Pomegranates have been hailed as an anti-ager for thousands of years — with good reason. New cutting-edge scientific research reveals that the fruit’s extremely high antioxidant content makes it a powerhouse in the fight against wrinkles and age-related blemishes.
What makes poms so super?
The sweet-tart pomegranate is chock-full of free radical-neutralizing vitamin C, as well as skin cell-protective phytochemicals and tannins. In fact, research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry shows that this fruit’s antioxidant activity is a whopping three times stronger that that of red wine and green tea – and those antioxidants help keep your skin youthful.
They amp up collagen
Foods high in antioxidants help repair collagen, the protein fibers that keep skin firm, preventing wrinkles, and sagging, explains Lauren Graf, RD, a clinical dietician at Montefiore Hospital in New York City. And no fruit stimulates the production of collagen better than pomegranate, according to a report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It helps ward off skin aging from the inside when you eat it and from the outside when you apply it topically with products such as Cosmesis Anti-Glycation Serum ($25.44, Amazon).
And repair skin damage
Sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, skin sagging, and dark spots — and while sunscreen can help prevent any new damage, pomegranate’s ability to stimulate collagen production and halt its breakdown can trigger repair of harm already caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, of the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Plus, poms keep skin soft & supple
Over time, skin naturally begins to produce less oil, leading to dryness and more visible lines and wrinkles. But “pomegranate oil may help protect the skin while improving hydration,” says Dr. Zeichner. Applied topically, the flavonoid-rich oil such as Leven Rose Pomegranate Seed Oil ($13.97, Amazon), pressed from the seeds of the fruit, absorbs quickly to fortify the skin’s moisture barrier and shield cells from free radicals.
Where can you get it?
You can find pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, and pomegranate-based supplements in supermarkets and drugstores. Keep in mind that the whole fruit is your healthiest bet because it contains all of the natural compounds that together protect your health. Get an antioxidant boost a few times a week by sprinkling 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the seeds on salad or your favorite cereal. If you opt for the juice, top out at 4 oz. daily, says Graf; make sure you follow dosage directions on the bottle when taking pomegranate supplements.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.