The pomegranate fruit comes from a deciduous shrub. Its botanical name is Punica Granatum. These shrubs mainly grow in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.
Pomegranate comes under the classification of berries and has a flower-shaped stem. Its bright red colour and tart taste are some of its attractive features. The pH of a pomegranate is about 4.4, which explains its sweet and sour taste.
Physical Structure of a Pomegranate
The pomegranate shrub is grown for ornamental purposes as well as for the fruit. The flowers of the plant are bright red too. The structure of a pomegranate is unlike other fruits with flesh and a core. The outermost red layer is a hard and inedible shell. Therefore, the edible part of the fruit is the seeds and arils.
Arils are the sweet, juicy, and crunchy covering of seeds. A white spongy layer acts as bedding for these arils and covers the remaining space. The seed count varies from 200 to 1400, depending on the type of Pomegranate.
The aril juice has a red pigmentation that can stain clothes. The reason is that Pomegranate contains anthocyanins and ellagitannins.
Nutritional Value of Pomegranate
One hundred grams of pomegranate arils contain the following nutrients.
Nutritional Facts of Pomegranate
- 78% of the Pomegranate’s composition is water. It has around 19 g of carbs, of which dietary fibre contributes 4 g. The fibre content is intact in the seeds and makes up for 20% of the daily value. It has a decent 83 calories for a 10-gram serving.
- Pomegranates have abundant phytochemicals like polyphenols. However, processing and pasteurising the fruit reduces its phenolic activity.
- Pomegranates are rich in ellagitannins, also known as punicalagin. They are potent antioxidants that make the fruit stand out in front of the rest. Pomegranate contains three times more antioxidants than green tea and red wine.
- Pomegranate peel extracts are crucial dietary supplements and preservatives. They contain large amounts of polyphenols, catechins, and condensed tannins.
- The seeds of the fruit give an oil that is rich in punicic acid. It is a type of good fat that makes up about 65% of the oil’s composition. These fats have multiple health benefits.
- High amounts of vitamin K, C, and folate (B9) make the vitamin profile. In addition, a significant amount of vitamin E is present in this fruit. In addition, riboflavin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid are also present.
- The mineral content of pomegranates is rich in manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. More negligible traces of iron and calcium make it to the list too.
- Vitamin K makes up 16% of daily value and vitamin C for 12%.
10 Proven Health Benefits of Pomegranate
1. Pomegranate Lowers Blood Pressure
A study shows that the regular consumption of pomegranate juice reduces hypertension. However, it is primarily known to regulate systolic blood pressure.
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According to this one human research, people with hypertension who consumed 150 ml of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks had a substantial drop in blood pressure.
2. Pomegranate has cancer-preventing properties.
The preliminary results of some studies show that Pomegranate can reduce the growth of cancer cells. In addition, pomegranate extract has been shown in lab experiments to decrease cancer cell reproduction. It even triggers apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells.
Its properties inhibit prostate and breast cancer cells from increasing. In a human trial, consuming 8 ounces (237 ml) of pomegranate juice every day extended the time it took for PSA to double from 15 months to 54 months, a significant increase.
Pomegranate extract prevents the formation of breast cancer cells. In addition, it stops them from reproducing and even kills some of them, as per several studies.
3. Contains anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Pomegranate can lower inflammatory activity in the digestive system, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells, according to test-tube research.
Punicalagin in pomegranates is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, all antioxidants have potent anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study, these help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract in specific.
One 12-week trial indicated that drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice per day reduced the inflammatory markers CRP and interleukin-6 by 32% and 30%, respectively, in patients with diabetes.
4. Pomegranate Helps with arthritis.
Swelling of joints is common in those who have arthritis. Pomegranate extract treats arthritis in rats as per this study. However, there is very little data from human studies thus far.
The anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranates help to calm down any inflammation. Studies also show that pomegranates are successful in inhibiting enzymes that cause damage to joints. Therefore, it can help treat osteoarthritis effectively.
