The pomegranate tree (or punica granatum) is native to Iran and India, but is now widely cultivated across the entire Mediterranean region. Pomegranates have been around for thousands of years; was greatly revered and used in the bible days. These shrubs or small trees average around 15 inches in height, but can grow up to 30 feet. Pomegranates have the highest antioxidant profile of all fruits, deeming them worthy of regular consumption.
Pomegranates are referred to as apples with seeds, as they are red in color and apple-sized. Unlike apples, the outer layer skin is not edible. You have to cut through the thick skin to get to the seeds, which is actual fruit. These seeds are a rich source of vitamin C, and fiber – this fruit has been revered as a symbol of health and fertility. Although they are typically in season from September- January (in the Northern Hemisphere,) you can still reap the benefits from the seed oil, powder, or juice. It contains too much goodness to just wait, until it comes back in season.
So lets get to it! Here are the 7 health benefits of consuming pomegranates.
- Antimicrobial. With the increase of bacteria resistant antibiotics, medicinal plants have been researched more as alternative sources. Research shows that pomegranates have been widely accepted for its antimicrobial properties. In particular, the dried powder has been proven effective against Candia albicans (yeast, fungus) overgrowth. It has also been shown to be effective against MRSA and E. coli.
- High in Antioxidants. The antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea. Pomegranate juice can reduce macrophage (white blood cells) oxidative stress, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation. The major class of phytochemicals are polyphenols; in addition to flavonoids and ellagitannins. These compounds help fight against free radicals in your body; which in turns keeps inflammation down and disease at bay. Across all antioxidant profiles, pomegranate is the leader in each category. This alone should make you want to run to the store and get some!
- Fights Cancer. Potent phytochemicals in pomegranates appear to effective in the prevention and combating prostrate, breast, lung, colon, and skin cancer. In research studies, it was shown that pomegranate juice, powder, and seed oil was proven effective inhibiting cell proliferation.
- Combats Heart Disease. In various studies, the polyphenols in pomegranates was proven effective in reducing LDL oxidation (factor in plaque development in arteries), and in lowering blood pressure. In a study of patients with severe carotid artery blockages, after one ounce of pomegranate juice daily for one year, there was a 30% reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. In striking contrast, in the participants who did not take the pomegranate juice atherosclerotic plaque increased by 9 percent.
- Fights Alzheimer’s. A new study from the United Kingdom is exploring a compound in the pomegranate fruit that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom are exploring the possibilities of using the compound punicalagin in drugs that may treat inflammation in the brain. Researchers believe that this pomegranate compound could help fight Alzheimer’s by reducing inflammation in specific brain cells called microglia. Inflammation in microglia leads to destruction of other brain cells, which can make symptoms worse for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Fertility Booster. In ancient Persia, pomegranates were seen as a symbol of fertility and this still exists today in some countries. Pomegranates are rich folic acid and several other vitamins and minerals. Pomegranate may help boost fertility in women and help them conceive faster. It reduces the risk of premature child birth. Pomegranate juice may hold promise for preventing preeclampsia, growth restriction and preterm birth when given to women during pregnancy, according to a recent Washington University study. Pomegranate increases sex drive, and acts as fertility boosters for men too.
- Aids in Weight Loss. Dietary fiber has a great physiological effect on satiation because of its properties of bulk addition and gel that slows down digestion. These fibers prolong the intestinal phase of digestion and absorption. This provides a good time for macronutrients to trigger the signals of satiation, and thus prevent over eating. This property of dietary fiber is highly beneficial in weight management. Pomegranate is a great source of dietary fiber. They consist of around 11.3g per fruit providing 45% of the daily need of dietary fiber.
Comment below, I want to hear from you! Have you ever had pomegranate before? If so, did you like it? And in what form?