Sweet, healthful, and delicious, pomegranate is a popular fruit for a reason. Pomegranate seeds are a popular addition to salads and other dishes, but they're perfectly suitable to eat by themselves.
Although getting into the tasty seeds at the heart of a pomegranate may be a little more difficult than, say, biting into an apple, the health benefits of pomegranate mean you should absolutely add this food to your daily diet.
Pomegranates are comprised of two plant compounds: Punicalagins, which are strong antioxidants found in the juice and peel, and Punicic Acid, found in pomegranate oil. Each of these compounds has specific health benefits.
Most pomegranate extracts and powders are made from the peel, as this contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants - up to three times that of green tea or red wine.
Whether you prefer the red fruit itself, a delicious cup of pomegranate juice, or even pomegranate seed oil or extract, there are so many health benefits associated with this superfruit.
Let's take a look at some of the most well-known benefits of pomegranate fruits.
1. Pomegranates Contain a Plethora of Vitamins and Minerals
It's always important to properly consider what we put in our bodies. Low-nutrition foods with a high calorie count will take a toll on our health over time. Empty calories provide no nutrition, and leave us hungry only a short time later.
Fortunately, pomegranate juice itself comes loads with plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some vitamins you'll find in just one cup of pomegranate seeds:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
All of these vitamins are crucial to a good diet and a healthy body, and most of them have to be obtained via our diet. They each have specific properties that help fight off infections and keep you in good shape.
2. Pomegranates Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation can be a major cause of serious disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Certain foods, like pomegranates, contain high levels of antioxidants, which go a long way to reducing inflammation and therefore reducing chances of these serious diseases. Depending on your area, you may not be able to get pomegranate fruits all year round. But just one cup of pomegranate juice daily can noticeably reduce inflammation in your body.
3. Helps to Fight Breast Cancer
While more research is needed, preliminary evidence shows that pomegranate extract can help fight and destroy cancer cells. Pomegranate seed oil can inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells, even killing them altogether, thanks to its punicic acid content.
More evidence is needed, but that doesn't mean you can't add pomegranates to your diet right now. While the causes of cancer can vary, a healthy diet is to key to keeping you strong and healthful, ready to fight off any diseases or infections that may come your way. As a superfood, pomegranates are a powerful addition to a healthy diet.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women, and it's wise to be fully aware of the dangers.
4. Helps to Fight Prostate Cancer
Another common and dangerous form of cancer, prostate cancer affects many men each year. Pomegranate juice in particular works well to slow the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of oxidative stress thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant activity. It can also lower levels of a prostate-specific antigen. Over time, rising levels of this antigen are what put men at risk of developing prostate cancer.
Further studies are needed into the cancer-killing properties of pomegranates, but in the meantime, it would be a good idea to add this superfruit to your diet.
5. Lowers Systolic Blood Pressure
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, can cause serious damage over time. It's one of the leading causes of strokes, heart attacks, and other heart problems. Another of the top benefits of pomegranates is that consuming only 5 ounces of pomegranate juice every day can significantly lower blood pressure.
6. Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease
Another study has found that drinking pomegranate juice helps to clear the arteries of cholesterol.
This is because pomegranate juice - or more specifically, its antioxidants - help to prevent cholesterol from oxidizing in your arteries. This is what creates buildup over time, leading to heart strain, possible heart disease, and further damage.
The antioxidants in pomegranate juice and seeds work on a preventative basis. Adding pomegranates to your diet now, whether as a red fruit or in juice form, can go a long way to keeping you healthier for longer.
7. Promotes Good Heart Health
All of the previously mentioned benefits - lower risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, and keeping the arteries free of buildup, all work towards keeping your heart healthy.
Oxidation damage and cholesterol buildup puts a heavy strain on your heart. Often, we don't notice this while we're young and healthy, but as we age, the problems can become more evident. Prevention is better than a cure, and it's best to implement a balanced, healthful diet - including plenty of pomegranates! - before you notice serious health issues.
8. Aids Good Circulation
Oxidation damage often impairs blood flow. The antioxidant properties of pomegranates work to prevent and ease buildup in the arteries, as well as promoting healthy blood flow. This means your circulation should improve.
It can also have a positive effect on erectile dysfunction, due to its good impact on blood flow. However, more studies are needed to properly measure the effects of this food on erectile dysfunction. In the meantime, adding pomegranate juice to your diet won't do any harm.
9. Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis and Joint Pain
While there are many types of arthritis and joint pain, virtually all of them have the same cause in common - inflammation. Since pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties, it can work to ease pain and stiffness in affected joints.
It's possible that pomegranate extract blocks certain enzymes which damage the joints. Especially for people suffering with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, this can help slow the progress of the disease and provide some pain relief.
10. Can Aid Memory and Prevent Memory Loss
Pomegranates may even help to fight Alzheimer's disease. While more research is needed, just 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily can significantly improve memory. This includes verbal and visual memory.
