Pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenols which, as antioxidant substances, are also supposed to prevent radical-dependent damage to brain cells. While such protection has already been confirmed as a short-term effect in animal models and in humans, the long-term effects of the juice have been completely unknown until now.
Until now there had only been a single clinical short-term study in humans that investigated the effects of pomegranate juice on the memory performance of test subjects. This research came up with a positive result: Pomegranate improved cognitive performance in middle-aged or older people in the short term.
Yet a new study looked further into the effects of pomegranate. It was designed as a placebo-controlled, randomized and double-blind approach. It looked into how pomegranate juice had a long-term (over 12 months) effect on the memory performance of non-dementia patients of middle and older age.
The 261 participants in the study were randomized into two groups: Group 1 received 236.5 ml pomegranate juice per day, while group 2 received the same amount of a placebo drink. Two validated tests (BVMT-R, SRT) were used to evaluate the cognitive performance of the patients after 6 and 12 months.
The results showed that between the baseline and after six months, the participants had no loss of visual information processing when they drank pomegranate juice, for example. The placebo group, on the other hand, recorded a significant drop in cognitive performance. Thus, regular and long-term consumption of pomegranate juice is likely to stabilize the information processing of visual perception and thus to maintain it for longer.
Siddhart P et al, Am J Clin Nutr 2019: pii: nqz241; doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz241