A new study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has found positive health benefits in newborns when expectant mothers drink pomegranate juice during pregnancy.
According to the researchers, polyphenols, which are present in pomegranates, are beneficial in boosting overall brain function. When consumed daily during pregnancy, newborns were more likely to have better brain development at birth.
“Our study provides preliminary evidence suggesting potential protective effects for newborns exposed to pomegranate juice while in utero,” said researcher Terrie Inder. “These findings warrant continued investigation into the potential neuroprotective effects of polyphenols in at-risk newborns, such as those with hypoxic-ischemic injury.”
A daily practice
The researchers were most curious to see how pomegranate juice could benefit those newborns diagnosed with a condition known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which is detectable before birth and typically signifies low birth weight for the number of weeks of pregnancy.
The study included nearly 80 expectant mothers between weeks 24 and 43 of pregnancy, all of whom had received an IUGR diagnosis before the start of the study and participated until they gave birth.
The women were broken up into two groups: those who drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice every day and those who consumed a placebo drink. The researchers monitored the women and their babies up until the women gave birth, and though the pomegranate juice didn’t make the babies any bigger, it did leave the babies with other positive health effects, including improved brain function.
“We saw no difference in brain growth and baby growth, but we did see improvement in cabling network and brain development measured by synchronous blood flow and visual development of the brain,” said Inder.
Inder and her colleagues say the findings are “exciting,” and they hope to do further research in this area to find out what exactly about the make-up of polyphenols is giving newborns an extra brain boost.