The pomegranate is a juicy, sweet fruit that is extremely rich in nutrients which makes it very popular around the world. The fruit has an outside skin that is very leathery texture and may be orange-yellow, red or purple. It is only the seeds that are edible and they are found inside this large, hexagonal-shaped fruit. An average pomegranate contains about 600 seeds that are surrounded by white pith.
Increasing numbers of scientific studies are proving what it many cultures have known for centuries: pomegranates are really a wonder fruit. For anyone who doesn’t regularly eat pomegranates, or drink pomegranate juice, here are several reasons to want to start.
Has antioxidants to fight disease
Pomegranate juice may contain close to three times the antioxidants as green tea or red wine. Antioxidants fight against free radicals — unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cell membranes. This cellular damage has been linked to all kinds of diseases including cancer.
Pomegranates have also been shown to help fight prostate and lung cancers.
Protects the Heart
The National Academy of Sciences found that pomegranate juice combats hardening of the arteries and related diseases like heart attacks and strokes in a study. It appears to limit the genetic predisposition toward hardening of the arteries.
In another study, patients with coronary heart disease who drank pomegranate juice every day for three months had blood flow to the heart improve by about 17 percent. The blood flow to the heart declined by 18 percent in the men on a placebo.
According to a study at Case Western Reserve University, the extract cuts levels of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-1b in lab tests. Researchers said their findings show that pomegranate fruit or compounds derived from it may prevent cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis and may also be a useful nutritive supplement for maintaining joint integrity and function.
Keeps Prostate Cancer from Returning
A study found that pomegranate juice may help fight the return of prostate cancer among men who have had surgery or radiation for the disease. In fact, among 48 men with prostate cancer who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice each day until their prostate cancer progressed: the juice considerably lengthened the time it took for the men’s average PSA levels (a gauge of prostate cancer progression) to double. None of the men developed cancer that progressed beyond the prostate during the study.
Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol
Antioxidants in pomegranates reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol in mice, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Lowers Blood Pressure
A study also found that pomegranates help lower blood pressure among people with hypertension.
Nutrients in abundance
One pomegranate has about 40 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C required for adults, along with folic acid, fiber, niacin, and vitamins A and E. Vitamin C helps with immune system functions and wound healing. It also aids with iron absorption. Pomegranate seeds include vitamin K which is important for maintaining strong, healthy bones, as well as proper blood clotting. The juicy fruit is also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.
Pomegranates are filled with manganese which helps form bones during the metabolic process and potassium that helps maintain cellular functions and balance the body’s fluid levels. Pomegranates have very little fat and do not contain cholesterol. The fruit has only 130-150 calories, with about 105 calories being from the seeds. These seeds are high in calories because they contain unsaturated oils, sugar and carbohydrates. There is a lot of fiber and some protein in these seeds, too.
Protects for Newborns
A study published in Pediatric Research found that drinking pomegranate juice during pregnancy helped protect newborns’ brains during difficult births.
Fights Breast Cancer
In addition to antioxidants, pomegranates also contain phytochemicals that reduce the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen plays a major role in developing breast cancer cells, but phytochemicals produce an acid that inhibits the body’s production of estrogen. Israeli researchers found that pomegranate seed oil causes breast cancer cells to self-destruct, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Pomegranates don’t just fight the plague that builds up in a person’s arteries; this super fruit also fights dental plaque. Pomegranate extract removes the plaque that causes the bacteria that leads to gum disease.
From warding off cancer to easing arthritis pain, pomegranates are useful for treating a number of ailments associated with aging. A 2006 study also found that polyphenols in pomegranates reduce buildup of brain plaque (proteins) that damages and disrupts brain communication and can eventually lead to the memory loss and cognitive decline that characterize Alzheimer’s disease. Pomegranates can help to prevent hyperpigmentation, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles that are often caused by sun damage.
Aids Weight Management
As with many fruits, pomegranate seeds are low in calories and rich in fiber, providing only 83 calories and 4 g of dietary fiber per 100 g serving. A 100-g serving is the same as about 3/4 cup. According to the dietary guidelines for Americans, for good health with a 2000-calorie diet, a person should consume 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day.
The high amounts of iron in pomegranates will raise hemoglobin levels in the blood to help cure anemia.
Boosts Digestive Condition
Pomegranate juice helps users with the production of enzymes in the stomach with anti-bacterial traits, helping with digestion and fighting off dysentery, intestinal parasites, nausea, hemorrhoids, piles and diarrhea. People with constipation can also use pomegranate juice as a laxative.
Pomegranate protects the layers of the skin by aiding in the repair of tissues, encouraging skin cell regeneration, healing wounds and encouraging circulation to skin that is healing.
Protects from the Sun
Consuming pomegranate seeds or juice provides the skin with compounds to help protect against free radical damage which can cause sun damage, cancer and sunburn. The oil of a pomegranate contains the antioxidant ellagic acid that helps to inhibit skin tumors and to protect the body from skin cancer.
Produces Youthful Skin
Because pomegranates help to soften the skin and produce additional elastin and collagen, it can make a person’s skin look firmer, smoother and more youthful.
Helps with Dry Skin
Pomegranates are often added to skin care products because the fruit has a molecular structure that can penetrate deep into layers of most skin types to provide additional moisturizing.
Uses for Oily or Combination Skin
People with oily or combination skin that are prone to acne can use pomegranate to soothe outbreaks and minimize burns or scarring that can occur from breakouts.
Fall marks the beginning of many things: colorful foliage, cool weather, trips to the pumpkin patch and savory, delicious autumn foods such as soups, stews and pies. Fall also marks the start of pomegranate season. Nutritious, delicious and fun to eat, this super fruit offers a host of health benefits.