Drinking an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily could slow the progress of prostate cancer, minimise cell damage and could also kill cancer cells , finds a new study.
Researchers led by Allan Pantuck at the University of California, Los Angeles, studied 50 men who had undergone surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer - but had shown signs that the disease was rapidly returning, reported the online edition of BBC News.
The presence of prostate cancer cells is monitored by measuring levels of a chemical they produce called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The researchers measured how long it took for PSA levels to double in individual patients - a short doubling time indicates that the cancer is progressing quickly.
The average doubling time is about 15 months, but in patients who drank pomegranate juice, this increased to an average of 54 months.
Some patients continued to show suppressed PSA levels after more than three years, even though they were receiving no treatment apart from drinking pomegranate juice, said Pantuck.
The researchers added that the effect may be so large that it may help older men outlive the disease.
"There are many substances in pomegranate juice that may be prompting this response," said Pantuck.
"We are hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies usually used in this population such as hormone treatment or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects," added Pantuck.
Pomegranates have been linked to many health benefits. It contains a cocktail of chemicals including isoflavones, which are believed to play a role in cancer cell death.
Previous research, conducted through tests on mice, has indicated that pomegranate juice could have a beneficial effect on prostate cancer.