Pomegranate Benefits: Overview, Uses, Side Effects
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Pomegranates are fruits that are spherical and crimson in color. They have a white interior flesh that is tightly packed with edible seeds known as arils. These seeds have a crunchy texture and a juicy consistency.
These exotic fruits may be most recognized for the brightly colored juice that is frequently made from them, but they have a great deal more to offer besides that.
Pomegranates should be incorporated into your healthy eating regimen since they have the ability to benefit a wide range of areas of health, from the immune system to the health of the brain.
This article takes a look at the several dietary and health benefits associated with pomegranates.
1. Packed with nutrients
The part of the pomegranate fruit that can be consumed is known as the “arils,” and it consists of numerous little pink seeds. In spite of the fact that extracting them from the interior flesh of the fruit can be a time-consuming process, the flavor and nutritious value of the seeds make it well worth the effort.
Pomegranates, as a whole, have a low calorie and fat content but a high concentration of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also have a little bit of protein.
The following is the nutritional breakdown of the arils found inside of a typical pomegranate fruit weighing 282 grams:
- Calories: 234
- Protein: 4.7 grams
- Fat: 3.3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 52 grams
- Sugar: 38.6 grams
- Fiber: 11.3 grams
- Calcium: 28.2 mg, or 2% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 0.85 mg, or 5% of the DV
- Magnesium: 33.8 mg, or 8% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 102 mg, or 8% of the DV
- Potassium: 666 mg, or 13% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 28.8 mg, or 32% of the DV
- Folate (vitamin B9): 107 mcg, or 27% of the DV
In comparison, a serving of arils (consisting of 87 grammes) has 72 calories, 16 grammes of carbohydrates, 3.5 grammes of fibre, 1 gramme of fat, and 1.5 grammes of protein.
It is important to keep in mind that the nutritional information for pomegranate and pomegranate arils is different from that of pomegranate juice, which does not contain a significant amount of fiber or vitamin C. This holds true for fruit in general; consuming the fruit in its complete shape will result in a greater intake of fiber.
Pomegranates, when consumed in their entire fruit form, have a low calorie and fat content while simultaneously having a high concentration of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They even have a small amount of protein. You may reap the health advantages of pomegranate by eating the arils, also known as the seeds, that are contained within the fruit.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help protect the cells of your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells. Your body will always have free radicals, but having an excessive amount of them can be hazardous and contribute to a variety of chronic conditions.
The high levels of antioxidants and polyphenolic substances that can be found in pomegranates provide protection against this type of harm. Pomegranates contain a variety of bioactive chemicals, the most important of which are named punicalagins, anthocyanins, and hydrolyzable tannins. Pomegranates are known to have antioxidant activity.
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, such as pomegranates and other vegetables and fruits, is an excellent approach to maintaining one’s overall health and contributes to the prevention of disease.
Pomegranates have a wide variety of antioxidant chemicals, which are known to help protect your cells from the harm caused by free radicals.
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3. May help keep inflammation at bay
Infections and injuries can cause a normal body response in the form of temporary inflammation. Nevertheless, uncontrolled chronic inflammation can be problematic, and unfortunately, this condition is quite widespread in modern times, particularly in countries that have been Westernized.
In the absence of appropriate treatment, inflammation can play a role in the development of a wide variety of persistent diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Pomegranate consumption may help reduce the risk of chronic inflammation, which is linked to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.
This can be largely ascribed to a class of chemicals known as punicalagins, which, both in test-tube and animal experiments, have been demonstrated to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
Consuming pomegranate juice, according to the findings of research conducted on humans, can lower inflammatory indicators already present in the body.
Still, there is a need for additional research into the ways in which consuming fresh pomegranate seeds can alter inflammation in humans.
Despite the need for additional research, pomegranates contain chemicals that have the potential to help reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.
4. May have anticancer properties
Compounds present in pomegranate fruit, juice, and oil have been shown in some laboratory experiments to either aid in the destruction of cancer cells or to inhibit the progression of the disease once it has already begun.
Studies conducted on both test tubes and humans suggest that pomegranate may be able to combat inflammation and reduce the growth of cancer cells. In point of fact, research on cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, skin, and colon has shown that the fruit can inhibit the growth of tumors.
Other studies conducted on animals have shown that pomegranate extract can help prevent the formation of tumors in the early stages of liver cancer. Additionally, it assists in the suppression of inflammatory responses as well as oxidative stress.
According to the findings of an older experiment conducted in test tubes, pomegranate extract may also be effective for inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer cells or perhaps causing their death.
PSA, which stands for prostate-specific antigen, is a blood test that can detect prostate cancer. If PSA levels rapidly increase twofold in a short period of time, this is an indication of a greatly increased chance of dying from prostate cancer.
In two older studies, researchers discovered that feeding men pomegranate juice or extract dramatically prolonged the time period before their PSA levels doubled, which reduced the risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Despite this, there must be additional tests conducted on humans.
Researchers have found that pomegranate consumption reduces the risk of developing cancer. Although additional research is necessary to understand more, there is a possibility that it will reduce inflammation and prevent the growth and spread of tumors.
5. May offer heart health benefits
There is some evidence to suggest that eating fruits like pomegranate that are high in polyphenolic chemicals may be beneficial to one’s heart health.
Pomegranate extract may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the arteries, bring down blood pressure, and aid in the fight against atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. These findings come from studies conducted in test tubes.
