Pomegranates have been a popular fruit in the Middle East, India and other Asian countries for some time. However, they are growing in popularity around the world, owing to their many health benefits and rich nutritional value.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber as well as vitamins C, K and several B vitamins. Other nutrients include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, manganese, selenium and zinc. The fruit is also a good source of omega-6 fatty acids.
The arils, as well as the rind, have many medicinal benefits due to the antioxidants in them, such as polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
They also have antiviral, antitumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Being relatively low in calories, this fruit can be enjoyed by anyone watching their weight.
The arils or seed pods can be eaten raw or made into juice. The juice has a distinctly tart flavor. The arils can also be added to soup, savory dishes, smoothies and desserts. The seeds are also used to make oil, which has many cosmetic and health benefits.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of pomegranates.
1. Heart Healthy
Pomegranates are good for your heart. They help improve blood flow to the heart and clear clogged arteries. They offer anti-atherogenic benefit and reduce the growth of plaque formation, thanks to their rich polyphenol content.
In fact, according to a 2005 study conducted at the University of Naples in Italy, dark pomegranate juice helps in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.
Moreover, a 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that in take of 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil can reduce triglycerides and improve high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio.
To boost heart health, drink 1 glass of freshly extracted pomegranate juice daily. You can also eat 1 to 2 cups of pomegranate seeds.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
Pomegranates are good for people dealing with high blood pressure, also called hypertension. The high antioxidants, vitamin C and polyphenols stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which keeps blood flowing and arteries open.
They even reduce existing plaque formations in the arteries, which in turn reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
A 2011 study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practices says that pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure.
A later 2013 study published in ARYA Atherosclerosis concludes that intake of pomegranate juice could be considered in the context of both dietary and pharmacological interventions for hypertension.
- Drink a glass of freshly extracted pomegranate juice daily.
- Also, make fruit salads and smoothies with pomegranates.
Note: Keep monitoring your blood pressure level when taking pomegranates to lower blood pressure, especially when taking blood pressure medication.
3. Relieves Joint and Arthritis Pain
Joint and arthritis pain is a major problem among old people, especially women. To get relief from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and overall joint pain, include pomegranates in your diet.
Pomegranates have anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties that help block enzymes known to damage joints and cause pain and stiffness.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition reports that pomegranate fruit extract contains certain compounds that block enzymes that can cause joint damage.
A 2011 study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal concludes that daily intake of pomegranates decreases serum oxidative stress and reduces disease activity in mice with active rheumatoid arthritis. More research needs to be done on humans.
- Drink a glass of pomegranate juice daily. However, if taking medicines, always consult your doctor first.
- Also, mix equal amounts of pomegranate seed oil with any carrier oil and use it to massage painful joints once or twice daily.
4. Fights Anemia Symptoms
This superfood is even beneficial for those suffering from iron-deficiency anemia. The iron in pomegranates increases red blood cell count.
This leads to an increase in hemoglobin in the blood and even promotes healthy blood flow. Plus, the high amount of vitamin C in them aids the body in absorption of iron.
A 2015 study published in Lifescience Global highlights the pomegranate’s potential role as a nutritional supplement in iron-deficiency anemia management.
Another 2013 study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry reports that pomegranate seed extract helps decrease anemic symptoms, including fatigue, wooziness and weakness.
- When suffering from anemia, drink a cup of pomegranate juice daily with your breakfast.
- Another option is to add 2 teaspoons of dried pomegranate seed powder to a glass of warm milk and drink it once or twice daily.
5. Aids in Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Another benefit of pomegranates includes protection against cancer. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties offer preventive cancer effects in the body.
They exert antitumor effects on various types of cancer cells, especially for prostate, breast, lung and skin cancer.
A 2012 study published in ISRN Pharmaceutics reports that cytotoxic activities of pomegranate extract is likely to be valuable for the treatment of prostate cell line by induction of apoptosis.
Many studies have proven the positive effect of pomegranates on prevention and treatment of breast cancer. A 2014 study published in Molecular Carcinogenesis highlights the anti-proliferative effects of pomegranate extract in breast cancer cells.
Earlier, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food also emphasized the antioxidant potency of pomegranate peel that helps reduce cell proliferation and induce apoptosis on breast cancer.
It is even effective at treating and preventing lung and skin cancer. Thus, including pomegranates in your diet is important if you have a higher risk for cancer.
6. Improves Memory
Pomegranates can also improve memory as well as prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. The polyphenols in them are thought to provide positive cognitive benefits.
A 2013 study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that daily intake of pomegranate juice improves memory and functional brain activity in middle-aged and older adults with mild memory complaints.
Earlier, a 2006 study published in Neurobiology of Disease reported that pomegranate juice reduced the accumulation and deposition of amyloid in the brain by 50 percent in mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Further research needs to be done on humans.