Pomegranates have numerous health benefits that many people are unaware of. From its use as an anti-inflammatory medicine to its immune-boosting capabilities, this fruit has been used since ancient times for treating various health problems.
The aim of this article is to consider some of the nutritional benefits of consuming pomegranates. Keep reading to learn!
What are pomegranates?
Pomegranate is a large round fruit with many seeds covered by a thick brownish-red rind. The fruit gets its name from a French word meaning seeded apple.
According to historical data, pomegranates are said to have first been cultivated in the Middle East, specifically in the region that is modern day Iran. The fruit was highly regarded among the Ancient Egyptians who got it from the Persians (Iranians). This is believed to be during the second millennium BC where its use was more than for food but also as medicine.
Nutritional facts of pomegranates
Pomegranate is a highly nutritional fruit. This fruit is known to be rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients needed by the body. Pomegranates are also good sources of healthy fats like omega-5 fatty acid, as well as vitamins including vitamins A, C and E. Other nutrients found in this fruit include potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, folates, folic acid, niacin, and thiamin.
Based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture database, a 100-gram serving of pomegranate juice contains 18.7 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 1.17 grams of healthy fats, 1.67 grams of protein, and no cholesterol content. This serving provides 83 Kcal of energy.
Health benefits of pomegranates
There are many health benefits of consuming pomegranate; however, for the sake of space and time, we have compiled some of the most notable nutritional benefits.
- Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants: The medicinal properties of any fruit or food are mostly due to the inherent antioxidants. These antioxidants are essential in protecting the body from the effects of free radicals that are the underlying cause for most health conditions. Two of the most prominent antioxidants in pomegranates are punicic acid and punicalagins.
- For oral health: Oral problems such as halitosis and dental caries can be prevented by consuming pomegranates. This is because pomegranates possess anti-microbial properties that combat the effects of bacteria and viruses responsible for these diseases.
- Prevention of abnormal blood clotting: Pomegranates have blood-thinning capabilities due to the presence of some antioxidants. This makes the consumption of pomegranates a healthy and effective method of treating internal blood clotting (thrombosis).
- Promotes the flow of oxygenated blood: Along with the advantage of preventing thrombosis, pomegranates also provide the benefit of promoting the free flow of oxygenated blood through the body.
- Protection from cancer: Pomegranates are rich in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants with cancer-fighting properties. These flavonoids are considered to help in the fight against cancer by neutralizing the effects of free radicals in the body. Persons with a high risk of developing prostate and breast cancer are advised to include pomegranate juice in their daily diet in order to lower the risk.
- For cardiovascular health: Pomegranates have blood-thinning capabilities that help in the prevention of clots in the arteries. Regular consumption of pomegranate juice has been linked with a significant reduction in the risk of heart problems like stroke and coronary artery disease.
- Remedy for erectile dysfunction (ED): ED refers to the inability of a man to sustain an erection. This problem can be as a result of several factors. That said, recent research studies suggest that consuming pomegranate juice can help to improve this condition in men.
- Improves libido: Along with helping to correct erectile dysfunction in men, drinking pomegranate juice can also help to increase fertility in women as well as to promote sexual desire in both sexes.
- For brain health: Studies have shown the consumption of pomegranate can help to boost memory as well as in reducing the risk of developing age-related brain disorders. Growing children can benefit from eating pomegranates or drinking the juice while aging persons can ward off Alzheimer’s disease with it.
- For digestive health: Almost every part of the pomegranate tree is beneficial to digestive health. While the leaves and bark of the tree can be used to reduce diarrhea, the juice of the fruit helps in alleviating cholera and dysentery.
- Relief for stress: A study found that cortisol levels in the body can be reduced by drinking pomegranate juice. Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with stress: the body produces more of this hormone during stress and less when calm.
