12 Health Benefits of Pomegranate
If you are looking for a new favorite fruit that is also incredibly healthy, then choose pomegranate. While not as well-known as other fruits like apples or oranges, pomegranates actually have more benefits for the body compared to these fruits. If you need reasons to try this super fruit out, here are 12 of them.
How To Eat Pomegranate
This fruit is definitely more complicated to eat compared to simple berries or apples, but all the effort you put into opening this fruit is definitely worth it. Of course, there is also an easier way to enjoy all of the pomegranate vitamins without the hassle, thanks to the easy availability of pomegranate juice.
If you prefer to enjoy it in its original form, then you will need to give a bit of effort to eat it. First of all, pomegranates are officially classified as a berry but the fruit looks more like an apple because of its color and side.
To eat it, you will need to get rid of the skin (which is very thick and inedible) to get to the seeds inside. The seeds, on the other hand, are edible and are surrounded by the aril, which is the red and sweet covering. Many people are always wondering, whether can you eat pomegranate seeds or not and the answer is yes. It needs to be eaten raw or processed into juice, though.
Benefits of Eating Pomegranate
Pomegranates Are Great Sources of Nutrients
Pomegranates have tons of good stuff that your body needs. For every one cup of aril, there are 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 30% of the recommended dietary intake (RDIs). It also contains more or less one-third of the RDI for Vitamin K and C. Lastly, it has 12% of potassium and 16% of monthly RDI for folate.
The health benefits of pomegranate do not end here. The same amount of arils contains 24 grams of sugar and 144 calories. It also has tons of plant compounds that can be used medically.
They Have These Important Plant Compounds
Pomegranate has 2 different substances that boast medicinal properties. The first, Punicalagins, is so potent that in juice form, they have been found to contain 3 times more antioxidant activity compared to green tea or red wine. The secret lies in the fact that pomegranate powder and extract are created from the peel, which contains more punicalagin.
The second compound, punicic acid, is found in pomegranate seed oil. This acid, which is part of the aril, is a kind of conjugated linoleic acid that has tons of biological benefits.
It Handles Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is what causes many people to develop serious medical issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Pomegranate arils are also great at treating inflammation, thanks to the plant compounds present in them.
Studies have proven pomegranate to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, including colon cancer and breast cancer cells. In diabetes patients, consumption of 250mL juice daily led to lower CRP and interleukin-6 inflammatory markers by as much as 32% and 30%.
Pomegranate Can Help You Fight Prostate Cancer
This cancer is one of the most common in men but the answer to “is pomegranate juice good for you“ is yes for those fighting prostate cancer. Specifically, the extract slows the reproduction of cancer cells and may even induce cell death or apoptosis.
A study tracked levels of PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which is a marker for prostate cancer. Double levels can lead to death from cancer but drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice pushed the time of PSA doubling from 15 to 54 months. The same results were found when patients ingested a pomegranate extract called POMx.
Pomegranate Stops The Growth Of Or Kills Breast Cancer Cells
Lab studies are showing promising results that the most common kind of cancer in women, breast cancer, can also be inhibited or even reversed by pomegranate. It does so by stopping the production of new breast cancer cells and even killing them. However, these are preliminary studies and more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of the fruit.
It Lowers Blood Pressure
Pomegranate nutrition is well documented but beyond being good for health, it can contribute to good health. Specifically, it can lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. In fact, studies show that even a 5-ounce intake of pomegranate juice daily for only 2 weeks has led to a significant change in blood pressure. This is supported by other studies that prove the effect of pomegranate on the systolic blood pressure.
Pomegranate Is Good For Your Joints
Arthritis sufferers might benefit from drinking or eating a pomegranate, specifically because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Joint inflammation is common in many cases of arthritis. Moreover, studies have shown that pomegranate extract is successful at blocking certain enzymes that damage the joints of osteoarthritis patients. Studies in mice have shown more benefits though more research on humans is required.
It Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
The punicic acid in pomegranate is great for the heart. Considering that heart disease is one of the top causes of early death, you can benefit a lot from eating or drinking pomegranate. Studies have shown that an intake of 800 mg pomegranate seed oil daily led to a huge decrease in triglycerides and a better triglyceride-HDL ratio. In fact, for patients with both high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes, levels of bad LDL cholesterol went down significantly.
Moreover, pomegranate juice stops the oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles, which lowers the risk of heart disease. It also reduces high blood pressure, making this fruit truly a friend of the heart.
Pomegranate Treats Erectile Dysfunction
One of the causes of erectile dysfunction is impaired blood flow to erectile tissue, caused by oxidative damage. Studies have shown that in rabbits, pomegranate juice has helped in better blood flow and erectile response. However, in a similar study on men, the benefit has not been found to be statistically significant. Thus, more research is required to truly prove its benefits.
Pomegranate Fights Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Pomegranate has the right plant compounds to fight microorganisms, including bacteria like Candida albicans. Thanks to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, it can be helpful in fighting against infection and inflammation in the mouth. This means it fights periodontitis, gingivitis, and denture stomatitis.
It Is Good For Your Memory
Studies have suggested that pomegranate improves memory. Specifically, in one study, 2 grams of pomegranate extract prevented memory deficits after undergoing surgery. In another study, patients with memory issues have improved their markers for visual and verbal memory just by drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate daily. In fact, studies in mice suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can be reversed by pomegranate.
Pomegranate Improves Your Exercise Performance
Pomegranate is a good source of dietary nitrates, which has been proven to be beneficial for exercise performance. Just one gram of pomegranate extract half an hour before exercising has led to significantly enhanced blood flow. This means you will feel less fatigued and experience better exercise efficiency. While more studies are required, pomegranate is believed to be as beneficial to physical performance as beets.
How To Buy Pomegranates
Now that you are convinced of the numerous health benefits of pomegranates, you can start adding them to your weekly grocery list. To find the best ones, go for fruits with a deep red color, glossy and blemish-free skin. When you scratch the skin gently and find that it’s soft, then it is most likely ripe enough.
Store it at home in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. You may also keep it in the fridge for as long as 2 months. However, once the skin is cracked open, you need to store it in the fridge and consume within 5 days. You may also keep the arils in the freezer for up to a year.
If you find preparing fresh pomegranate fruit too laborious and time-consuming, there are alternatives to enjoying its health benefits. For example, pomegranate juice is widely available in supermarkets. However, make sure you check the labels for any added sugar or other stuff mixed with it. These will significantly reduce its health benefits.
Instead, you can opt for pomegranate extract, which is a concentrated version of the juice. Because of this, you benefit from a concentrated dose. They are available in liquid form or as a supplement. But most of the fiber is removed from the extract or juice so you will not feel as full as when you eat the fresh fruit.
A rich diet full of fruits and vegetables is important for great health, so you should add these more exotic fruits like pomegranate into your grocery list. When you do so, you will benefit from tons of health benefits that ensure a great quality of life free of disease. Even one cup of pomegranate can already deliver huge improvements.