People who already had heart disease were given one cup (220 mL) of pomegranate juice each day for a period of five days in one human research. The frequency and severity of chest pain, in well to particular biomarkers in the blood that show a preventive effect on heart health, were both dramatically reduced after drinking the juice.
However, there is a dearth of research that is of high quality on pomegranate and the health of the heart in humans.
Compounds found in pomegranate have the potential to alleviate heart-related chest pain, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation in the arteries. Additionally, these compounds may assist in the fight against plaque formation, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
6. Support urinary health
Studies conducted in both test tubes and on humans have shown that pomegranate extract may be beneficial in preventing the formation of kidney stones. This advantage can largely be due to the extract’s antioxidant activity.
Adults ages 18–70 who had experienced recurring kidney stones were administered 1,000 mg of pomegranate extract over a period of ninety days as part of one research study. It was discovered that this can assist suppress the system in the body that is responsible for the formation of stones.
In addition, research conducted on animals has shown that pomegranate extract has the ability to assist regulate the quantity of oxalates, calcium, and phosphates in the blood. Oxalates, calcium, and phosphates are frequently detected in kidney stones.
The compounds found in pomegranate have been linked to a possible reduction in kidney stones, which may be due to the antioxidant qualities of the pomegranate compounds.
7. May have antimicrobial properties
Compounds found in pomegranates have the potential to aid in the battle against pathogenic microbes like some strains of bacteria, fungus, and yeast.
For example, both older and more recent studies suggest that they may protect the health of your mouth by targeting undesirable oral germs that can become problematic when allowed to overgrow — such as ones that cause bad breath and promote tooth decay — and that they do this by inhibiting the growth of these germs.
Compounds derived from pomegranate were discovered to have antibacterial activity against Listeria monocytogenes in a study conducted in test tubes. Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that thrives in damp settings and, if consumed, can result in serious disease. Pomegranates include substances that assist in the battle against potentially hazardous bacteria, fungus, and yeasts, particularly germs in the mouth that can cause bad breath and tooth decay.
8. May improve exercise endurance
Pomegranate consumption has been linked to an increase in exercise endurance, which can be defined as the amount of time spent participating in a physical activity before becoming fatigued.
Taking just one gramme of pomegranate extract thirty minutes before going for a run was found in one human trial to increase the amount of time it took to become exhausted by 12 percent.
According to the findings of other human studies, pomegranate supplements have the ability to boost both an individual’s exercise endurance as well as their muscle recovery.
However, research conducted using pomegranate juice demonstrated no benefit for muscle recovery following exercise that targeted elbow flexors. This suggests that additional research is required on the topic of pomegranates and their effects on exercise performance and recovery.
There is some evidence that the chemicals found in pomegranates can boost both workout endurance and recovery.
9. Good for your brain
Ellagic acids, also known as ellagitannins, are found in pomegranates and have been shown to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
As a result, they offer preventive benefits for your brain against disorders that are influenced by inflammation and oxidative stress. These conditions can include Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Ellagicannins, according to the findings of certain research, may help protect the brain from developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease by lowering oxidative damage and boosting the survival of brain cells.
They also have the potential to aid in the recovery process following hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.
It is hypothesised that the ellagitannins in pomegranate contribute to the production of a chemical in the gut known as urolithin A. This substance’s ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and delay the onset of cognitive illnesses has been the subject of research.
Despite this, additional research is required to better understand the possible connection between pomegranate consumption and the health of the brain.
Compounds found in pomegranate have the potential to assist safeguard brain health, particularly in relation to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and the recovery process after sustaining a brain injury.
10. Supports digestive health
Both older and more recent studies have suggested that digestive health, which is to a large extent influenced by the bacteria that live in your gut, is highly linked to general health. As a result, it is essential to promote and maintain the health of your digestive system, and pomegranate can play a role in this endeavour (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36).
Pomegranate has been shown in both older and more recent animal experiments to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, both of which are dependent on activity in the gut and are mostly related to the fruit’s ellagic acid concentration.
Pomegranate juice has been reported to raise levels of good bacteria in the stomach, including Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, according to research conducted in test tubes, which suggests that it may have prebiotic effects.
Prebiotics are substances, mostly fibres, that act as food for the beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, that live in your digestive tract. These bacteria are able to flourish thanks to prebiotics, which also contribute to a more robust microbiome in the gut.
Pomegranate arils are also high in fibre, with approximately 3.5 grammes of this nutrient contained in a serving size of 1/2 cup (87 grammes).
Fiber is crucial for digestive health and may protect against several digestive disorders, such as constipation, haemorrhoids, colon cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and diverticulitis. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Compounds found in pomegranates have the potential to encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. The arils also have a high concentration of fibre, which provides food for the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics and helps protect against a variety of digestive disorders.
Pomegranates are fruits that are juicy and sweet, and they include arils, which are edible seeds, packed firmly inside. In addition to being high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, they also have a little amount of protein.
In addition to this, they are loaded with anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants, such as punicalagins. These have been investigated for the potential beneficial effects they may have on the health of the prostate, brain, urinary system, and heart.
Pomegranate may also have anticancer properties, as well as the ability to ward off harmful bacteria, support workout endurance, and aid in muscle repair.
Even though there hasn’t been enough research done on humans to confirm some of these purported benefits, it’s safe to conclude that adding pomegranate to your diet is not just delicious but also beneficial.