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Pomegranate – 16 Impressive Health Benefits & 5 Serious Side Effects

 

Pomegranate health benefits includes cancer prevention, support a healthy heart, has aphrodisiac properties, helps prevent arthritis and joint pain, lowers blood pressure, prevent bacterial infections and serve as workout snacks.

Other benefits includes source of energy, support digestion, fights free radicals and supply the body with antioxidants and multiple vitamins.

What is Pomegranate?

The origin of Pomegranates fruit dates back to Egypt thousands of years ago where it was thought to be a royal fruit. The real place of its origin has yet to be pinpointed; there are theories that suggest the fruit was first cultivated and consumed in Iran or Persia. There are records that indicate this pomegranate fruit being brought to China in around 100 B.C.

This delicious red fruit is not just known as the pomegranate, but is called different names in different places, for example, the Romans used to call it “Punic Apple”. The scientific name of this fruit is Punicum granatum.

Fun fact: In ancient Greece, it was believed that pomegranate is the fruit of the dead and was formed from the blood of Adonis, the god of desire and beauty.

The pomegranate is a jewel-like fruit, which has its own unique crimson shine. This fruit grows on a shrub and is drought tolerant. They are classified as berries, its flowering starts in spring and the fruit matures in about 6 to 7 months. Pomegranates, like the pineapple have a crown too. It has been known for ages to heal the body and mind.

Pomegranates are among the healthiest fruits on Earth.

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 Cvitamin E and vitamin K. A daily intake of whole pomegranate or juiced pomegranate will help get an adequate amount of nutrients.

They contain a range of beneficial plant compounds, unrivaled by other foods. Studies have shown that they may have several benefits for your body, possibly lowering your risk of various diseases.

Here are 16 evidence based health benefits of pomegranate.

1. Pomegranates Are Source Of Multiple Vitamins & Important Nutrients

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.

There are innumerable benefits in this fruit. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals. One serving of this fruit contains 3.5 grams of fiber, 33mg of folate, 205mg potassium, 8.9 mg vitamin C, and 14.3 mg of vitamin K. It is also a good source of carbohydrates and provides up to 16.3 grams per serving. This composition helps the body in absorbing more iron from the food we consume.

The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds called arils within.

The arils are what people eat — either raw or processed into pomegranate juice.

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 (seeds) 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.

2. Pomegranates Contain Two Plant Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Pomegranates pack two unique substances that are responsible for most of their health benefits.

Punicalagins

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

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.

3. Pomegranate Has Impressive Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Chronic inflammation is one of the leading drivers of many serious diseases.

The punicalagins in pomegranate juice have been shown to reduce inflammation, one of the leading drivers of many serious diseases, including cancer and diabetes.

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.

4. Pomegranate Has Aphrodisiac Properties

Many studies have shown that pomegranate juice increases the salivary testosterone, which has a positive effect on your mood and has a good effect on your genital health. It has been believed for centuries that pomegranate has properties that help increase fertility. It also helps with other sexual dysfunctions.

5. Pomegranate May Help Fight Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men.

Preliminary evidence indicates that pomegranate juice can be useful in men with prostate cancer, potentially inhibiting cancer growth and lowering the risk of death.

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.

6. Pomegranate 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 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.

7. Pomegranate May Also be Useful Against Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women.

Laboratory studies suggest that pomegranate extract can help fight breast cancer cells, but human studies are needed.

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.

8. Pomegranate May Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks and strokes.

Regular intake of pomegranate juice has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in as little as two weeks.

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.

9. Pomegranate Prevents Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is a chronic illness caused by severe joint inflammation.

Pomegranates have antioxidants that help calm the body and reduce inflammation. Several tests have been carried out on animals, which show a significant decrease in collagen-induced arthritis.It is also a relief for rheumatoid arthritis. There are studies show that pomegranate may help prevent the production of the cartilage destroying enzymes that the body produces when suffering from arthritis.

