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The 11 Main Benefits of Pomegranate

Published: 13th May 2018. Last updated: 21th July 2019.

Luna Smithton

Editor & Fact Checker


Introduction

We all know that fruit is generally good for you, but not all fruits were created equal!

Some are much healthier than others, with pomegranates (a red fruit produced by a shrub called Punica granatum) being one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. They have been eaten for centuries because of their nutritional properties – and are often included in healthy diets in the modern day.

Containing a wide range of incredibly healthy plant nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, pomegranates have many health benefits – from being an incredibly potent antioxidant and reducing inflammation, to helping prevent certain types of cancers.

Ready to learn more about the health benefits of pomegranate? Read on to find out why it’s so good for you!

1. Pomegranate Is Incredibly Nutritious

One pomegranate contains 38.5 grams of sugar, and 234 calories [1].

The fruit of pomegranate (which is actually classified as a berry) has a wide range of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy, including:

  • Calcium: 3% of DV (Daily Value, i.e., of the amount you need each day)
  • Magnesium: 8% of DV
  • Potassium: 19% of DV
  • Vitamin C: 48% of DV
  • Vitamin K: 58% of DV
  • Vitamin B6: 11% of DV
  • Iron: 5% of DV
  • Phosphorus: 10% of DV
  • Manganese: 17% of DV
  • Copper: 22% of DV
  • Folate: 27% of DV

Each of these vitamins and nutrients play an important role in various body functions, bodies and it is important to get enough of them to maintain excellent health.

Pomegranate also contains powerful plant compounds that have medicinal properties which are responsible for most of the health benefits we attribute to pomegranates: punicic acid, and punicalagins.

Punicalagins are potent antioxidants which are found in the juice and peel of pomegranate [2]. Their beneficial effects on the body have been examined in many studies, and it is has been found that their antioxidant qualities outweigh those of green tea and red wine [3]!

Punicic acid, on the other hand, is the main fatty acid found in pomegranate seed pods. It has strong biological effects and is very beneficial for our health [4].

2. Pomegranate May Boost Your Exercise Performance

Some studies have also shown that pomegranate may be beneficial for physical performance. This is because it is rich in dietary nitrates – a compound which has been shown to boost endurance and performance of our bodies [5].

A study involving 19 athletes running found that just one gram of pomegranate extract taken 30 minutes before exercise significantly boosted exercise performance in the following ways:

  • Increased blood flow;
  • Improved exercise efficiency
  • Delayed fatigue [6].

However, since there haven’t been many studies evaluating its effectiveness in boosting exercise performance, more research is needed.

3. Pomegranate Has Anti-inflammatory Properties

Many serious health issues are caused by inflammation, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even obesity [7].

Thanks to the punicalagins and their potent antioxidant qualities, pomegranate can effectively reduce inflammation in the body.

A study of people with diabetes found that supplementing a diet with 250 ml of pomegranate juice a day significantly reduced inflammation [8]. It was a randomized, placebo-controlled trial whereby 50 participants were assigned to two groups. Each group received 250 ml of either pomegranate juice or a control beverage for 12 weeks. The results showed that there were significant reductions in c-reactive protein, and Interleukin-6 (markers of inflammation).

4. Pomegranate May Help Your Body Fight Breast Cancer

Thanks to the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranate may also help your body fight breast cancer. Some laboratory studies have shown that pomegranate may prevent the growth and reproduction of breast cancer cells – as well as kill some of them [9].

However, since there have not been any studies involving human participants yet, results are still preliminary, and more research is needed before any definite claims can be made.

5. It May Help Inhibit Prostate Cancer Growth

Laboratory studies have also examined the effectiveness of pomegranate extract in inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer cells. The studies showed that it may help slow the reproduction of prostate cancer cells – as well as kill some of them [10].

However, since there is a lack of long-term studies with humans, more research needs to be carried out to support these claims.

The good news is that there's plenty of significant ongoing studies into the effectiveness of pomegranate in helping to treat prostate cancer [11] – but there have been encouraging findings in laboratory tests so far.

6. Pomegranate May Lower Your Blood Pressure

Another health benefit of pomegranate is its ability to help those suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is a serious health issue which is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes [12].

A study carried out with people with hypertension showed that consuming 150 ml of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks lead to significantly lower blood pressure [13].

A systematic review of randomized controlled trials also showed that pomegranate juice reduced blood pressure regardless of duration and dose consumed [14].

This suggests pomegranate juice should be included in a heart-healthy diet.

7. It May Reduce The Risk of Heart Disease

Because pomegranate has been shown to lower blood pressure, it isn’t surprising that it has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. The disease, which kills approximately 610,000 people in the U.S. each year (1 in every 4 deaths) [15], is a leading cause of death for both men and women.

Studies have shown that pomegranate (or punicic acid it contains, more specifically) may help protect against heart disease in several ways. A trial involving 51 participants with high triglyceride levels found that consuming 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil per day improved the ratio of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) [16].

Another study showed that pomegranate juice significantly lowered the “bad” cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes [17].

8. Pomegranate May Relieve Arthritis And Joint Pain

Arthritis can be caused by several different things, but it often involves inflammation in the joints. Since pomegranate has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain.

Some studies conducted with animals have shown that pomegranate extract may relieve arthritis in mice [18]. Laboratory studies have also found that pomegranate extract can block enzymes that tend to damage and cause pain to joints in people with osteoarthritis [19].

However, research studies with humans are still limited therefore the evidence is inconclusive.

9. It Could Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Oxidative stress is one of the most important causes of erectile dysfunction [20]. Since pomegranate is a potent antioxidant which counteracts oxidative stress, research suggests it may also be used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Studies conducted with animals support this claim. A study conducted with rabbits showed that pomegranate juice increased blood flow and erectile response [21].

Human studies have also shown similar results. A study carried out with 53 male patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction showed there was an improvement after consuming pomegranate juice for 4 weeks - however, the results were not statistically significant [22].

10. It Contains Compounds That Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Pomegranate may also help the body fight harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans [23].

These anti-fungal and antibacterial properties may be particularly beneficial in treating inflammation and infections in your mouth, including periodontal diseases [24].

11. It May Even Improve Your Memory

Some research findings suggest that pomegranate may improve memory. A study of surgical patients found that supplementation with pomegranate may help protect against memory dysfunction after surgery [25].

Another study showed that pomegranate juice may significantly improve verbal and visual memory in those who are struggling with memory problems. Participants of the study, 28 middle-aged and older adults with memory complaints, consumed 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day. Their memory function was augmented compared to the placebo group [26].

Conclusion

As you can see, pomegranate is an incredibly beneficial fruit for your health. Containing powerful and beneficial plant compounds – it is by far one of the most nutritious fruits on the planet! It has a ton of positive effects on your body - from helping your body fight inflammation, to slowing cancer cell reproduction - and should be used as part of a healthy, nutritious diet.

It may also support your goals if you are looking to improve your exercise performance since it has been shown to enhance your blood flow and delay the onset of fatigue during physical performance.

So, make sure you add pomegranate to your list of fruits to have more of to reap its health benefits!

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