Pomegranate; Types, Nutritional Value, Uses, Pomegranate Health Benefits

Pomegranate; Types, Nutritional Value, Uses, Pomegranate Health Benefits

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family that grows between 5 and 10 m (16 and 33 ft) tall. The health benefits of pomegranates are innumerable and what makes them special is that apart from being healthy, they are delicious too. Pomegranates have anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties and are said to be a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, C, and E, as well as folic acid. This amazing fruit consists of three times as many antioxidants as both wine or green tea.[1]

They are so useful in maintaining effective and healthy blood circulation that several doctors suggest eating pomegranates to regain strength after a long illness. Pomegranates have been traditionally used for clearing up the skin and reducing inflammation, as well as for the treatment of sore throats. Other health benefits include being a great cure for heart-related problems, stomach disorders, cancer, dental problems, osteoarthritis, anemia, and diabetes. As intact arils or juice, pomegranates are used in baking, cooking, juice blends, meal garnishes, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine.

Nutritional Value of Pomegranate

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 346 kJ (83 kcal)
Carbohydrates
18.7 g
Sugars 13.67 g
Dietary fiber 4 g
Fat
1.17 g
Protein
1.67 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Thiamine (B1)
6%

0.067 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
4%

0.053 mg

Niacin (B3)
2%

0.293 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)
8%

0.377 mg

Vitamin B6
6%

0.075 mg

Folate (B9)
10%

38 μg

Choline
2%

7.6 mg

Vitamin C
12%

10.2 mg

Vitamin E
4%

0.6 mg

Vitamin K
16%

16.4 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
1%

10 mg

Iron
2%

0.3 mg

Magnesium
3%

12 mg

Manganese
6%

0.119 mg

Phosphorus
5%

36 mg

Potassium
5%

236 mg

Sodium
0%

3 mg

Zinc
4%

0.35 mg

[3]
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Uses / Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates help our body in many ways from curing stomach problems in improving erectile dysfunctions and many more. Let us explore the benefits in detail.

