London: Want to look young even as you age? Eat pomegranate daily, says a new study which has hailed the fruit as nature's elixir of youth.
   
Pomegranate is known as a super fruit for centuries for its various health benefits, like it prevents heart disease, relieves stress and improves sex life. Now, researchers say a daily dose of the fruit could slow the ageing process of DNA.
   
For their study, the researchers at ProbelteBio laboratory in Spain gave an extract of the fruit – including pith, peel and seeds -- to nearly 60 volunteers daily for a month in the form of a capsule.
   
They monitored the activity of chemicals in their bodies compared with those who took placebo and found a significant decrease in a marker associated with cell damage, which can cause impaired brain, muscle, liver and kidney function as well as ageing effects on the skin.
   
This decrease -- a hitherto unknown benefit of consuming pomegranate -- is thought to slow down oxidation of the DNA in cells which naturally occurs over time, say the researchers.
   
In fact, the researchers found a decrease in levels of a chemical marker called 8-Oxo-DG in the participants' urine tests. It is associated with damage to DNA caused by a host of chemicals people eat, drink and breathe in.
   
"We are very excited about this study which we believe demonstrates that regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation.
   
"One way to look at ageing is to think of it as rusting, or oxidising, a damaging process. Being able to guard against this process would be a significant breakthrough," a daily quoted lead researcher Sergio Streitenberger as saying.
   
Last year, a team at UK's Queen Margaret University found the fruit could combat middle-aged spread and reduce stress at work.

(Agencies)