Professor Michael Aviram of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center has spent the past 25 years with a team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology investigating the benefits of consuming both pomegranates and dates. Their findings were published in The Royal Society of Chemistry journal Food & Function.
The aim of the study was to research - and hopefully isolate - specific antioxidants that are responsible for slowing down the oxidation of cholesterol. This is a process that occurs in the body as a result of lipid buildup around the arteries, and it can lead to a number of illnesses and problems, most notably heart disease.
During the study, cultures of artery cells where exposed to extracts from both pomegranates and dates. These fruits have high levels of antioxidants, specifically polyphenolic antioxidants, and dates have also shown to inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. The researchers believed the combination of these different antioxidants would have a larger impact on cholesterol levels in the body.
The results showed that the combination of all three factors - pomegranate juice, dates, and ground up date seeds - led to a 28% reduction in cholesterol buildup and a 33% decrease in the oxidative stress on the walls of the arteries. The combination of all three components was shown to be the most effective. On top of the other benefits, the mix was also shown to decrease triglyceride levels, cholesterol content, and lipid peroxide content in the aorta.
What Does This Mean?
The study found that, when taken together, pomegranate and dates had a significant impact on protecting the body from a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including both stroke and heart disease.
People with a high risk of developing heart disease could help compensate by consuming a mixture of pomegranate juice and dates (including the pits or seeds). The ideal amount is thought to be four ounces (120 mL) of pomegranate juice combined with three dates. This also holds true for healthy individuals, and even when ground pots were not included, the combination still showed significant results: the researchers concluded it was better than just either pomegranate or dates alone. However, it should be noted that this is not a cure or a completely preventative measure, and should be used in combination with a healthy diet.
- Royal Society of Chemistry, Anti-atherogenic properties of date vs. pomegranate polyphenols: the benefits of the combination, 2015