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“Adhami, Vaqar Mustafa, Naghma Khan, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Cancer chemoprevention by pomegranate: laboratory and clinical evidence.” Nutrition and cancer 61, no. 6 (2009): 811-815.[r/ref]”
A fruit a day can do you a world of good, and it doesn’t always have to be an apple. Pomegranate has a lot going for it as well. It can offer you benefits for almost every body part, from the heart and the liver to the joints and the brain. In fact, research finds that a pomegranate improves antioxidant functions in the elderly more than an apple does.[ref]Guo, Changjiang, Jingyu Wei, Jijun Yang, Jing Xu, Wei Pang, and Yugang Jiang. “Pomegranate juice is potentially better than apple juice in improving antioxidant function in elderly subjects.” Nutrition Research 28, no. 2 (2008): 72-77.[/ref]
Pomegranate juice has 3 times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. In fact, commercial pomegranate juice is even richer in antioxidants than the fresh-pressed juice from the arils or seeds, though they might be higher in sugar too.[ref]Gil, Maria I., Francisco A. Tomás-Barberán, Betty Hess-Pierce, Deirdre M. Holcroft, and Adel A. Kader. “Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing.” Journal of Agricultural and Food chemistry 48, no. 10 (2000): 4581-4589.[/ref]
- Energy: 233 Calories
- Dietary fiber: 44% of DV
- Protein: 9%
- Vitamin B-6: 10%
- Vitamin C: 48%
- Folate: 27%
- Vitamin E: 11%
- Vitamin K: 51% for women and 38.5% for men
- Phosphorus: 14%
- Magnesium: 8%
- Iron: 4%[ref]Pomegranates, raw. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.[/ref]
Pomegranates have a high amount of antioxidants in the form of vitamins like C and E and polyphenols like ellagitannins (among which punicalagin is important). The seeds also contain a polyunsaturated fatty acid called punicic acid which has many health benefits.[ref]Aruna, P., D. Venkataramanamma, Alok Kumar Singh, and R. P. Singh. “Health benefits of punicic acid: a review.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 15, no. 1 (2016): 16-27.[/ref] With so much nutrition and antioxidant and polyphenolic content, it’s no wonder that this fruit, its seeds, peel extract, and even oil can do so much for you! Here’s a look at the benefits of pomegranate.
1. Improves Heart Health
Pomegranate is often recommended in alternative and natural remedies as a means to improve overall cardiovascular health. Pomegranate offers these heart-related benefits and more:
- Lowers blood pressure: In one study, researchers found that consuming it for a
- Lowers triglycerides: In one study, those who took pomegranate seed oil daily over a 4-week period saw their triglyceride levels drop, which also improved their ratio of HDL “good cholesterol” to triglycerides.[ref]Mirmiran, Parvin, Mohammad Reza Fazeli, Golaleh Asghari, Abbas Shafiee, and Fereidoun Azizi. “Effect of pomegranate seed oil on hyperlipidaemic subjects: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” British journal of nutrition 104, no. 03 (2010): 402-406.[/ref]
- Prevents LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a condition where LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) gets deposited within arteries, gets oxidized,
id="diabetes">2. Helps With Diabetes
Don’t overdose if you are diabetic. Stick to 1 cup of juice or 1 fruit a day. Look for 100% pomegranate juice if you are buying packaged juice.
Though a sweet fruit, pomegranate can help type 2 diabetics on multiple fronts.
