Researchers in the U.K. have found a compound in pomegranate that they believe may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

The compound, punicalagin, which is a polyphenol— a form of a chemical compound— may slow the onset of and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and may reduce inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Now, researchers at the University of Huddersfield in the U.K. have begun a new phase of research to explore development of drugs to treat neuro-inflammation.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million Americans. Globally, there are at least 44.4 million dementia sufferers.

Researchers have been focused on the pomegranate compound for two years. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, punicalagin could prevent or slow down its development by inhibiting inflammation in specialized brain cells known as micrologia— this inflammation leads to the destruction of further brain cells, progressively worsening symptoms for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Currently, lead researcher Dr. Olumayokun Olajide, is working on pinpointing the required amounts of pomegranate needed to be effective.

"…We do know that regular intake and regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits – including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia," he said in a press release.

Olajide recommends juice products that are 100 percent pomegranate, meaning that approximately 3.4 percent will be punicalagin, the compound that slows down the progression of dementia.

Most of the antioxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate, not the soft part, Olajide noted.