Are pomegranates the answer to living healthier, longer?

You might know pomegranates as one of the world’s most delicious and least accessible fruits. I have a friend who was once on a date, one summer day, with a man who bought and ate a pomegranate while they were walking down the street, resulting in one of the messiest, most awkward and least charming seduction attempts she has ever experienced. But I digress. Pomegranates might be messy, but according to a recent study — reported by the Guardian (“Can pomegranate juice lower stress levels at work?”) — they might also be the remedy for all kinds of life-shortening ailments, especially stress.

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You might know pomegranates as one of the world’s most delicious and least accessible fruits. I have a friend who was once on a date, one summer day, with a man who bought and ate a pomegranate while they were walking down the street, resulting in one of the messiest, most awkward and least charming seduction attempts she has ever experienced. But I digress. Pomegranates might be messy, but according to a recent study — reported by the Guardian (“Can pomegranate juice lower stress levels at work?“) — they might also be the remedy for all kinds of life-shortening ailments, especially stress.

The study, conducted by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, involved 60 volunteers who were asked to drink 500ml of pomegranate juice per day for two weeks. The conclusion of the research was that consumption of pomegranate juice led to a reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a reduction in blood pressure.

To quote the Guardian: “From reducing the risk of prostate cancer to lowering cholesterol levels, Alzheimer’s to arthritis, pomegranates and their many supposed health benefits have been well documented.” (The article also points out that this, and many other pomegranate-related studies, have been paid for juice manufacturers. Also, the pomegranate juice used in this particular study has more sugar than Coca-Cola.)

It seems like every month there’s a new life-lengthening miracle fruit being touted. (It’s really amazing that we keep coming up with new fruits no one’s heard of before.) Remember goji berries and acai? Or even just the humble cranberry or ubiquitous blueberry? Eating a balanced diet that includes a fair amount of fruit — and avoids any added sugars — will likely contribute to your odds of living a healthier, longer life. And as for that killer stress hormone, cortisol, there are lots of other ways to keep that in check, but most of them involve lifestyle changes people don’t always feel free to make. (Working and worrying less, and relaxing and socializing more, for example.)

As for pomegranates? Sounds like we should keep eating them. But I don’t recommend buying one on a date.