- For workout energy: About 20% of pomegranates are composed of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates provide the body with energy needed for exercising. The carbohydrates in pomegranates are mostly sugars, which are healthy and safe sources of energy when compared with commercial energy drinks. Even more, the juice and pulp of the pomegranate fruit contain dietary nitrates that are beneficial in maintaining energy levels in the body during exercise.
- Remedy for constipation: Pomegranate is a rich source of dietary fiber and hence, is beneficial to constipation patients. Dietary fiber is essential for proper digestion and an insufficient amount leads to constipation. Thus, drinking pomegranate juice or eating the fruit can help to control bowel movement during constipation.
- Anti-inflammatory food: Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain can be prevented by consuming pomegranates. This is due to the anti-inflammatory property of the antioxidants present in the fruit. Furthermore, studies suggest that the intake of pomegranate can help to prevent the occurrence of inflammations in the body.
- Relief for urinary tract infection: Pomegranates are good sources of potassium, which is a known diuretic – a substance that promotes the flow of urine. This also means that the risk of urinary tract infection is reduced.
- Good for pregnant women: Pregnant women can also gain from the consumption of pomegranates. For one, the folates in the fruit are essential for the proper development of the fetus in the womb. Also, the anti-inflammatory effect of the antioxidants in pomegranate aids in fetus development. Apart from these, the potassium found in pomegranate is beneficial in preventing leg cramps during pregnancy.
- Maintenance of blood sugar levels: Despite the presence of fructose in pomegranate juice, the juice does not cause a spike in the blood glucose levels. This benefit also leads to the next one.
- Good for diabetics: Diabetes patients can also benefit from consuming pomegranates. It is suggested that the consumption of pomegranates may help in reducing the body’s resistance to insulin in diabetics. In addition, diabetics are susceptible to various heart diseases like atherosclerosis, but this risk can be effectively reduced by drinking pomegranate juice, according to research.
- Remedy for anemia: Iron-deficiency anemia can be treated by eating a healthy dose of pomegranates regularly. As the name implies, this type of anemia is caused by a deficiency in iron and can be corrected by eating iron-rich foods such as pomegranate.
- Good for the hair: Regular intake of pomegranate juice helps to promote healthy hair by stimulating the flow of nutrients to the hair follicles. Hair problems such as hair breakage and dull hair can be prevented by drinking pomegranate juice every day.
- Good for the skin: Regular consumption of pomegranate has been shown to have positive impact on the skin. For instance, drinking pomegranate juice helps to moisturize the skin, protecting it from damage. In addition, wounds can heal faster when you add pomegranates to your diet while the effects of aging on the skin can also be reduced.
- Strengthens the body immunity: Pomegranate contains anti-microbial properties that are beneficial in protecting the body against infections. Eating the fruit or drinking its juice is a quick and safe way of boosting the body’s defense system against diseases. It is even said, that, pomegranate has the greatest potential in suppressing the transmission of HIV among all the fruits.
Common side effects of consuming pomegranate
There are some possible side effects of consuming pomegranates like:
- Risk of allergic reactions: Allergic reactions like vomiting can be induced when persons with plant allergies are exposed to pomegranate. Asthma patients also have a high risk of developing allergies.
- Risk of hypotension: While pomegranate juice can help in lowering high blood pressure, the intake of this juice or the fruit with drugs that can control hypertension is not recommended. This is because the effect of pomegranate with the drugs can lead to a condition of abnormal low blood pressure or hypotension. An excessive consumption of pomegranate juice can also result in hypotension.
- Interference with medication: Besides the effect of interfering with hypertension drugs, pomegranate can also interfere with other medication like antidepressants and analgesics.
Pomegranate is a delicious fruit that has been used for ages for medicinal purposes. The many antioxidants present in the fruit are responsible for its medicinal properties. However, while the consumption of this highly nutritious fruit provides the body with essential vitamins and wards of infections, the consumption should be done moderately. In addition, you may have to consult with your doctor if you have any health condition before taking the fruit.