Pomegranate, a multi-seeded berry fruit from the Lythracease family, has been part of human history since ancient times, having been referenced in the Exodus and several other ancient Babylonian texts. Considered a symbol of eternity, health and fertility in many cultures, this “fruit of paradise” has been cultivated in places like India, Russia, southern Afghanistan and Mediterranean regions since 4000 BC.
Nutritional Aspect of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are not only seriously tasty but also an extremely healthy fruit to eat. They can provide invaluable help in combating several different illnesses, improve your general health and mood. The real edible part is the pulp that covers the seeds and it has incredible health benefits.
Loaded with nutrition, pomegranates are high on their antioxidant content (linoleic acid, ellagic acid and punicic acid), containing almost triple of the antioxidants in green tea. Besides, pomegranate is also loaded with proteins, Vitamins A, B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6), C, E and K, mineral nutrients like folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, selenium and zinc, and nearly half of the required dietary fiber intake. The fruit is also a great source of Omega-5 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial for cell regeneration.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate
Pomegranates have found extensive medicinal use throughout Middle East and Far East for several years now due to the many nutrients contained in the fruit and its seed & rind. These provide pomegranate with its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-tumor constitution making it useful in several health conditions. Read ahead to uncover some of the benefits of this fruit that present you with some very convincing reasons why you should be adding pomegranates to your diet!
- Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Pomegranate contains punicic acid, a powerful antioxidant, that helps in maintaining cardiovascular health by enhancing the arterial elasticity and thereby reducing the risks of artery blockage and atherosclerosis -leading causes of heart-related conditions. It also helps reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and works on reducing the triglycerides (LDL levels) and improving the overall high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio.
In addition, it helps in reducing the blood pressure and works as a natural aspirin, thinning the blood and improving its circulation through the body. Thus, it is a great addition to the diet of hypertensive people.
- Inhibits Cancerous Cell Growth
The antioxidants in pomegranate work towards the elimination of free radicals that lead to cancerous cell growth. The anthocyanins and tannins in the pomegranate fruit induce apoptosis –a condition where cancer cells destroy themselves. Thus, it aids in preventing prostate cancer and skin tumors by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. In addition, the ellagic acid in it serves in blocking aromatase -a hormone that is the prime cause of breast cancer.
- Increases Haemoglobin Levels
Pomegranate is an excellent source of iron and helps the blood produce higher number of red blood cells. Thereby, it helps in fighting anemia -a condition caused by low haemoglobin levels in the blood.
- Boosts Immunity
Pomegranate is an excellent immunity-booster. Its rich antioxidant content coupled with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties help in stimulating the white blood cells and thus, boost their efficiency to fight off bacterial and fungal infections. In fact, pomegranate extract is extremely effective at fighting candida infections and the activity of infectious pathogens such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Candida albicans, methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and Staphylococcus aureus.
- Supports Digestive Health
When it comes to digestive health, pomegranates work wonders in aiding digestion by increasing the production of digestive enzymes, and in regulating bowel movements, thanks to their rich dietary-fiber content. Pomegranate juice is found to be effective in treating diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion and even conditions like cholera.
- Helps in Cartilage Regeneration
Pomegranate is known to inhibit enzymes that cause damage to cartilage and thus impedes cartilage dilapidation. It is thus found useful in relieving joint pains related to arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and bone inflammation and in maintaining joint function.
- Good for Prenatal Care
Pomegranate juice contains many vitamins and minerals, including folates that are essential to pre-natal diet. Its natural blood-thinning properties help improve blood circulation for both the mother and fetus, while the potassium in it prevents pregnancy-associated muscle cramps as well as premature childbirth.
- Improves Skin Texture, Hair Growth and Eye Health
Pomegranate can work wonders for your skin texture, hair and eye health. It helps the body in producing collagen that helps in strengthening the skin and preventing pre-mature signs of ageing like wrinkle, fine lines and even acne breakouts by reducing the production of sebum. The punicic acid helps in locking moisture and relieving of dry skin conditions. Its cell regenerative properties help in hastening wound healing and sun-damage. In addition, pomegranate also helps in strengthening hair follicles thus, preventing hair loss. Pomegranate juice is also found to be an effective remedy for red and sore eyes!
- Improves Memory
The polyphenols found in pomegranate are thought to provide positive cognitive advantages. In fact, research suggests that pomegranates can help improve both verbal and visual memory by reducing the accumulation and deposition of amyloid in the brain. It has also been seen to be beneficial in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s and other neurological disease.
- Benefits Against Kidney Diseases
The antioxidants in pomegranates provide protective benefits against kidney diseases. Its potassium content lowers dialysis-related complications in kidney patients, thus helping mitigate risk of occurrence of dialysis-related infections including inflammation and oxidative stress. They also help in soothing urinary tract infections and, thus, easing the flow of urine.
- Helps Protect Against Dental Plaque
Pomegranates have protective anti-plaque benefits too. The polyphenols in it can reduce the formation of dental plaque by almost 32% and help in treating other dental conditions such as gingivitis, periodontitis and denture stomatitis through their antibacterial effects.
Besides the above benefits, pomegranate is a natural aphrodisiac and is excellent at treating conditions like erectile dysfunction and boosting the libido. A great snack and a natural insulin, it helps in reducing hunger and is considered good for diabetic diet. In addition, its nitrate content helps improve exercise performance as well.
Though a great health benefactor, pomegranate should be consumed with caution if you are already on a blood-pressure medication or have cold or flu because of its natural pressure-lowering and phlegmatic abilities.
Medical Disclaimer: The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. You should consult your physician before beginning a new nutritional or fitness program.