One of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, the pomegranate (punica granatum) is an original native of Persia. This nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life.
The pomegranate is a nutrient dense food source rich in phytochemical compounds. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.
Amazing Clinical Results
This fantastic little fruit recently made its way back into the news after some spectacular clinical results. Here’s what you need to know:
A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.
In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals. Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans.
Also of note, pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals.
Health Benefits of the Pomegranate
- Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
- Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
- Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
- Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
- Lowers blood pressure
- Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies
- May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis
Many studies show that the pomegranate is one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health. These clinical findings clearly show a correlation between pomegranate compounds and their positive effect on both human and animal cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal health. This is one fruit that you can’t afford to exclude from your diet!
Nutrition Facts of Pomegranate
- Pomegranates are often appreciated because they are filled with more antioxidants like punicalagin than other superfoods like acai berry juice or green tea.
- Pomegranates are also high in vitamin C, with 100 ml containing 16 percent of a person’s daily requirement.
- It also contains high amounts of vitamin K that helps to support bone health and vitamin B5 that helps the body metabolize, protein, carbohydrates and fats.
- Pomegranates are filled with manganese which helps to form bone structures during the metabolic process and potassium that helps to maintain cellular functions and balance fluid levels.
- The fruit is also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. There is very little fat in a pomegranate and it does not contain cholesterol.
- The fruit only has 130-150 calories, with around 105 calories being derived from the seeds.
- These seeds are high in calories because they contain unsaturated oils, sugar and carbohydrates but there is a great deal of fiber and some protein in these seeds as well.
Benefits of Pomegranate
1. Beauty Benefits
- Regenerate Cells. Pomegranate protects the epidermis and dermis by encouraging skin cell regeneration, aiding in the repair of tissues, healing wounds and encouraging circulation to skin that is healing.
- Protect from the Sun. Consuming pomegranate provides the skin with compounds that help to protect against free radical damage which can cause sun damage, cancer and sunburn. The oil of a pomegranate contains the antioxidant ellagic acid that can help to inhibit skin tumors to protect the body from skin cancer.
- Slow Aging. Pomegranates can help to prevent hyperpigmentation, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles that are often caused by sun damage.
- Produce Youthful Skin. Because pomegranates help to soften the skin and produce additional elastin and collagen it can make your skin look more firm, smooth and youthful.
- Help with Dry Skin. Pomegranates are often added to skin care products because they have a molecular structure that can penetrate deep layers of most skin types to provide additional moisture.
- Use for Oily or Combination Skin. Oily or combination skin types that are acne prone can use pomegranate to sooth these outbreaks and minimize burns or scarring that can occur during breakouts.
2. Health Benefits
- Eliminate Free Radicals. The high levels of antioxidants like hydrolysable tannins or polyphenols in pomegranates help to minimize the effects of free radicals and remove free radicals from the body.
- Protect Cardiovascular Health. The juice can act as a blood thinner and helps to remove plaque from the arteries that will help to minimize the risk of atherosclerosis. Consuming pomegranate juice can help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
- Fight Cancer. The antioxidants in pomegranates are effective in clearing away some types of cancer, including breast, prostate and skin cancers.
- Improve Bone Quality. The enzyme inhibitors in pomegranate juice can help to prevent damage to the cartilage. It can also help to control cartilage degeneration to prevent osteoarthritis.
- Boost Digestive Condition. Pomegranate juice helps to secrete enzymes with anti-bacterial properties that aid digestion and help to fight off hemorrhoids, nausea, dysentery, intestinal parasites, piles and diarrhea. You can also use pomegranate juice as a laxative to treat constipation.
- Increase Appetite. Children that do not have a strong appetite can drink a glass of pomegranate juice to get an appetite stimulant.
- Cure Anemia. The high amounts of iron in pomegranates will raise hemoglobin levels in your blood to help correct anemia.
- Reduce Inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranates stems from its high vitamin C content that will help to manage asthma, sore throat, cough and wheezing.
- Promote Blood Circulation. Pomegranates are often used to help relieve blood clots and can help to create a more youthful appearance.
- Help Lose Weight. People are finding that pomegranates have a natural property that provides you with additional energy and cleanse the body, making it easier to lose weight.
3. More Benefits for Men
- Decrease Risk of Impotency. Those that have a risk of prostate cancer, impotency or atherosclerosis can consume the pomegranate juice to reduce these risk. The high antioxidants will help to manage arteriosclerosis that can lead to impotency and increase your risk of prostate cancer.
- Treat Prostate Cancer. Consuming pomegranates has been found to reduce prostate specific antigen in clinical trials. Research is ongoing to see if pomegranates can be used to treat people that already have localized prostate cancer. During these trials the juice was found to inhibit the growth of the cancer cells and lower its risk of metastasizing. The high phytochemicals in the juice seem to have a distinct effect on delaying and stabilizing the growth of PSA in men.
4. More Benefits for Women
- Aid in Pregnancy. Pomegranate juice is high in niacin, folic acid, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, iron and fiber that help to maintain a pregnant woman’s health and encourage cell growth. Consuming pomegranate wine instead of alcoholic beverages helps to curb the craving for these hazardous materials while preventing the damage that often comes with consuming alcohol while pregnant. Consuming pomegranate juice during pregnancy has also been fund to reduce cramps and sleep difficulties that often appear during pregnancy. It has also been found to increase blood flow to the baby which reduce she risk of brain damage.
- Inhibit Breast Cancer. Studies have found that the ellagitannins in pomegranate juice will prevent estrogen responsive breast cancer cells from growing. This phytochemical inhibits aromatase that is used to create estrogen, increasing your risk of breast cancer.