Given its high content of polyphenols, pomegranate stands out for its enormous antioxidant power and antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its scarlet skin contains a wide variety of beneficial components for the proper functioning of the body. Therefore, this fruit has always been the subject of countless studies over the years that have demonstrated its potential against diseases related to vascular health, intestinal, cancer, as well as many others of neurodegenerative character. In fact, the last of them points in this direction: carried out by a group of researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (United States), concludes that drinking its juice during pregnancy helps to protect the brain of newborns with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), as well as to improve its development and prevent the effects of brain injury.
When this pathology occurs, the fetus has a small measure in the uterus compared to what it should be because of its gestational age. This may be due to problems with the placenta, which hinders the flow of nutrients, oxygen or blood, affecting the baby’s brain.
For the development of this analysis, published in the journal “Plos One“, the team has conducted a randomized clinical trial in different pregnant mothers with babies diagnosed with IUGR. In total, the sample consisted of 78 women whose fetuses were diagnosed with this pathology between 24 and 43 weeks of gestation.
The findings highlighted that children born to pregnant women who consumed pomegranate juice daily during pregnancy had better brain development and connectivity than others. This may be due to the high presence of polyphenols, a series of antioxidants found in foods such as wine or tea. Thus, researchers have highlighted that these substances “cross the blood-brain barrier and have protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases.
In this context, the women received eight pomegranate juice units daily and a polyphenol-free placebo randomly until delivery. In addition, various aspects of brain development were evaluated, such as infant brain macrostructure, microstructural organization, or functional connectivity. They were able to observe changes in the microstructure of white matter and functional connectivity.
However, Terrie Inder, chair of the department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and author of the study, points out that these benefits do not directly impact a baby’s own brain growth, but improve his or her development and connectivity. On the other hand, she concludes that these discoveries are a clear consequence of the possible neuroprotective effects of the polyphenols contained in the pomegranate in newborns at risk and, furthermore, she highlights the “need” to develop a larger clinical trial in order to continue with this research.