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12 Health Benefits of Pomegranate

12 Health Benefits of Pomegranate

Health Benefits of Pomegranate: Unveiling Nature's Treasure Trove

Written by Joe Leech, MS on August 15, 2018

Pomegranates are among the healthiest fruits on Earth, offering a plethora of beneficial plant compounds that are unmatched by other foods. Studies have demonstrated numerous advantages of incorporating pomegranates into your diet, potentially reducing the risk of various diseases. Here are 12 evidence-based health benefits of pomegranate:

1. Nutrient Powerhouse

Pomegranates, scientifically known as Punica granatum, produce red fruits categorized as berries, typically 5–12 cm (2–5 inches) in diameter. While the skin is inedible, the fruit harbors hundreds of edible seeds enclosed in a sweet, juicy covering known as an aril. Pomegranates boast an impressive nutrient profile, with one cup of arils (174 grams) containing:

  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 30% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
  • Folate: 16% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 12% of the RDI

Additionally, pomegranate arils are rich in sugar, containing 24 grams per cup, with 144 calories.

2. Powerful Plant Compounds

Pomegranates contain two unique substances that contribute to most of their health benefits:

  • Punicalagins: These potent antioxidants, found in both pomegranate juice and peel, exhibit three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea.
  • Punicic Acid: Present in pomegranate seed oil, this conjugated linoleic acid boasts significant biological effects.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Wonder

Chronic inflammation is a key driver of many serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Pomegranates possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, largely mediated by the antioxidant prowess of punicalagins. Test-tube studies have showcased their ability to reduce inflammatory activity, potentially benefiting various conditions.

4. Combatant Against Prostate Cancer

Laboratory investigations suggest that pomegranate extract may hinder the proliferation of prostate cancer cells and induce cell death. Human studies have demonstrated remarkable outcomes, with pomegranate juice substantially extending the PSA doubling time, offering promising results in the fight against prostate cancer.

5. Potential Ally in Breast Cancer Battle

Preliminary findings indicate that pomegranate extract may impede the growth of breast cancer cells, showcasing its potential as a therapeutic agent. However, further human-based research is warranted to validate these claims.

6. Blood Pressure Regulator

Pomegranate juice has been associated with significant reductions in blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure, within a mere two weeks of regular consumption. These effects are crucial in mitigating the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

7. Relief for Arthritis and Joint Pain

Given their anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranate extracts have shown promise in alleviating arthritis symptoms, potentially inhibiting enzymes known to damage joints. While animal studies have exhibited positive outcomes, human research is limited and necessitates further exploration.

8. Guardian of Heart Health

Punicic acid, the primary fatty acid in pomegranates, offers protection against several steps in the heart disease process. Human studies have demonstrated significant improvements in lipid profiles, oxidative damage protection, and blood pressure regulation, reinforcing pomegranate's role in promoting heart health.

9. Aid in Erectile Dysfunction

Oxidative damage can impair blood flow, contributing to erectile dysfunction. Pomegranate juice has shown potential in improving blood flow and erectile response, offering a natural remedy for this common issue.

10. Fighter Against Infections

The antibacterial and antifungal properties of pomegranate compounds make it a formidable adversary against harmful microorganisms. These effects extend to oral health, offering protection against gum diseases and yeast infections.

11. Booster for Memory

Studies suggest that pomegranate may enhance memory, with notable improvements observed in surgical patients and older adults. Furthermore, research in mice hints at its potential in combating Alzheimer’s disease.

12. Enhancer of Exercise Performance

Rich in dietary nitrates, pomegranate may enhance exercise performance by improving blood flow and delaying fatigue. While more research is needed, preliminary findings suggest promising outcomes for physical performance.

Omega-3 and Omega-5 Benefits

Omega-3 and omega-5 fatty acids, found abundantly in pomegranates, offer additional health benefits. These essential fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation, support heart health, and improve cognitive function. Incorporating pomegranates into your diet can provide a natural source of these beneficial nutrients, further enhancing the overall health benefits of this remarkable fruit.

The Bottom Line

Pomegranates are a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with essential nutrients, potent plant compounds, and beneficial fatty acids. Their wide-ranging health benefits encompass the reduction of numerous serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Additionally, pomegranates may boost memory and exercise performance. Whether consumed as arils or juice, integrating pomegranates into your diet can unlock their myriad health benefits.

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