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Natural Awakenings of the Coastal Carolinas

Drink Pomegranate Juice to Protect Fetal Brain Growth

Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock.com

About one in 10 babies in utero struggles with a dangerous condition known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), in which the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the placenta is restricted, hampering development of the growing fetus. Now, a simple solution—of mom drinking an eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice a day—offers hope of a  way to reduce infant deaths and lower the need for infant surgery. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, studied 77 mothers with IUGR at St. Louis’ Barnes-Jewish Hospital that received either one cup a day of pomegranate juice or a placebo. Evaluating 55 of the babies’ development with MRIs after birth, researchers found that the babies with pomegranate-drinking moms had evidence of both better brain connectivity and development of white matter—tissue through which messages pass in the central nervous system. Pomegranate juice is a rich source of polyphenols, a class of foods also found in nuts, berries, vegetables and teas that’s known to cross the blood-brain barrier and have neuroprotective effects.