Pomegranates are among the healthiest fruits on earth. It’s so healthy it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The fruit has a thick skin covering hundreds of edible sweet, red, juicy seeds known as arils. The arils are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Pomegranates also have some fibre, protein, folate, and thiamine and are rich in powerful antioxidants.
Potassium is beneficial for heart health. Vitamin C protects cells and heals wounds. Antioxidants boost the immune system and protect cells from damage. Manganese helps form bone and joint tissues. Folate and thiamine help with growth, development, and cell function. Fibre aids in digestion and gives the feeling of fullness after eating thus reducing snacking between meals. Here are some health benefits of eating pomegranates.
Health benefits of pomegranates
1. Rich in medicinal compounds and antioxidants
Pomegranates have punicalagin and punicic acid which are powerful medicinal compounds. Punicalagins are extremely potent antioxidants that protect cells from damage, reducing inflammation and preventing disease. The seeds have a higher level of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea.
2. Anti-inflammatory effects
Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of illnesses including heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity. Research shows that pomegranates fight inflammation in the gut and are beneficial in reducing the markers of inflammation for patients with type 2 diabetes.
3. Cancer prevention
Studies show that punicic acid fights and kill breast cancer cells. Pomegranates also help reduce the chances of developing prostate cancer in men. They are also seen to protect the body from cancerous cells. Studies find them to be effective in preventing prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancers.
4. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Pomegranates protects the heart in a variety of ways including lowering blood pressure and reducing blood sugar levels. Pomegranate juice may help lower the levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and also increase HDL “good” cholesterol levels. This lowers the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
One study found that consuming pomegranate juice may help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks and strokes. Another study found that drinking the juice may improve blood flow to the heart.
5. Help fight arthritis and joint pain
There are different types of arthritis, most of which involve some form of inflammation in the joints. Studies find that pomegranate extract can block enzymes that are known to damage joints and cause osteoarthritis. This effect on bones makes it great for bone health.
Studies show that it may help prevent the production of cartilage destroying enzymes produced by the body when it’s suffering from arthritis. The extract has also been shown to relieve arthritis in mice.
6. Diabetes control
Pomegranate was initially used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India. The fruit may help reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar. One study found that people who drank the juice showed an improvement in insulin resistance. They can also help people with diabetes maintain a healthy weight.
7. Alzheimer’s disease protection
The antioxidants in it stall the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and protect memory. One study found that pomegranate extract prevented deficits in memory after surgery. Another found that among older adults, the juice significantly improved markers of verbal and visual memory.
8. May improve athletic performance
Pomegranate is rich in dietary nitrates which improve exercise performance. One study found that the juice may delay muscle soreness and improve recovery after weight training sessions. Another study found that the pomegranates extract improved performance within 30 minutes of ingestion for sports involving intermittent running.
9. Sexual performance, fertility, and aphrodisiac effects
For centuries, people have believed that pomegranate has properties that help increase fertility and also help with other sexual dysfunctions. Studies show that pomegranate juice increases salivary testosterone which has a positive effect on mood and a great effect on genital health. Oxidative stress can impair blood flow in all areas of the body including erectile tissue causing erectile dysfunction. The juice has been shown to help increase blood flow and erectile response in rabbits.
10. Has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of pomegranates protect against infection and inflammation in the mouth. Vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E in the juice prevent illnesses and fight off viral infections.