7 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Pomegranates

7 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates are red fruits with a round shape. They contain an inner white flesh loaded with crunchy, edible, and juicy seeds called arils.

Pomegranates are best known for their colored juice, but the fruits themselves have more to offer.

Pomegranates have the potential to support many aspects of human health, ranging from brain health to immunity. They are worth adding to your daily diet would be an understatement.

This article highlights seven nutritional and health benefits of pomegranates.

1.     Pomegranates are densely packed with nutrients

A typical pomegranate contains tiny pink seeds called arils. The arils are the edible portion of the fruit. Yes, removing the arils from the fruit may be labor-intensive, but their flavor and nutritional profile are worth the investment.

Overall, pomegranates are high in vitamins, fiber, and minerals but low in fat and calories. They also contain some protein.

A 282-gram of pomegranate fruit contains the following nutrients (1):

  • 234 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fat
  • 52 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 6 grams of sugar
  • 102 mg of phosphorus
  • 2 mg of calcium
  • 85 mg of iron
  • 666 mg of potassium
  • 8 mg of magnesium
  • 8 mg of vitamin C
  • 107 mcg of folate

Never forget that the nutritional profile of pomegranate and arils differs from that of pomegranate juice, which contains minimal vitamin C or fiber (2).

 

2.    Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. You cannot eliminate free radicals from your body, but having too many of them can put you at risk of many chronic diseases (3).

Pomegranates are also rich in polyphenolic compounds and antioxidants that protect your body from damage by free radicals. The major bioactive compounds in pomegranates include anthocyanins, punicalagin, and hydrolyzable tannins (4, 5, 6).

 

3.    Pomegranates may help prevent chronic inflammation

The human body usually responds to injury and infection via short-term inflammation. On the other hand, chronic inflammation may occur and be a problem if left untreated. It is important to note that chronic inflammation is widespread in Western countries.

If inflammation is left untreated, it can trigger many chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer (7).

This is attributed to punicalagin – compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds (8, 9, 10).

 

4.    Pomegranates have anticancer properties

Several test-tube studies have found that the compounds present in the juice, oil, and pomegranate fruit can kill cancer cells or slow their spread in the body (5, 11, 12).

Both human and test-tube studies indicate that pomegranate can fight inflammation and slow the growth of cancer cells. In addition, the fruit of pomegranate has been shown to have anti-tumor effects in breast, lung, colon, skin, and prostate cancers (5).

Other studies have found that pomegranate slows tumor growth in the early stages of liver cancer. It also suppresses oxidative stress and inflammatory responses (13).

A test-tube study has shown that extract from pomegranate may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells (14).

 

5.    It is beneficial to heart health

There is evidence that pomegranate and other fruits rich in polyphenolic compounds may benefit heart health (4, 6).

Results from test-tube studies have found that pomegranate extract may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, fight atherosclerosis, and lower blood pressure (4).

 

6.    It supports kidney health

Human and test-tube studies have found that pomegranate extract may reduce the formation of kidney stones. This immense benefit is attributed to its antioxidant activity.

In a particular study, adults aged 18 – 70 experiencing recurrent kidney stones took 1,000mg of pomegranate extract for 90 days. The study showed that the pomegranate extract inhibited the mechanism by which kidney stones are formed in the body (15).

Also, animal studies have found that pomegranate extract can regulate the concentration of calcium, phosphates, and oxalates in the blood, which are essential components of kidney stones (16).

 

7.     Pomegranates have antimicrobial properties

Pomegranates contain compounds that fight off harmful bacteria, yeasts, and fungi – especially germs in the mouth that can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Newer and older studies suggest that the antimicrobial properties of pomegranates may protect the health of your mouth by targeting unwanted oral microbes such as the ones that can cause bad breath and promote tooth decay (17, 18, 19).

 

Takeaway

Pomegranates are sweet, juicy fruits with edible seeds called arils. These arils are tightly packed inside the fruit. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and contain some protein.

Pomegranates are also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, including punicalagin. Punicalagins have protective benefits for the heart, brain, urinary system, prostate, and digestive system.

Pomegranate also has anticancer benefits, supports muscle recovery and endurance exercise, and fights harmful germs.

It is safe to say that this fruit is tasty and should be added to your diet.

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