10. Pomegranate Juice Is a boon for the Healthy Heart.

Cholesterol build up in the arteries is the main reason for most people suffering from heart conditions and are at risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke eve. Pomegranate juice is comparatively higher in antioxidants when its seeds are crushed along with it. This helps clear the arteries of cholesterol and maintain heart health. Many studies show the positive effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure. Eating it fully will also flush your arteries of LDL (bad cholesterol).

11. Pomegranate Juice May Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Oxidative damage can impair blood flow in all areas of the body, including erectile tissue.

Pomegranate juice has been linked to reduced symptoms of erectile dysfunction, but more research is needed.

Pomegranate juice has been shown to help increase blood flow and erectile response in rabbits. In a study in 53 men with erectile dysfunction, pomegranate appeared to have some benefit — but it was not statistically significant.

12. Pomegranate Can Help Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

There are many microorganisms around us that we often fail to notice. These are responsible for infections such as Candida and other viral infections and diseases. Pomegranate seeds and pulp have antibacterial properties that help stop viruses and also helps the dental cavity stay free from germs.

13. Pomegranate May Help Improve Memory

Some evidence shows that pomegranate may improve memory in older adults and post-surgery. In addition, studies in mice suggest that it may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study in 28 older adults with memory complaints found that 8 ounces (237 ml) of pomegranate juice per day significantly improved markers of verbal and visual memory.

14. Pomegranate May Improve Exercise Performance

Pomegranate is rich in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to improve exercise performance.

As a rich source of nitrates, pomegranate may improve exercise performance by increasing blood flow.

A study in 19 athletes running on a treadmill showed that one gram of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before exercise significantly enhanced blood flow, delaying the onset of fatigue and increasing exercise efficiency. More studies are needed, but it seems that pomegranate — like beets — may be beneficial for physical performance.

15. Pomegranates Are Truly A Workout Snack

It is best to eat healthy carbohydrates before hitting the gym. Pomegranates contain a high amount of carbohydrates that help retain the energy throughout your workout. There are dietary nitrates present in the pomegranate juice and pulp that help maintain a balanced level of energy for working out.

16. Pomegranates seeds stimulates hair growth & strengthen hair follicles

Helps in hair growth. The punicic acid in pomegranate seeds has been found to strengthen hair follicles by stimulating circulation and improving blood flow to the scalp.

Pomegranate oil can also be used as a hair massage oil to smoothen frizzy hair and deeply condition it.

Side effects of Pomegranate

1. Effect Of Enzymes

The enzymes present in pomegranate can hinder the functioning of certain enzymes present in the liver if you are on any specific medication for liver disorders consult your doctor before consuming the sprout or its juice.

2. High Sugar Content

Though it fights diabetes pomegranate is a preventive food if you are suffering from diabetes then stay away from pomegranate as it has a high content of sugar.

3. High Calories

If you are on a diet and by watching your calorie intake then avoid baking this fruit or its juice pomegranate adds up calories to the plate it can also cause weight gain.

4. Digestive disorders

The excessive consumption of this fruit causes many disorders some of them are nausea vomiting abdominal pain and diarrhea but these symptoms usually subside after a few hours. An excessive consumption of pomegranate can also irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

5. Pomegranate Allergies

Consumption of this fruit also causes many symptoms that lead to allergy. These symptoms are:

* Painful swallowing
* Rashes hives
* Facial swelling
* Difficulty in breathing
* Pain and swelling in the mouth

How much pomegranate should you eat a day?

Now as you are aware of the significant health benefits of pomegranate & pomegranate seeds along with the several side effects, it is time to know the daily recommended dose of pomegranate.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that a person should eat 2 cups of pomegranates fruit per day.

The Bottom Line

The importance of pomegranate in our diets cannot be denied. It is a delicious fruit with multiple benefits. Pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, packed with nutrients and powerful plant compounds.

This also helps build immunity and aids in weight loss. It can add a tangy flavor to your food without harmful chemicals and excessive calories.

They have wide-ranging benefits and may help reduce your risk of various serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

There are multiple phytonutrients and plant compounds that are hardly found in other fruits, such as the presence of punicalagins. What’s more, they may boost your memory and exercise performance.

If you want to reap the many health benefits pomegranates have to offer, either eat the arils directly or drink pomegranate juice.

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