A Heart Healthy Fruit Combo

Did You Know…two ancient fruits form a winning combination against heart disease?

The latest findings of a distinguished heart-health researcher indicate that two fruits previously identified as having protective properties can be far more potent when combined.     

Professor Michael Aviram, of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and the Rambam Medical Center, has spent much of his career studying heart disease.  Recently, Aviram and a team of researchers investigated the potential of combining pomegranates and dates to protect against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup and hardening of the arteries). 

How to Stop the Top Contributor to Heart Disease 

For nearly three decades, Aviram and his team have focused on how to prevent atherosclerosis—which can cause a heart attack or stroke.  Aviram has written and published over 450 original scientific papers and was one of the first to identify a phenomenon called cholesterol oxidation. Cholesterol oxidation has proven to be one of the top contributors to atherosclerosis.

Oxidation can be triggered by elements we are exposed to every day, such as…

  • Smoke
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Pollution
  • Radiation

Once oxidized, cholesterol molecules become extremely harmful to your arteries. Aviram’s investigation led him to antioxidants, molecules that prevent cholesterol and other fat molecules from oxidizing.

He studied over 100 different fruits… vegetables… beverages… and wines to learn more about the health benefits of various kinds of antioxidants.  He soon found that both pomegranates and dates were extraordinarily cardio-protective.

When Two Become One, a Potent Treatment Emerges 

Aviram and his team knew that natural antioxidants found in pomegranates and dates can slow the oxidation process and reduce your risk of heart disease.  Because dates and pomegranates contain different types of phenolic antioxidants, Aviram had a hunch that when combined, the two fruits would become even more beneficial.

Dates contain phenolic antioxidants, radical scavengers that inhibit oxidation and instigate the removal of cholesterol from arterial cells.
Pomegranate juice contains polyphenolic antioxidants, which dramatically decrease oxidative stress.

During previous research, Aviram and his team found pomegranate juice activates an enzyme called paraoxonase (PON), which breaks down oxidized cholesterol in your bloodstream.  That means it not only prevents oxidation, but also reverses the atherosclerosis-causing effects of cholesterol that has already been oxidized!

Don’t Throw Out the Pits… Seriously 

The most recent trial carried out by Aviram and his colleagues examined the effects of various combinations of triple pomegranate juice, date fruits, and date pits.  Tests revealed that the triple combination provided maximum protection.

     When combined, pomegranate juice, dates, and date pits reduced oxidative stress by 33% and reduced arterial cholesterol by 28%.

In order to get these results for yourself, Aviram and his fellow researchers recommend pairing half a glass of pomegranate juice (four ounces) with three dates.

Because consuming the date pits appears to bring about health benefits not seen when only the fruit is eaten, the research team suggests grinding the dates and pits into a paste.  If that step does not appeal to you, you will still derive greater benefits from the combination of dates and pomegranate juice than from either fruit alone.

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