrition at BodyScience Medical. She can be seen every Thursday at noon on CTV News Channel’sDirect (www.lesliebeck.com).

Here’s the thing.  I’m a stronger proponent of pomegranate than Leslie.  However, the whole “sugar feeds cancer” thing rears it’s ugly head here, too.  Most pom juice one would purchase at the grocery store has sugar or artificial sweetener added–both something cancer survivors should avoid whenever possible.  So I’m glad Leslie recommended eating fresh pom seeds, instead.

Love fruit juice?  You could do a lot worse than pomegranate!  Just make sure it is 100% pom with no sugar added.

I strongly believe that eating a diet filled with a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables can help us fight-off cancer.  Every little bit helps, right?

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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2 Comments → “Pomegranate juice: All hype or anti-cancer powerhouse?”

  1. Lisa Ljunggren 4 years ago   Reply

    Hallo!
    There are a lot of nutritions and supplements that people in illness want and need to consider if to use or how much to use. They are indeed in a need for anything that might help.
    A supplement which I did ask Pat (and he wanted more information) about earlier i januari (in his blog)is MCP, Modified Citrus Pectin which can be helpful if it “keeps its promesis”. MCP is a pectin that has been altered so that it can be more easily absorbed by the digestive tract. It has some similarity with curcumin at how it works and also in terms of the lack of controlled research in humans. It has, in lots of in vitro and in vivo experiments, been proved to be a natural blocker of Galectin-3. Studies show that to much Galectin-3 in the body promotes unhalthy cell behaviors such as inflammation, uncontrolled abnormal cell growth, colony formation and metastasis. MSP´s properties is ment to be:
    – it helps activate powerful immune response
    – it has apoptosis effect
    – it helps to affect cell proliferation
    – it helps to prevent metastasis
    – it helps to affect angiogenesis
    – it helps to prevent tumor progression
    – it helps to increase the anti-cancer effect when combined with chemo (Doxorubicin among others)
    – it helps to overcome drug resistance
    It is difficult to consider the value and the safety of this supplement, but I know that 10 years ago my husband took it for a couple of years after treatment for severe prostate cancer and it went very well. 2009 he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and he has just completed his second SCT. One of the major proponents of MCP is the researcher and physician dr Isaac Eliaz an I perceive him as very serious. My husbands haematologist however, advises him not to take MCP, he is very competent, accurate and precise… So, my question is, is there anyone out there who has some experience on MCP to share?
    Kind regards
    Lisa

    • Pat Killingsworth 4 years ago   Reply

      Oncologists don’t like patients taking a lot of supplements. They are always concerned that they might interact with chemo in an unanticipated way. Probably the case here. To be fair, often oncs simply aren’t familiar with or trained in good nutrition. But better safe than sorry unless you are convinced the risk is worth it…

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