- Lowers fasting blood glucose[ref]Rosenblat, Mira, Tony Hayek, and Michael Aviram. “Anti-oxidative effects of pomegranate juice (PJ) consumption by diabetic patients on serum and on macrophages.” Atherosclerosis 187, no. 2 (2006): 363-371.[/ref]
- Increases insulin sensitivity[ref]Banihani, S. A., S. M. Makahleh, Z. El-Akawi, R. A. Al-Fashtaki, O. F. Khabour, M. Y. Gharibeh, N. A. Saadah, F. H. Al-Hashimi, and N. J. Al-Khasieb. “Fresh pomegranate juice ameliorates insulin resistance, enhances β-cell function, and decreases fasting serum glucose in type 2 diabetic patients.” Nutrition Research 34, no. 10 (2014): 862-867.[/ref]
- Reduces total and LDL cholesterol, a complication often seen in diabetics[ref]Esmaillzadeh, Ahmad, Farideh Tahbaz, Iraj Gaieni, Hamid Alavi-Majd, and Leila Azadbakht. “Concentrated pomegranate juice improves lipid profiles in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia.” Journal of medicinal food 7, no. 3 (2004): 305-308.[/ref]
- Reduces inflammation caused by diabetes – in a
3. Helps In Liver Detox
Historically, the pomegranate has been considered a good diuretic, keeping your body cleansed and helping rid it of toxins and waste, easing the load on the liver which along with the kidneys handles this detoxification job. While the liver helps detox your body, the detoxification process itself gives rise to harmful reactive molecules called free radicals. These free radicals, such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anions, damage the lipid (fat) layers of cells in a process called lipid peroxidation and cause inflammation. At this stage the liver requires strong antioxidant enzymes like catalase and peroxidase.
Expert recipe by
Blend together 6 oz pomegranate juice, 1½ cup yogurt, ½ red grapefruit, juiced, ¼ cup kale, chopped, and 2 sage leaves. Drink up!
Pomegranate has been used as a therapy for liver revival since the extract from pomegranates not only lowers levels of these two free radicals but also restores the enzyme activity of the antioxidant enzymes, enabling liver detoxification to happen normally again. The peel extract can also help protect against carbon tetrachloride or CCl4, a chemical you may be exposed to through products in the cleaning industry, firefighting, or refrigerants, which also increases free radical damage in the liver.[ref]Ardekani, Shams, Mohammad Reza, Mannan Hajimahmoodi, Mohammad Reza Oveisi, Nafiseh Sadeghi, Behrooz Jannat, Ali Mohammad Ranjbar, Narges Gholam, and Tahereh Moridi. “Comparative antioxidant activity and total flavonoid content of Persian pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) cultivars.” Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2011): 519-524.[/ref] [ref]Chidambara Murthy, Kotamballi N., Guddadarangavvahally K. Jayaprakasha, and Ravendra P. Singh. “Studies on antioxidant activity of pomegranate (Punica granatum) peel extract using in vivo models.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50, no. 17 (2002): 4791-4795.[/ref]
Helps Digestion And Relieves Constipation
The seeds of a pomegranate are considered to have a laxative effect. The sweeter varieties of pomegranate in particular are believed to be effective. The sweet and sour varieties are more useful for treating stomach inflammation. They are used to make digestive candies in Unani and ayurvedic medical tradition. The fiber in pomegranates also make them useful for digestion and to treat diarrhea.[ref]Dhinesh, K. V., and D. Ramasamy. “Pomegranate Processing and Value Addition: Review.” Journal of Food Processing & Technology 2016 (2016).[/ref] On top of that, pomegranate has been found to have an anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer effect on the gut, thanks to the ellagic acid and other polyphenols present in it.[ref]Colombo, Elisa, Enrico Sangiovanni, and Mario Dell’Agli. “A review on the anti-inflammatory activity of pomegranate in the gastrointestinal tract.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).[/ref] Worldwide, traditional medicine has also used pomegranate juice to kill intestinal worms.[ref]Heber, David, Risa N. Schulman, and Navindra P. Seeram, eds. Pomegranates: ancient roots to modern medicine. CRC press, 2006.[/ref]
5. Can Aid Weight Loss
Replace your cola with a glass of pomegranate juice. Or snack on a whole fruit without discarding the seeds. The fiber can keep you full and off frequent snacking.
If your weight gain is associated with metabolic syndromes like diabetes or high lipid levels, pomegranate can help. Animal studies have shown that it can help reduce abdominal fat accumulation. Pomegranate leaf extracts administered orally have also been found to help with weight loss and lower serum total cholesterol.[ref]Al-Muammar, May Nasser, and Fozia Khan. “Obesity: the preventive role of the pomegranate (Punica granatum).” Nutrition 28, no. 6 (2012): 595-604.[/ref] The polyphenolic antioxidants may even help you fight off stress-related weight gain. However, don’t go overboard with drinking the juice. Stick to a cup or two and count those calories within your calorie-restricted diet.
