It's been called the greatest experiment ever performed on women. Since 1938, pharmaceutical companies have been pushing synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on women as a "lifestyle drug."
HRT is marketed as a miracle cure-all for women going through menopause, claiming to help improve a woman's mood while protecting against heart disease, dementia and osteoporosis.
But there was never any proof that HRT was safe. It wasn't until the 1990s that HRT was finally tested during the Women's Health Initiative study. The results were so disturbing the trial had to be stopped 3 years early.
Researchers found that women on HRT had significantly higher rates of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots in their veins and lungs.
Women started asking: Isn't there a way to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings without the risk of heart disease and cancer?
The answer is yes. It may sound hard to believe, but in ancient times, women used a simple fruit to balance their hormones naturally. Today, modern science is just discovering its power to ease menopause symptoms safely.
With its hundreds of seeds in a bright red pod, the pomegranate fruit resembles a human ovary. And just like an ovary, pomegranate produces three types of estrogen in a woman's body - estradiol, estrone and estriol. These estrogens work to balance hormone levels and reduce menopausal symptoms.
Estrone and estriol from pomegranate are bio-identical to a woman's own estrogen. That means it's the same natural form of estrogen your body makes on its own...not a chemical or synthetic copy.
But estradiol from pomegranate is even better. High levels of a woman's estradiol - known as 17-beta-estradiol -- are associated with breast cancer. That's why women with a history of breast cancer are often advised to avoid estrogen therapy.
But pomegranate's estradiol is the mirror image of 17-beta-estradiol, and with its reverse construction, it does NOT promote breast cancer. In fact, one laboratory study found pomegranate juice inhibits the harmful activity of 17-beta-estradiol by 55%.
And unlike synthetic HRT, pomegranate doesn't increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, in a 2004 study in Clinical Nutrition, patients taking pomegranate reversed plaque buildup in their arteries by 30%, while lowering their blood pressure by 12%.
Pomegranate also doesn't cause blood clots in veins and lungs, but instead prevents the clumping of blood platelets that leads to clots.
If you're not up to peeling your own pomegranate, you can buy the dried seeds and toss a handful into your salad or yogurt.
Pomegranate juice is also widely available and most studies recommend eight ounces a day to get the health benefits.
Finally, pomegranate extract supplements are available in health food stores or online. Look for a product that uses all parts of the pomegranate - juice, seeds, and peel.