The pomegranate, or Punica granatum, is a shrub that produces a red fruit. Categorized as a berry, the pomegranate fruit is about 5–12 cm (2–5 inches) in diameter. It is red, round and looks kind of like a red apple with a flower-shaped stem.
The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds within. Each seed is surrounded by a red, juicy and sweet seed covering known as an aril.
The seeds and arils are the edible parts of the fruit eaten either raw or processed into pomegranate juice but the peel is discarded.
Pomegranates have an impressive nutrient profile one cup of arils (174 grams) contains:
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Vitamin C: 30% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
Folate: 16% of the RDI
Potassium: 12% of the RDI
The pomegranate arils are also very sweet, with one cup containing 24 grams of sugar and 144 calories.
However, pomegranates really shine in their wealth of powerful plant compounds, some of which have potent medicinal properties.
The pomegranate is a fruit that contains hundreds of edible seeds called arils. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive plant compounds, but they also contain some sugar.
Pomegranates Contain Two Plant Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Pomegranates pack two unique substances that are responsible for most of their health benefits.
Punicalagins are extremely potent antioxidants found in pomegranate juice and peel.
They’re so powerful that pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea.
Pomegranate extract and powder is typically made from the peel, due to its high antioxidant and punicalagin content.
Punicic acid, found in pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in the arils.
It’s a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects.
Pomegranates contain punicalagins and punicic acid, unique substances that are responsible for most of their health benefits.
Pomegranate Has Impressive Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Chronic inflammation is one of the leading drivers of many serious diseases. This includes heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even obesity.
Pomegranates have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which are largely mediated by the antioxidant properties of the punicalagins. Test-tube studies have shown that they can reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.
One 12-week study in people with diabetes found that 1.1 cups (250 ml) of pomegranate juice per day lowered the inflammatory markers CRP and interleukin-6 by 32% and 30%, respectively.
If you are interested in reducing inflammation in your body, pomegranate is an excellent addition to your diet. The punicalagin in pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce inflammation, one of the leading drivers of many serious diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
Pomegranate May Help Fight Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men. Laboratory studies suggest that pomegranate extract may slow cancer cell reproduction and even induce apoptosis, or cell death, in cancer cells.
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a blood marker for prostate cancer. Men whose PSA levels double in a short period of time are at an increased risk of death from prostate cancer.
Interestingly, a human study found that drinking 8 ounces (237 ml) of pomegranate juice per day increased the PSA doubling time from 15 months to 54 months a monumental increase.
A follow-up study found similar improvements using a type of pomegranate extract called POMx. Preliminary evidence indicates that pomegranate juice can be useful in men with prostate cancer, potentially inhibiting cancer growth and lowering the risk of death.
Pomegranate May Also be Useful Against Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. Pomegranate extract may inhibit the reproduction of breast cancer cells even killing some of them.
However, the evidence is currently limited to laboratory studies. More research is needed before any claims can be made.
Laboratory studies suggest that pomegranate extract can help fight breast cancer cells, but human studies are needed.
Pomegranate May Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks and strokes.
In one study, people with hypertension had a significant reduction in blood pressure after consuming 5 ounces (150 ml) of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks.
Other studies have found similar effects, especially for systolic blood pressure, which is the higher number in a blood pressure reading.
Regular intake of pomegranate juice has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in as little as two weeks
They have wide-ranging benefits and may help reduce your risk of various serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
What’s more, they may boost your memory and exercise performance 🙂 🙂