  • Anti-cancer Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. Pomegranate has anti-angiogenic properties, meaning that they may help to prevent growing tumors from acquiring a blood supply, preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger. Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors. This means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk. After treatment for prostate cancer, two studies have shown that pomegranate juice or supplements slowed the increase in PSA.
  • Breast cancer – Fermented pomegranate juice has double the antiproliferative effect compared to fresh pomegranate juice in human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 (breast cancer cell line isolated in 1970 from a 69-year-old Caucasian woman). In addition, pomegranate seed oil caused 90% prevention of proliferation of MCF-7 cells.[4,5]Pomegranate fruit extract can inhibit several signaling pathways, which can be used in the treatment of human lung cancer. Pathways include Mitogen-activated protein kinases  In addition, there was a 4-day delay in the appearance of tumors (from 15 to 19 days) in mice implanted with A549 cells.[6] These studies indicate the chemopreventive effects of pomegranate fruit extract.[7]
  • Skin cancer – It has been demonstrated that pomegranate oil has chemopreventive efficacy in mice. Reduced tumor incidence (7%), decrease in tumor numbers, reduction in ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity (17%), significant inhibition in elevated Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA)-mediated skin edema and hyperplasia, protein expression of ODC and COX-2, and epidermal ODC activity have been reported with pomegranate oil treatments.[8,9] Pomegranate extract in various concentrations (5-60 mg/L) was effective against UVA- and UVB-induced damage in SKU-1064 fibroblast cells of human, which was relevant in reducing NFκB transcription, downregulating proapoptotic caspase-3, and elevating the G0/G1 phase associated with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair.[10]Hartman et al.[11] showed that mice treated with pomegranate juice have 50% less soluble Abeta 42 accumulation and amyloid deposition in the hippocampus, which could be considered for Alzheimer’s disease improvement.
  • Antioxidant activity – Pomegranate peel extracts contains a lot of phytochemicals and considerable antioxidant activity, to be due to ellagic acid activity, which is the main pomegranate polyphenol.[12 ]Singh et al.[13 ]explained the first report on antioxidant pomegranate peel extract property. The pomegranate peel extract antioxidant activity is 10 times higher than the pulp extract.[14 ]Peel extractability in cleaning hydroxyl and superoxide anion radical was also very high.[15] So pomegranate extracts are offered as two functional agents combining aldose reductase repressive activity with antioxidant actions.
  • Protects Against Heart Disease – Pomegranate phytochemicals reduce LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development). Pomegranate phytochemicals have blood pressure-reducing properties. In a study of patients with severe carotid artery blockages, after one ounce of pomegranate juice daily for one year, there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. In striking contrast, in the participants who did not take the pomegranate juice atherosclerotic plaque increased by 9 percent.
  • Osteoarthritis – The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and its major progressive degenerative joint disease, which could affect joint functions and quality of life in patients. It is mediated by proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF-α. MAPKs are important due to their inflammatory and cartilage damage regulation.[16] P38-MAPKs are responsible for regulating cytokine production, neutrophils activation, apoptosis, and nitric oxide synthesis. The MAPK family phosphorylates a number of transcription factors such as runt-related transcription factor-2.[17,18,19]
  • Guards Memory and Brain Function – Pomegranate supplements taken before and after surgery prevented the postoperative memory dysfunction associated with coronary artery bypass or heart valve surgery. In those with mild memory complaints, individuals drinking pomegranate juice daily performed better on a memory task compared to placebo and displayed increased brain activation measured by functional MRI.
  • Cure Stomach Disorders – Pomegranate peel, bark, and leaves are used to calm stomach disorders or diarrhea caused by any kind of digestive problems. Drinking tea made from the leaves of these fruits also helps in curing digestive problems. Pomegranate juice is also used for reducing problems like dysentery and cholera.[20]
  • Reduce Heart Problems – A regular intake of pomegranate juice can maintain a good flow of blood in the body. Because of this property, it subsequently decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The antioxidant components in this fruit help keep bad cholesterol from accumulating and thus, keep the arteries clear of any clots. These clots are clear because pomegranates have the ability to make blood thinner.
  • Source of Energy – We often choose to drink energy drinks and other harmful artificial things to help us stay energetic. Pomegranate juice contains sugars and vitamins that help maintain a high level of energy throughout the day. The carbohydrates help provide a lot of energy to the body. Carbohydrates are the body’s favorite source of energy. 90% of the calories in pomegranate are from the carbohydrates present in it.[23]
  • Helps in Digestion – A lot of gut related problems in the body take form due to poor digestion. The fiber present in the pomegranates helps maintain a healthy gut. It has also been observed to reduce the chances of Crohn’s disease and the development of stomach ulcers. Pomegranate juice should be used on a daily basis, but not on days you have diarrhea. For a healthy gut, the best way is to eat it whole.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants are extremely necessary for a healthy and balanced functioning of your vital organs body. There are many diseases that can be avoided with an adequate consumption of antioxidants. They fight free radicals that have an adverse effect on our bodies. This is also beneficial in the anti-aging regime. Antioxidants help build a wall that protects the body both externally and internally. The antioxidants in pomegranates are three times more powerful than the number of antioxidants in red wine and matcha tea.
  • Multiple Vitamins – There is a lot of awareness regarding the importance of vitamins for our body. There are many vitamin supplements that are made conventionally to help deal with the deficiencies. There is an abundance of vitamins in the pomegranate such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. A daily intake of whole pomegranate or juiced pomegranate will help get an adequate amount of nutrients.
  • Prevent Cancer – Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids. These flavonoids are known to be effective in counteracting various cancer-causing free radicals. People that face a high risk of prostate and breast cancer should start drinking pomegranate juice, as it will help them reduce the risk of developing cancer. Regular consumption of pomegranates can reduce the PSA levels in the body and aid in the fight against existing cancer cells as well.