5. Promotes healthy heart functioning
Pomegranates are one of the top heart-friendly fruits. The major fatty acid in pomegranates, punicic acid, may help protect against numerous stages of the heart disease process. It helps to protect the heart from several steps of heart disease.
According to one study, pomegranate juice lowers blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease.
6. Pomegranate Lowers cholesterol
Certain studies prove that Pomegranate reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the body. For example, a study for four weeks demonstrates that. The research finding says 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil per day reduced triglycerides. It also improved the triglyceride-HDL ratio in 51 persons with high triglyceride levels.
It also says that it protects this cholesterol from oxidising. The oxidation step is one of the main reasons for heart diseases.
7. Fights bacterial and fungal infections
According to a study, Pomegranate can fight certain types of harmful bacteria and yeast Candida albicans.
The potent plant compounds in pomegranates can combat dangerous microorganisms. These properties may prevent oral infections. Several studies show that gingivitis and denture stomatitis improve.
8. Pomegranate May cure erectile dysfunction
Pomegranate increases blood flow throughout the body. A study on rabbits shows an increase in erectile response after consuming pomegranates.
Pomegranate proved to offer some effect in a trial of 53 males with erectile dysfunction, although it is not statistically significant.
9. Pomegranate Enhances memory
There are some proofs to link Pomegranate with enhancing memory power. In addition, Pomegranate assisted mice fight Alzheimer’s disease in studies.
Regular consumption of the fruit reduces the post-surgery deficit in memory, as noted in this study. Therefore, older adults with memory issues can drink pomegranate juice regularly.
Another research indicated that drinking 237 ml of pomegranate juice per day enhanced verbal and visual memory indicators in 28 older persons with memory problems.
10. Pomegranate Increases physical performance.
Similar to beetroots, pomegranates promote better physical performance.
It helps delay fatigue after exercising. Studying a group of athletes’ efficiency post-workout elucidated this effect of Pomegranate. Consuming a gram of pomegranate extract showed a significant increase in their exercise efficiency.
Uses of Pomegranate
- The Ayurveda medicinal system talks highly of pomegranates as a home remedy.
- Its flavour goes well with baking, syrups, food garnishes, and cold beverages.
- The dried seeds make a spice in Indian and Pakistani cuisine.
- Turkish cuisine uses pomegranates for marinating meat and dressing salads.
- Middle Eastern countries use fruit juice as a glaze for lamb kebabs.
- Therefore, its culinary uses are immense.
Apart from its modern-day uses, Pomegranate finds its importance in symbolism and art. Many ancient motifs depict pomegranates on mosaics and walls. In addition, the fruit is a symbol of prosperity, ambition, and fertility.
Ways to Consume Pomegranate
A simple and healthy way of including Pomegranates is to eat them raw. Pomegranate arils taste great on their own. However, removing them from its outer layer may get tricky. Cut the fruit in half. Hold a piece over a bowl such that the arils are facing the bowl.
Tap the fruit firmly a couple of times till the arils drop into the bowl. Another effective method is to score the fruit with a knife.
- Add pomegranates to salads. The crunchy and sweet arils give an exciting twist in taste. Pair it up with feta cheese, veggies, and nuts. You can also add them to fruit salads for a healthy dessert option.
- It serves as a dessert garnish. Use it as a topping for yoghurt and parfait. It goes well as an ice cream topping too.
- Pomegranate juice is a highly popular way of consuming fruit. Those who do not prefer the seed taste can grind it into a juice. Then, add some milk to get a smoothie type of consistency. Always opt for a fresh pomegranate juice. The processed version reduces its nutritional value.
- Make a dipping sauce out of it. Reduce pomegranate juice on heat and add some spices and extra sugar. The thickened sauce serves a dip for meat and shrimp.
- The juice finds its use as a marinade as well. The sweet and sour taste of Pomegranate enhances the flavour of meats.
- Start your mornings with a cup of oatmeal or cereal topped with pomegranate arils. The combination of soft oats and crunchy arils is delicious.
- Use pomegranates as a topping on pizzas. It gives a unique flavour to it.
