Pomegranate Compounds May Benefit Joint & Skin Health
The over-expression and over-activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes that degrade collagen, play a key role in skin health as well as joint conditions such as arthritis. Navindra Seeram, from the University of Rhode Island (Rhode Island, USA), and colleagues investigated the therapeutic potential of punicalagins – compounds found in the pomegranate fruit. The team observed that the punicalagins inhibited MMPs in the cell studies, and reduced inflammation in the animal models of arthritis.
Kiwifruit Kicks the Common Cold
Among the most widespread illnesses in the world, the common cold is estimated to be responsible for $20 billion per year in lost worker productivity. Denise C. Hunter, from The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research (New Zealand), and colleagues enrolled 37 men and women, ages 65 years and older, who ate four gold kiwifruit each day for four weeks, then switched over to consume two bananas daily (or vice versa), with a four week intervening washout period. During the kiwifruit phase, self-reported cold symptoms were less (as compared to the banana phase), with sore throat symptoms reducing from 5.4 to 2 days and head congestion decreasing from 4.7 to 0.9 days. As well, the severity of head congestion during the kiwifruit phase. Observing that: “Gold kiwifruit significantly increased plasma vitamin C, [alpha]-tocopherol and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations, and erythrocyte folate concentrations, and significantly reduced plasma lipid peroxidation,” the researchers submit that: "Consumption of gold kiwifruit enhanced the concentrations of several dietary plasma analytes, which may contribute to reduced duration and severity of selected [upper respiratory tract infection] symptoms, offering a novel tool for reducing the burden of [upper respiratory tract infection] in older individuals.”
Apple Peel Compound May Help to Combat Weight Gain
Previously, studies have suggested that ursolic acid, a compound found in apple peel, increases muscle mass and strength, in a laboratory animal model. Christopher M Adams, from the University of Iowa (Iowa, USA), and colleagues have observed that ursolic acid increases muscle and brown fat mass in mice fed a high-fat diet. The researchers revealed that mice supplemented with ursolic acid in addition to a high-fat shall burn more calories and have a reduced incidence of obesity, prediabetes, and fatty liver disease, as compared to mice that did not receive a supplement. Reporting that: " These data support a model in which ursolic acid reduces obesity, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease by increasing skeletal muscle and brown fat,", the study authors submit that: "ursolic acid [may be] a potential therapeutic approach for obesity and obesity-related illness.”