6. Improves Athletic Performance
You may have heard about the benefits of beetroot juice for enhancing sports performance, but did you know that you could also use pomegranate juice for the same purpose? Taking 1000 mg pomegranate extract, which is equal to an 8 oz pomegranate juice, just 30 minutes before a sports event, especially intermittent running, could help you perform better.[ref]Vlachojannis, Christian, Benno F. Zimmermann, and Sigrun Chrubasik-Hausmann. “Efficacy and safety of pomegranate medicinal products for cancer.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).[/ref] [ref]Trexler, Eric T., Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Malia N. Melvin, Erica J. Roelofs, and Hailee L. Wingfield. “Effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 39, no. 9 (2014): 1038-1042.[/ref]
Pomegranate juice can not only help you do more repetitions of an exercise but also reduce muscle soreness and help you recover faster. Drink 1–2 cups every day for sustained benefits.
Like beetroot, pomegranate has nitrates which turn into nitric oxide inside the body and dilate blood vessels. This improves oxygen and nutrient supply to your muscles and improves your oxygen efficiency. Drinking 500 ml of the juice on a regular basis can delay exhaustion and muscle soreness on the one hand and speed up recovery and regain of strength on the other hand, even in cases of heavy-duty performances such as by weight lifters.[ref]Trombold, Justin R., Jill N. Barnes, Leah Critchley, and Edward F. Coyle. “Ellagitannin consumption improves strength recovery 2–3 d after eccentric exercise.” Med Sci Sports Exerc 42, no. 3 (2010): 493-8.[/ref]
7. May Reduce Arthritis/Joint Pain
You could also benefit from having pomegranates to cut inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory condition in the body resulting in painful aching joints.[ref]Shukla, Meenakshi, Kalpana Gupta, Zafar Rasheed, Khursheed A. Khan, and Tariq M. Haqqi. “Consumption of hydrolyzable tannins-rich pomegranate extract suppresses inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis.” Nutrition 24, no. 7 (2008): 733-743.[/ref] Researchers found that pomegranate fruit extract can help reduce cartilage breakdown associated with arthritis and also check the production of chemicals in the body that mediate the process of inflammation.[ref]Shukla, Meenakshi, Kalpana Gupta, Zafar Rasheed, Khursheed A. Khan, and Tariq M. Haqqi. “Bioavailable constituents/metabolites of pomegranate (Punica granatum L) preferentially inhibit COX2 activity ex vivo and IL-1beta-induced PGE 2 production in human chondrocytes in vitro.” Journal of inflammation 5, no. 1 (2008): 1.[/ref]
Since pomegranate may also help against bone loss and osteoarthritis, have it regularly when nearing menopause.[ref]Nazrun Shuid, Ahmad, and Isa Naina Mohamed. “Pomegranate use to attenuate bone loss in major musculoskeletal diseases: an evidence-based review.” Current drug targets 14, no. 13 (2013): 1565-1578.[/ref]
While most studies so far have been on animal subjects, one small study on about 6 patients with arthritis showed that pomegranate extract given daily over a 12-week window helped reduce clinical symptoms like inflammation and joint tenderness (by 62%). A recent study has confirmed similar findings.[ref]Balbir-Gurman, Alexandra, Bianca Fuhrman, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici, Doron Markovits, and Michael Aviram. “Consumption of pomegranate decreases serum oxidative stress and reduces disease activity in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study.” The Israel Medical Association journal: IMAJ 13, no. 8 (2011): 474-479.[/ref] [ref]Ghavipour, M., G. Sotoudeh, E. Tavakoli, K. Mowla, J. Hasanzadeh, and Z. Mazloom. “Pomegranate extract alleviates disease activity and some blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.” European journal of clinical nutrition 71, no. 1 (2017): 92.[/ref]
8. Treats Several Types Of Cancer
Antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and herbs typically help prevent and treat cancer in a number of mechanisms. Pomegranates have likewise shown promise in treating skin, lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancer by reducing inflammation, arresting cell growth, and inducing cell death (apoptosis). This not only slows down or even stops the growth of tumor cells but also arrests the spread of the cancer. Researchers attribute these benefits to the polyphenols, including ellagic acid, and punicic acid.[ref]Adhami, Vaqar Mustafa, Naghma Khan, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Cancer chemoprevention by pomegranate: laboratory and clinical evidence.” Nutrition and cancer 61, no. 6 (2009): 811-815.[r/ref] [ref]Hora, Justin J., Emily R. Maydew, Ephraim P. Lansky, and Chandradhar Dwivedi. “Chemopreventive effects of pomegranate seed oil on skin tumor development in CD1 mice.” Journal of medicinal food 6, no. 3 (2003): 157-161.