Pomegranates are a super fruit. It is water-based and contains minimal calories. The peels and the edible part called arils are rich in nutrients and plant compounds. It is a popular fruit in Ayurveda medicines. Pomegranates also find their significance through ancient art and symbolism.
Healthy Recipes from Pomegranate
1. Pomegranate Blueberry Banana Smoothie
- Serves: 1
- Preparation Time: 5 minutes
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup yoghurt
- One banana, chopped
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 cup spinach
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- You may use any yoghurt you want and whatever milk you like (coconut milk, regular milk, soy milk, etc.).
- You can also add protein powder if you wish to use this as your pre-workout drink.
- In a blender, combine all of the ingredients in the order stated. Blend until completely smooth.
- Serve the smoothies cold, so add in a few ice cubes during or after blending.
2. Coconut and Pomegranate Acai Bowl
- Serves: 1
- Preparation Time: 10 minutes
- One banana, chopped
- One packet of acai puree
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp grated coconut
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- Hit the acai puree on the countertop to help it break apart before putting it in the blender.
- In a high-powered blender, blend the banana, acai package, and milk until smooth. Feel free to use any milk of your choice.
- Fill a bowl halfway with the mixture and top with the remaining ingredients. Get creative with the topping placements to jazz it up.
3. Mango Pomegranate Salsa
- Serves: 3
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup mango, diced
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 4 tbsp cilantro, minced
- One lime, juice and zest
- Salt, to taste,
- Pepper, to taste
- One jalapeno, minced
- One green onion, thinly sliced
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- To avoid browning, serve within a few hours.
4. Pomegranate Pistachio Granola
- Serves: 16
- Preparation Time: 50 minutes
- 3 ½ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup puffed rice
- 1 cup pistachios, raw
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla essence.
- Meanwhile, combine the oats, puffed rice, pistachios, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Over the oats, pour the heated oil syrup mixture.
- Cover a large baking tray with foil and pour the oats on top, spreading them evenly with a spatula.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until brown.
- If you mix this while it’s baking or cooling, the clusters will disintegrate. So, leave it alone and let it cool.
- Allow it to cool fully before breaking up into clusters and sprinkling with pomegranate seeds.
- To eat over time, store in an airtight container.
5. Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Serves: 1-2
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- One chicken breast, cooked and chopped/shredded
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup walnut halves, chopped
- One green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup yoghurt
- 2 ½ tsp honey
- 1 tsp mustard
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Lettuce leaves, preferably ones with big leaves
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yoghurt, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Mix the chicken, pomegranate seeds, chopped pecans, and green onion.
- Make sure not to mix the solids to the point of making a mash out of them. Mix them lightly.
- Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed before scooping onto lettuce leaves and serving.
- The chicken salad will last 3-4 days in the fridge. So, this meal can also be helpful while meal prepping for the week.
Consuming pomegranates regularly can cure many diseases. Cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and heart ailments are some of them. In addition, some studies say that pomegranates have the power to reduce cancer cells. However, more scientific proof is necessary to support this claim.
The reason for its many benefits are two of its unique components; Punicalagins and punicic acid. Punicalagins are potent antioxidants, and the latter is a form of good fat.
Its sweet and slightly sour taste combines well with salads and meat. In addition, it acts as a flavourful topping that goes well with almost every food item.
Moreover, its memory-enhancing quality and anti-inflammatory properties make it an optimal addition to your diet. Eat pomegranate arils raw or drink its natural juice to obtain its many benefits.
Pomegranate – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does Pomegranate help in weight loss?
A. Pomegranates have many qualities that make them a good choice of fruit for weight loss. One hundred grams of arils contains only 83 calories. These limited amounts of calories will help to keep your daily calorie limit in control.
Its high fibre content keeps you full for a longer time. It prevents overeating. The polyphenols in pomegranates are natural fat burners. Overall, incorporating pomegranates into your diet will aid in losing weight.
Q. Can Pomegranate help to increase blood count in the body?
A. Pomegranates are one of the best fruits for increasing blood count. It is rich in iron, vitamin A, C, and E. Pomegranates contain ascorbic acid. This acid further promotes iron content in the body.
