Pomegranates are a delicious fruit that are perfect on their own as well as on salads, in smoothie bowls, and so much more. But in addition to give a much-needed kick to any meal, did you know that including pomegranates in your diet could also potentially help prevent breast cancer?
According to research published in Cancer Prevention Research, pomegranates contain special compounds called anti-aromatase phytochemicals (try saying that five times fast!) that suppress cancer-causing estrogen production in the body. Essentially, an enzyme called aromatase converts a hormone called androgen into estrogen, and previous studies have shown that during that process, some cells may begin to turn cancerous or form cancerous tumors. Pomegranates, which are high in cancer-killing antioxidants, stop this aromatase enzyme from starting that dangerous cycle.
Researchers were surprised by the findings and believe that pomegranates could potentially play an important part in breast cancer prevention. “We previously found other fruits, such as grapes, to be capable of the inhibition of aromatase. But phytochemicals in pomegranates and in grapes are different,” explained Shiuan Chen, PhD, a co-author on the study.
There are plenty of other health reasons to include pomegranates in your diet too. Not only are they shown to reduce inflammation and improve joint paint, but they may also lower “bad” cholesterol and prevent age-related memory loss. What a hard-working fruit!
So, should you begin adding pomegranates to every meal to prevent breast cancer and get its other benefits? Scientists say their research is still in its early stages and they’re not sure how well these phytochemicals are asborbed into the body. But they want to test them out to see the impacts on breast density, estrogen levels, menopausal symptoms, and more. In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt to add them into your rotation!