[/ref] [ref]Costantini, Susan, Fabiola Rusolo, Valentina De Vito, Stefania Moccia, Gianluca Picariello, Francesca Capone, Eliana Guerriero, Giuseppe Castello, and Maria Grazia Volpe. “Potential anti-inflammatory effects of the hydrophilic fraction of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seed oil on breast cancer cell lines.” Molecules 19, no. 6 (2014): 8644-8660.[/ref] [ref]Dikmen, Miris, Nilgün Ozturk, and Yusuf Ozturk. “The antioxidant potency of Punica granatum L. Fruit peel reduces cell proliferation and induces apoptosis on breast cancer.” Journal of Medicinal Food 14, no. 12 (2011): 1638-1646.[/ref] [ref]Jurenka, Julie. “Therapeutic applications of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.): a review.” Alternative medicine review 13, no. 2 (2008): 128.[/ref] [ref]Adams, Lynn S., Navindra P. Seeram, Bharat B. Aggarwal, Yasunari Takada, Daniel Sand, and David Heber. “Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54, no. 3 (2006): 980-985.[/ref]
9. Boosts Memory And May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Antioxidants have been shown to help with prevention of memory loss and to keep up good neurological health. One group of researchers investigated the effect of consuming pomegranate juice on older test subjects who had complained of age-related memory problems. Those who consumed 8 oz of the juice every day for a 4-week period showed improvements in verbal memory compared to those who had a placebo. In addition, they also had increased functional brain activation than those in the control group, leading the researchers to conclude that the fruit juice has potential to help augment memory function.[ref]Bookheimer, Susan Y., Brian A. Renner, Arne Ekstrom, Zhaoping Li, Susanne M. Henning, Jesse A. Brown, Mike Jones, Teena Moody, and Gary W. Small. “Pomegranate juice augments memory and FMRI activity in middle-aged and older adults with mild memory complaints.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).[/ref]
When it comes to preventing age-related memory loss, a glass of pomegranate juice a day is a good enough remedy.
Thanks to the antioxidant chemicals in pomegranate, successful animal studies also open up the possibility of using pomegranate juice to help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in those afflicted and delay onset in others.[ref]Hartman, Richard E., Aartie Shah, Anne M. Fagan, Katherine E. Schwetye, Maia Parsadanian, Risa N. Schulman, Mary Beth Finn, and David M. Holtzman. “Pomegranate juice decreases amyloid load and improves behavior in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.” Neurobiology of disease 24, no. 3 (2006): 506-515.[/ref]
10. Treats Erectile Dysfunction
It’s not just Greek mythology that links pomegranates to fertility. Science does too. Research has found that the antioxidants in pomegranate can help in erectile dysfunction caused due to the accumulation of oxidative products in the erectile tissue. Consuming the juice over a long period of time also helped to increase the blood flow to the penis and improved smooth muscle relaxation and erectile response.[ref]Azadzoi, Kazem M., Risa N. Schulman, Michael Aviram, and Mike B. Siroky. “Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants.” The Journal of urology 174, no. 1 (2005): 386-393.[/ref]
According to ayurveda, pomegranate can help increase sperm count. Which is why it is considered to be spermatogenic, a property called shukrala, derived from the ayurvedic name for semen, “shukra dhatu.”[ref]Gohil, Kunal M., P. K. Prajapati, and C. R. Harisha. “Detailed Micromorphological and Pharmacognostic Evaluation of Dadima Fruit (Punica Granatum).”[/ref]
11. Has Antimicrobial Properties
Pomegranate is also being explored for its use as an antimicrobial treatment to cure fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. In fact, ayurveda considers it a “pharmacy,” since it can act against a range of microbes as an anti-parasitic agent, and a blood tonic. Its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity makes it especially important now, as antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are making it difficult to treat infections through mainstream medicine.[ref]Kasliwal, Ashwini, and Farha Quadri. “Journal of Global Biosciences.” Journal of Global Biosciences 5, no. 1 (2016): 3534-3538.[/ref] Pomegranate has been found to be effective against several common strains of pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Staphylococcus aureus and yeast like Candida albicans, which may make it effective against stomach, urinary tract, vaginal, and skin infections.[ref]Heber, David, Risa N. Schulman, and Navindra P. Seeram, eds. Pomegranates: ancient roots to modern medicine. CRC press, 2006.[/ref]
12. Improves Skin Health
You may apply a pomegranate face mask by grinding the arils or the sundried peel into a paste. Apply it an hour before you step in the sun and wash off once dry.