It increases the haemoglobin level significantly. Consume pomegranate juice every day to see optimum benefits.
Q. Can Pomegranate treat skin disorders?
A. Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C that improve skin issues. Vitamin C reduces roughness, pigmentation, and dullness. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to cure acne and zits. In addition, Pomegranates fight fungal or bacterial infections.
It protects the skin from sun damage that can lead to various skin disorders. In addition, the antioxidants prevent cells from oxidative damage.
Q. Can diabetic patients consume Pomegranate?
A. Pomegranates are known to increase insulin sensitivity. Moreover, its rich antioxidant content can cure chronic illnesses like diabetes. In addition, regular consumption of pomegranates reduces bad cholesterol in diabetic patients.
Its low carbohydrate content will ensure a sudden spike in blood sugars does not occur. Hence, pomegranates are safe and beneficial for diabetic patients.
Q. Can pomegranate juice be consumed on an empty stomach?
A. Drinking pomegranate juice on an empty stomach is entirely safe. It is a water-based fruit that also contains electrolytes. Hence pomegranate juice can hydrate your body first thing in the morning.
Many of its nutrients get absorbed on an empty stomach. So, ideally, drinking pomegranate juice on an empty stomach is better than any other time of the day.
Q. What is the benefit of Pomegranate?
A. Pomegranates help lower blood pressure, contain cancer-preventing properties and are anti-inflammatory. In addition, it helps with heart problems and cholesterol, treat bacterial and fungal infections, aid memory, and improve physical performance.
Q. What happens if we eat Pomegranate daily?
A. Pomegranates, in general, have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the human body from ailments such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. In addition, pomegranate aids in gut health, digestion, and the prevention of bowel illnesses.
Q. Why is Pomegranate bad for you?
A. Pomegranate may interact with blood pressure and cholesterol drugs, such as statins, unfavourably.
Q. Is Pomegranate high in sugar?
A. Pomegranates have 14g of sugar per 100g, but don’t let that deter you. Pomegranates also include 7g of fibre, g of protein, and 30% of the necessary daily vitamin C intake in 100g.
Q. Which is the best time to eat Pomegranate?
A. Morning is the best time to consume Pomegranate. Pomegranate seeds are high in calories and can help with anaemia. So have them in the morning for energy. One should consume pomegranates before lunchtime.
Q. What are the side effects of eating Pomegranate?
A. Pomegranate extract has caused sensitivity in some persons. Itching, swelling, a runny nose, and trouble breathing are all signs of sensitivity. In addition, pomegranate roots, stems, and peels may be harmful if consumed in significant quantities.
Q. Do you chew pomegranate seeds?
A. It’s easiest to consume pomegranate seeds and arils together. The seeds, as well as the luscious arils, are perfectly safe to chew and consume.
Q. What is the best way to eat a pomegranate?
A. Some of the best ways to consume Pomegranate are tossing them into a salad or using them for garnish for desserts. One can also make them into a dipping sauce and use them as a marinade.
Q. Is it OK to eat Pomegranate at night?
A. Pomegranate consumption supports good sleep patterns and makes it easier to fall asleep.
Q. How many pomegranates should you eat per day?
A. You can consume about 1 cup of pomegranate seeds per day. They are a low-calorie way of hitting the recommended fruit intake per day.
Q. Is Pomegranate good for the kidney?
A. Consuming pomegranate juice may reduce the chance of kidney patients acquiring cardiovascular disease due to its high antioxidant content.
Q. Does Pomegranate have vitamin C?
A. Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and several other essential elements. One Pomegranate provides roughly 28 mg of vitamin C, about half of the necessary daily amount.
Q. Which is better: pomegranate seeds or juice?
A. Whole fruit is often healthier than fruit juice. Eating the fruit instead of drinking the juice is always recommended to get the most antioxidants and heart-healthy fibre.
Q. Is it better to eat Pomegranate or drink juice?
A. In the case of any fruit, you won’t obtain the fibre found in whole fruit in juice. Fibre’s health advantages include aiding digestion, blood sugar regulation, and cholesterol reduction. Fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer, which is a significant benefit of whole fruits, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
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