Pomegranates have been hailed as a “super food” that could help protect against inflammation and cancer. New research shows this Middle Eastern fruit also contains powerful substances called ellagitannins that may slow the aging process, reports ScienceDaily.com. Throughout our lives, cells recycle worn-out mitochondria- the tiny powerhouse that provided them with energy. This process, known as mitophagy, slows down and malfunctions over time, resulting in weaker muscles and age-related frailty. In a study on worms and mice, scientists found that when consumed and broken down by gut bacteria, ellagitannins produce a compound called urolithin A that helps restore this mitochondrial clean-up process in cells where it has become inactive, significantly improving muscle strength and endurance. The worms’ life span also increased, by 45 percent. “It’s a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable,” says the study’s co-author, Patrick Aebischer. Researchers caution that it’s not been determined that ellagitannins affect people in the same way. Human trials are currently underway.