Issues with memory can be caused by a number of factors, including health problems, prolonged depression, or even simply age or genetics. The anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate juice have proven particularly beneficial, and adding it to your diet may help you - it certainly won't harm.
11. Provides a Good Source of Fiber
Like many other fruits and vegetables, pomegranate fruits provide a high-fiber addition to your diet. Fiber helps regulate your bowels, ensuring your movements are regular and keeping your bowel functioning properly. It also helps to balance blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, and more. The fiber also regulates your gut.
Proper gut health can sometimes be overlooked, but this area of the body affects just about everything, including your mood. This also means that your digestion is improved. Many healthful foods such as fruits and vegetables aid with digestion, and pomegranates are no exception.
Having sufficient fiber in your diet is extremely important. Pomegranate seeds provide a good amount of fiber, as well as providing a delicious snack.
12. Aids Weight Loss
Losing weight can be tricky. It isn't just about eating less food, the key is to eat the right food. Managing cravings can be a serious obstacle to losing weight. The high levels of fiber in pomegranates makes you feel fuller for longer, reducing the risk of cravings later on. A cup of pomegranate seeds provides a nutritious and tasty between-meals snack, as well as providing plenty of energy and vitamins to get you through the day.
If you're weaning yourself off sodas and sugary drinks, juices such as pomegranate juice may make a good substitute. While you won't get fiber from pomegranate juice, it still contains plenty of human health boosters, and a sugary taste that can help combat your cravings.
However, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, be careful. Fruit juices (even homemade juices and smoothies) contain high levels of sugar. Too much pomegranate juice can be bad for you. If you buy commercial fruit juices, try and choose one that contains more natural juice and a minimal amount of added sugar.
13. Helps to Fight Infections
Pomegranate also has antiviral and antibacterial potential. This means that pomegranate juice may work towards fighting off bacterial and fungal infections. This includes some dental infections, like gingivitis, denture stomatitis, and more.
As well as tackling common gum infections, pomegranates can help to fight yeast infections.
14. Improves Exercise Performance
Pomegranate also contains dietary nitrates, according to another study. Nitrates can have a powerful impact on physical strength, endurance, and muscle repair. In turn, this improves your exercise performance.
As little as one gram of pomegranate extract can have a noticeable impact on a person's exercise performance. Pomegranate juice or a cup of pomegranate seeds can be a good pre-workout, post-workout, or mid-workout snack. Whether you're looking for something to boost your energy before or during a workout, or simply something to replenish your strength afterward, pomegranate makes the perfect snack.
15. Promotes Strong, Healthy Hair
The last, but by no means the least on our list of benefits is that pomegranates are good for healthful hair. Pomegranate oil is a popular ingredient in many hair products, working to smooth and condition dry, frizzy hair.
Eating pomegranate seeds or drinking pomegranate juice improves blood flow to your scalp. This nourishes hair follicles, encouraging hair growth.
What to Watch Out For
Studies have shown that pomegranates may be a fantastically healthful superfood, but you can have too much of a good thing. If you have a liver disorder, it may be wise to seek medical advice from your doctor before introducing a lot of pomegranate into your diet.
It's recommended to eat around 2 cups of pomegranates each day.
If you're trying to lose weight, be aware that pomegranates, when processed in a certain way, may contain a high calorie count. For example, baked or blended pomegranates tend to have more calories than fresh fruits. Pomegranate juices, especially commerical blends, may also contain a lot of sugar. If you're diabetic, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the sugar levels in juices. Fruit juices sometimes go unnoticed as a sources of sugar, especially when compared to more obvious sugary choices like soda, sweets, and cake.
There's also a possibility, however low, that you could experience an allergic reaction to the compounds in pomegranate. If there's a history of allergies in your family, or you've suffered from allergies in the past, it may be wise to consult your doctor first.
If not, keep an eye out for some of these symptoms:
- Itchy hives and/or rashes
- Labored breathing
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Swelling in the face, mouth, tongue, or throat
However, your chances of an allergic reaction are very low.
Should You Be Eating Pomegranate?
Absolutely. While there are risks associated with eating any fruits (possible allergies, for example) the risks aren't so high as to warrant missing out on this superfood. Pomegranates are packed full of healthful nutrients like vitamin C and punicic acid, and have been proven to have ant-inflammatory effects, reduce the risk of cancer cell accumulation, lower blood pressure, and prevent type 2 diabetes (though be careful as juice made from pomegranates is high in natural sugars).
Whether you prefer traditional pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, or some other extract or oil, the human health benefits of pomegranate are exceptional. Having this fruit as a regular part in your diet can go a long way to preventing many serious illnesses. On top of that, it keeps your gut and bowels well regulated, and provides energy and nutrition to keep your body in the best condition it can be.