It’s pomegranate season! This fruit, known since the Ancient Times as a symbol of fertility and abundance, has now hit the mainstream in the U.S. because of its alleged health benefits (and taste). But is pomegranate a true superfood, and where does all this hype come from? Let’s have a look at the top 10 benefits of pomegranates.🍃
10 Benefits of Pomegranates: improve your health with pomegranates!
Pomegranates are great for boosting our immunity, helping us feel more energized, and taking care of our urinary and digestive systems. Here are the top 10 benefits of pomegranates!
1. A powerhouse of antioxidants
Pomegranates are a true powerhouse of antioxidants, compounds that can help protect our cells from the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In particular, pomegranates contain polyphenols, among which are anthocyanins, and tannins. All of them have proven particularly beneficial in protecting the heart and strengthening the cardiovascular system.
In addition, pomegranates are rich in vitamin C (half a cup provides around 9 milligrams of vitamin C, around 10% of the recommended daily dose), a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in protein metabolism, collagen synthesis, iron absorption, and neurotransmitter production.
2. Better digestive health
With around 11 grams of fiber in a medium-sized fruit (most of which is insoluble), pomegranates provide nearly 15% of the recommended daily value of fiber for adults. Insoluble fiber is essential in promoting the optimal functioning of our digestive tracts and keeping things going (IYKYK 🤣). In addition, fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels and help us feel full and satisfied for longer after our meals.
3. Boost your immunity
As said before, pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which contribute to its immune-boosting properties. Moreover, vitamin C helps to stimulate the production of antibodies. These are responsible for assisting the body in fighting disease-causing germs. Plus, some antimicrobial compounds found in this amazing fruit may help fight harmful microorganisms such as certain types of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts.
4. Protect your heart
Research shows that pomegranate consumption – and, in particular, pomegranate juice – may help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation markers that are often associated with heart diseases. In particular, the potent antioxidants found in the fruit can prevent the formation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “the bad cholesterol”) while promoting that of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “the good cholesterol”). As a result, it attenuates the risk of atherosclerosis development and its resulting cardiovascular events.
5. Glowier skin
Pomegranates – and even more so pomegranate juice – are anti-aging compounds that can help reduce the occurrence of wrinkles and promote skin cell regeneration. In addition, regular consumption of this fantastic fruit may prevent sun damage, detoxify the skin, and promote collagen production (essential to reduce fine lines). When applied topically, pomegranate seeds oil can reduce acne and make the skin glow! Rather than get messy, you can buy bottled pomegranate seed oils (like this one), which makes application much more convenient.
6. Pomegranates and fertility
For a long time, pomegranates have been used to promote both male and female fertility – and there might be some truth beyond this. Indeed, the antioxidants in pomegranates could have the potential to increase blood flow to the uterus and thicken the uterine lining. However, studies show that more evidence is needed to better understand how antioxidants impact fertility. In addition, there have been some promising studies – for now only on rats – on the effects of pomegranate juice and seed oil on sperm quality.
Furthermore, in spite of old popular beliefs, pomegranate is absolutely safe during pregnancy and can even decrease the risk of injury to the placenta.
7. Assist your weight loss journey
As said before, eating pomegranates is associated with more stable blood sugar levels and greater satisfaction at mealtimes, both of which are factors that can assist our weight loss journey. The merit for this goes to dietary fiber, which can help better metabolize the sugars contained in this fruit, making it also ideal for diabetic people. Moreover, some specific polyphenols contained in pomegranates might increase lipolysis, thus breaking apart fatty tissue and decreasing its volume, as well as inducing b-oxidation – a process that can help break down fatty cells.
8. Prevent urinary tract infections
The vitamin C contained in pomegranates plays a key role in preventing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary bladder. In addition, it can help fight against bacterial infections and helps in a quicker recovery from a UTI.
9. Increased exercise endurance
Another benefit of the antioxidants found in pomegranates is related to exercise and endurance activities. In particular, these can help increase nitric oxide bioavailability by protecting it from breaking down in the body. In turn, nitric oxide is responsible for vasodilation (i.e. the widening of blood vessels), which can help the body to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs during exercise.
10. Better sleep
The juice from one pomegranate contains around 34 mg of magnesium which, as we all might know, might contribute to muscle relaxation and increase the level of naturally circulating melatonin. This makes pomegranate juice a great pre-bed drink.
Here are the top 10 benefits of pomegranates. However, under certain conditions, pomegranates are not as healthy as we might think. Let’s see when and why.
Are there any side effects of pomegranate consumption?
As we have all understood by now, pomegranate is a true superfood. However, its consumption is counterindicated in the following cases.
First of all, it can interact with statins and blood thinners, which are medications prescribed in case of hypercholesterolemia. In addition, pomegranate juice should not be consumed along with some calcium channel blockers (medicines that relax the muscles that make up the walls of your arteries, commonly used to treat hypertension), as it might increase the level of these medicines in your blood.
Moreover, because pomegranate is rich in vitamin K, it may interfere with the blood clotting medicines such as Coumadin (warfarin).
Pomegranate: calories and nutritional information
Pomegranate is a fruit low in calories and fats and rich in many different minerals and vitamins. Indeed, one medium-sized pomegranate (around 282g) provides only 234 calories and 3.3g of fat. In addition, pomegranate seeds (also called arils) are a very good source of fiber, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
More specifically, it contains:
- Calories: 234
- Fat: 3.3g
- Sodium: 8.4mg
- Carbohydrates: 29g
- Fiber: 11.3g
- Sugars: 38.6g
- Protein: 4.7g
- Potassium: 666mg
- Magnesium: 33.8mg
- Iron: 0.8mg
- Vitamin C: 28.8mg
- Folate: 107.2mcg
- Vitamin K: 46.2mcg
- The word pomegranate literally means “apple with many seeds“.
- Pomegranates belong to the berry family.
- Pomegranates are a symbol of fertility, abundance, good fortune, and prosperity. This is why in Mediterranean households the new year is welcomed by opening a pomegranate for good luck.
- Pomegranates can be stored for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. In this way, you can enjoy this delicious Winter fruit even in Spring!
- Pomegranate trees can live for over 200 years.
The easiest way to cut a pomegranate!
Pomegranates are true health bombs. However, cutting these fruits is not always an easy task. Here are some hacks on how to effortlessly get the seeds out of a pomegranate.
First of all, wash the pomegranate very well. Then slice the pomegranate in half horizontally. Place the pomegranate, cut side down, in your non-dominant hand with your fingers spread apart. Put a deep, medium-sized bowl under your hand with the pomegranate.
Take a wooden spoon or spatula and beat firmly on the top surface of the fruit. You will see all the beautiful pomegranate seeds falling into the bowl! These hacks work best with ripe, soft fruits 🌱
Best ways to eat pomegranates: sweet and salty recipes
Pomegranates are a very versatile ingredient that goes well in both salty and sweet recipes. Among my favorites is this delicious Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce with Jalapeños, great with a turkey roast or a potato mash. Or with this earthy and sweet Winter Harvest Salad, made with Brussels sprouts, pomegranates, and walnuts.
Last, but not least, this Berry and Beet Smoothie, a Pegan (paleo plus vegan) recipe that works wonders in boosting our immunity and giving us quick energy.
Hope you find this article useful. If so, please share it with your family and friends! In the meanwhile, let’s connect on my socials. All the links are down below 💗