If you have never encountered pomegranates before, their bold, unique appearance may be intimidating. Peel through their thick surface, and the inner, small seeds may even appear delicate. But do not let the small size fool you, as the seeds and juice they offer are nutritionally mighty! And with these wonderful benefits of pomegranate, you may just be convinced to dig a little deeper into their use!
What Is a Pomegranate?
A pomegranate is a fruit-bearing shrub, growing up to 33 feet high and displaying spiny branches. The produced fruit is roughly the size of an orange and sports an uneven six sides, with its thick skin varying between a brownish yellow to a ruby red color. When unraveling the external layer, noticeable chambers separate the arils, or the seedpods we know as pomegranate seeds. The seeds are edible in their raw form and may be further processed into pomegranate juice, which may ultimately be used in the kitchen. But their culinary incorporation offers much more than crunch and flavor, but a plethora of health benefits related to their nutritional profile. Most prominent pomegranate nutrients include vitamins K, C, and B6, folate, potassium, and phosphorus but also contain punicalagins and punicic acid, powerful antioxidants found in both the peel and juice. In fact, pomegranate juice is more potent than commonly recognized antioxidants, including acai, blueberry, and green tea, contributing to their desirability that much greater!
The 8 Wonderful Benefits of Pomegranate
1. Improves Digestion
A whole pomegranate can offer an approximate 11 grams of fiber, up to almost 30 and 45 percent of recommended daily intake for males and females, respectively. Considering fiber’s large role in digestion, consuming the edible seeds of pomegranates can assist in bowel regularity and may reduce digestive conditions.
2. Curbs Hunger
Also related to its high fiber content, consuming pomegranates may help you feel fuller longer. Curbing both hunger and appetite is essential in keeping calories in check, therefore facilitating weight loss or fostering weight maintenance.
3. Supports Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., with its awareness flaunted in red color much like pomegranates’ ruby red appearance. Coincidence? Scientific proof suggests not. Most prominently related to its rich punicic acid content, evidence suggests drinking a half glass of pomegranate juice reduces both cholesterol and blood pressure. Its potassium content further supports cardiovascular health.
4. Fights Against Cancer
High antioxidant-containing foods are promoted to reduce cancer risk, with the powerful pomegranate demonstrating to be a significant contributor. In fact, early research suggests pomegranate juice can slow down the progression of cancer, specifically prostate, breast, colon, and lung cancers.
5. Promotes Anti-Aging
The potent antioxidant content, particularly related to punicalagins, may prevent against premature aging. Additionally, its high vitamin C content can help strengthen skin collagen and make skin look and feel younger.
6. Relieves Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing stiffness, pain, swelling, and reduce range or motion. Pomegranates contain anti-inflammatory properties, which may counteract and relieve arthritis pain. Additionally, studies have suggested pomegranate extract may block an enzyme shown to damage joints in individuals affected with osteoarthritis.
7. Reduces Dental Caries
While the seeds or spoonful of juice should not take the place of daily dental hygiene practices, pomegranates may be a beneficial regimen. Its antibacterial quantities may reduce dental plaque, in turn lessening the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
8. Improves Exercise Performance
In its juice form, research has shown pomegranates may actually improve exercise performance by improving blood circulation and flow. Data further suggests pomegranate juice improves isometric strength and may promote greater muscle recovery, ultimately allowing athletes the opportunity to maintain a comfortable exercise regimen.
Effects of Differing Dosages of Pomegranate Juice Supplement after Eccentric Exercise. Physiology Journal. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/archive/2014/271959/.