Pomegranate has multiple benefits for your skin, from fighting UV damage to preventing acne with its rich antioxidant store.[ref]Afaq, Farrukh, Mohammad Abu Zaid, Naghma Khan, Mark Dreher, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Protective effect of pomegranate‐derived products on UVB‐mediated damage in human reconstituted skin.” Experimental dermatology 18, no. 6 (2009): 553-561.[/ref]While its ellagic acid reduces the appearance of wrinkles, the catechins in it firm up the skin by boosting collagen synthesis.[ref]ref]Bae, Ji‐Young, Jung‐Suk Choi, Sang‐Wook Kang, Yong‐Jin Lee, Jinseu Park, and Young‐Hee Kang. “Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV‐B irradiation.” Experimental dermatology 19, no. 8 (2010): e182-e190.[/ref] [ref]Zarfeshany, Aida, Sedigheh Asgary, and Shaghayegh Haghjoo Javanmard. “Potent health effects of pomegranate.” Advanced biomedical research 3, no. 1 (2014): 100.[/ref] It is because of this collagen-boosting property that pomegranate can even heal wounds faster.[ref][ref]Yan, H., K. J. Peng, Q. L. Wang, Z. Y. Gu, Y. Q. Lu, J. Zhao, F. Xu et al. “Effect of pomegranate peel polyphenol gel on cutaneous wound healing in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” Chinese medical journal 126, no. 9 (2012): 1700-1706.[/ref]
13. Improves Dental Health
Pomegranate-based treatments have been used effectively as a topical application to control oral inflammation. They have also been helpful in reducing fungal and bacterial counts in those with periodontal disease – that is infections of the gum and tissues surrounding the teeth.[ref]Amruthesh, Sunita. “Dentistry & Ayurveda V-An evidence based approach.” International Journal of Clinical Dental Science 2, no. 1 (2011).[/ref] Research suggests that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice can even cut dental plaque buildup. The antioxidant polyphenols, ellagic acids and tannins, in the juice can avoid bacterial colony formation, thereby preventing plaque. Pomegranate also helps improve gum strength.[ref]Sowmya Kote, Dr, and Dr Sunder Kote. “Effect of pomegranate juice on dental plaque microorganisms (streptococci and lactobacilli).” Ancient science of life 31, no. 2 (2011): 49.[/ref]
No Known Side Effects
How much pomegranate you consume for therapeutic purposes will depend on the type of condition you are trying to treat. Pomegranate consumption and the use of its extracts do not appear to have any significant side effects in healthy adults. In one case as much as 1420 mg/day of the fruit extract was taken in tablet form by overweight individuals but did not result in any adverse reactions or changes to their urine or blood profiles. It is believed to not interfere with drugs. However, if you take medicines for diabetes, lowering cholesterol, or for blood-thinning, it’s best to consult a doctor before you start consuming pomegranates regularly.[ref]Zarfeshany, Aida, Sedigheh Asgary, and Shaghayegh Haghjoo Javanmard. “Potent health effects of pomegranate.” Advanced biomedical research 3, no. 1 (2014): 100.[/ref]