  • Dental Care – Pomegranates, with their antibacterial and antiviral properties, help reduce the effects of dental plaque and protect against various oral diseases.
  • Prevent Osteoarthritis – Pomegranates help reduce many illnesses, including atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. The damage caused due to thickening and hardening of the arterial walls and in the cartilage and joints can be cured by eating these fruits. Also, pomegranates are capable of preventing the creation of enzymes that are responsible for the break down of connective tissues within the body.
  • Treat Anemia – Healthy blood flow can be maintained in the body by consuming these fruits. Pomegranates supply iron to the blood, thus helping reduce symptoms of anemia like exhaustion, dizziness, weakness, and hearing loss.
  • Control Diabetes – For diabetic patients, drinking pomegranate juice can reduce the risk of various coronary diseases. Along with this, there is a reduction in the hardening of the arteries, which inhibits the development of various heart diseases.
  • Treat Erectile Dysfunction – Research published in the Journal of Urology, states that pomegranate juice can be very helpful in curing erectile dysfunctions based on animal studies. [2] Researchers from the University of California and Beverly Hills also found that pomegranate juice improved erectile dysfunctions in a sample test conducted on 61 men. [3] 
  • High blood pressure Some research shows that drinking pomegranate juice daily can lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 5 mmHg. Lower doses might work the same as higher doses. Pomegranate juice doesn’t seem to reduce diastolic pressure (the lower number).
  • A lung disease that makes it harder to breathe (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD) – Drinking pomegranate juice does not seem to improve symptoms or breathing in people with this condition.
  • High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) Taking pomegranate doesn’t seem to lower cholesterol in people with or without high cholesterol.
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) – Early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice might help to keep the arteries in the neck (carotid arteries) clear of the build-up of fatty deposits.
  • Clogged arteries (coronary heart disease) – Some early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice might improve blood flow to the heart. However, drinking pomegranate juice does not seem to prevent the narrowing of blood vessels in the heart (stenosis). Also, there is not enough information to know if drinking pomegranate juice helps to prevent heart disease-related events such as a heart attack.
  • Dental plaque – Early research shows that rinsing with pomegranate extract mouthwash for one minute once or twice daily reduces dental plaque.
  • Diabetes – Early research shows that drinking fresh pomegranate juice 1.5 mL/kg improves blood sugar in some people with diabetes.
  • Erectile dysfunction Early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice daily for 4 weeks does not improve erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Muscle soreness after exercising – Early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice twice daily for 15 days reduces muscle soreness after exercising in the elbow but not the knee.
  • Dialysis – Research on pomegranate in people on dialysis is inconsistent. Some early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice for a year decreases the number of high blood pressure medications that people on dialysis need to take. Pomegranate juice might also improve “good” (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce the chance of going to the hospital for an infection in some people on dialysis. But other early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice before dialysis sessions or taking pomegranate extract for only 4 weeks does not improve blood pressure or cholesterol in people on dialysis.
  • Menopausal symptoms – Early research shows that taking pomegranate seed oil for 12 weeks does not reduce hot flashes but might improve sleep in some women with symptoms of menopause.
  • Metabolic syndrome – Early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice daily for one month improves blood vessel function in adolescents with metabolic syndrome.
  • Muscle strength – Early research shows that taking pomegranate extract can improve muscle strength recovery after exercise.
  • Obesity Early research shows that taking a product containing pomegranate seed oil and brown marine algae reduces body weight in obese women with the liver disease. Other research shows that drinking pomegranate juice for one month helps overweight and obese patients maintain weight. But it doesn’t seem to improve blood sugar or insulin sensitivity in these patients.
  • Gum disease (periodontitis) – There is some evidence that painting the gums with pomegranate fruit peel extract in combination with gotu kola extract might improve gum disease.
  • Prostate cancer – Early research shows that drinking pomegranate juice or taking pomegranate extract for up to 2 years might slow the progression of prostate cancer. Other early research shows that taking a combination of pomegranate powder and other ingredients for 6 months can slow the rising of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men with prostate cancer. PSA levels are linked with prostate cancer growth, with faster increases indicating more growth.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis Early research shows that taking pomegranate extract twice daily for 12 weeks can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Inflamed and sore mouth (stomatitis) Applying a gel containing pomegranate extract to the gums improves symptoms in people with fungal infections in the mouth.
  • Sunburn Early research shows that taking pomegranate extract by mouth does not prevent sunburn.
  • Vaginal parasite infections (trichomoniasis) – Early research shows that taking pomegranate extract might clear up trichomoniasis infections in women.
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Intestinal worm infestations
  • A sore throat

References

  1.  “All hail the Pomegranate, official symbol of Granada”Archived from the original on 2013-06-09.
  2. garnet”Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. “The Pomegranate: A New Look at the Fruit of Paradise”HortScience42 (5): 1088–1092.
  4. ^Pomegranate: Botany, Horticulture, Breeding”
  5. “Does a larger pomegranate yield more seeds?”. AquaPhoenix.
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate
  7. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/
  8. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-392/pomegranate
  9. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-pomegranate.html
  10. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=09286&format=Full

You Might Also Like   Lychee; Types, Nutritional Value, Uses, Lychee Health Benefits

About the author

Translate »