Pomegranate is a nutritionally rich fruit with a unique taste, flavor, and a wide range of health-promoting characteristics. It’s a nutritious ruby red fruit that can be a great add-on to rice, meat, cocktails, or salads. This delicious fruit provides essential minerals and vitamins like copper and vitamin C, not to forget the high fiber content.
Like many other fruits, pomegranate is very low in sodium and fat. Although removing arils from the fruit is quite laborious, every effort is worth it for pomegranate antioxidants and bright flavor. Although the fruits are mainly grown in the United States, Africa, and India, pomegranates are increasingly becoming popular worldwide.
Pomegranates have up to 3x more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. Antioxidants help prevent diseases like cancer and protect cells from damage – and reduce the effects of aging and inflammation. Moreover, other health benefits include:
Promotes Heart Health
Research shows that pomegranates promote heart health in many ways, including regulating blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure. Drinking pomegranate juice helps reduce LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the chances of developing atherosclerosis. It also reduces the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
It Helps Build Muscle, Cartilage, And Bones
Pomegranate contains vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for good blood vessels, muscle, cartilage, and bone structure. Also, it aids in iron absorption and promotes the healing of wounds. A body cannot make vitamin C. As a result; it’s essential to make sure you consume it through a diet.
Lowers Blood Pressure
A study analyzed the effects of pomegranate juice on controlling blood pressure. The results showed that drinking one cup of pomegranate juice helps reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. As a result, it can be very beneficial to individuals with blood pressure and those at risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.[i]
Fights Oxidative Stress
Pomegranates contain antioxidant compounds like anthocyanins and quercetin, which work to repair damaged cells through oxidative stress.[ii] Moreover, pomegranate also contains vitamin C with antioxidant properties that limits the damaging effect of free radicals. These help delay or prevent the development of cardiovascular disease and specific cancers.
Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants that can help strengthen muscles. Also, they can help boost performance during exercises.[iii]
Lowers Cancer Risks
Pomegranates contain flavonoids and antioxidants that are known for preventing free radicals from destroying damaging cells. Also, studies show that pomegranates can prevent colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Furthermore, clinical research on animals has shown that consuming pomegranate can hinder the growth of prostate, colon, and skin and lung tumors.
Pomegranate Nutrition Facts
The USDA provides the nutrition details below for one pomegranate weighing 282 grams.[iv]
- Calories – 234
- Protein – 4.7g
- Carbs – 53g
- Fat – 3.3g
- Sodium – 8.5g
- Fiber – 11g
- Sugar – 39g
Pomegranate fruits contain calories in the form of carbohydrates. The fruit contains two types of carbs. You’ll get 39g of sugar if you eat a full-size fruit. Also, you’ll get 6g of fiber, which is about 21% of your daily-recommended intake.[v]
Basically, calories, sugars, and carb count for pomegranate fruit are different from that of the juice. It’s estimated that the glycemic load for fresh fruit is 18. The glycemic load is beneficial, especially for people choosing a fruit-based on the effect it has on their blood glucose.
Pomegranate fruits contain tiny amounts of fat. The fruit contains less than 1g each of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat. However, these are small amounts that won’t make any notable difference in your daily diet unless you eat large quantities of the fruit.
Pomegranate fruits provide tiny amounts of protein. A full-size fruit contains 4.7g of protein. On the other hand, pomegranate juice has a negligible amount of protein.
Vitamins & Minerals
Pomegranate fruit contains vital minerals and vitamins. A full-size fruit contains 29mg of vitamin C, which is about 40% of the recommended daily intake. A full-size fruit contains 46mcg of vitamin K, which is about 60% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin K promotes blood-clotting functions.
The recommended daily allowance is the sufficient daily level to fully meet all nutrition requirements of about 97% of 98% of a healthy individual. Also, pomegranates contain potassium (10%), vitamin B6 (9%), thiamin (9%), copper (27%) and folate (15%) of RDA. You can still benefit from copper, folate, and vitamin K if you drink its juice. Still, the juice provides minimal amounts of vitamin C.
Some medications containing high amounts of cholesterol might reach with pomegranate juice. The grapefruit juice and pomegranate juice have the same effect, so these medications that are known to react with the grapefruit juice might also react with pomegranate juice. Therefore, if you are under any medication, you should speak to a health physician before eating pomegranate fruits. Since pomegranate contains high amounts of vitamin K, it might interact with blood clotting medications such as Warfarin.[vi]
There are no known allergies to pomegranate fruit or juice, but it’s still possible. Symptoms might include difficulty breathing, runny nose, swelling, or itching. So, if you suspect any allergic reaction to pomegranate juice or fruit, consult an allergist for the correct diagnosis.
Almost all grocery stores in the United States only stock a variety of pomegranate fruit. However, you can find other types in different parts of the world. Some of the varieties are more popular and widespread than others. Some pomegranate trees bear fruits with yellowish pink skins, whereas other fruits have deep burgundy skins. You might also come across varieties with harder arils and soft arils.
This variety has a larger fruit with softer seeds. The fruit is very sweet in flavor. It grows fruits with dark purple arils and pink skin.
This is a pomegranate with soft seeds. The fruit has pink arils and bright red skin. The variety is exceptionally juicy with an attractive wine flavor.
Native to the western Himalayans and Persia, the pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits in the history of humankind. Historians say that the pomegranate fruit has been grown in countries such as Russia, northern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran for hundreds of years. The exocarp, the carbonized outer layer of these fruits, was found in Hala Sultan Tekke Bronze Age Levels in Tiryns and Cyprus and Jericho’s Bronze Age Levels. A substantial amount of pomegranate fruits was discovered in Djehuty’s tomb. Djehuty’s was Queen Hatshepsut butler.
The Mesopotamian cuneiform mentioned the pomegranate fruit back in the 3rd million BC. In 2021, pomegranate fruits are grown widely in southeast Asia and south china. However, it’s not clear whether they were initially yielded in the Silk transit route or brought to that part of the world through the sea by traders to other parts of the world. Also, it’s believed that Jang Qian, a representative of the Han Dynasty, introduced pomegranates in China back in 100 BC.
The Romans called this fruit a ‘Punic apple.’ Surprisingly, Granada, an ancient city in Spain, was named after this fruit. Afterward, Spain’s colonists introduced this fruit to Latin America and the Caribbean. John Tradescant later took it to Great Britain.
How To Prepare
The seeds of pomegranates are called arils. The juicy seeds are jam-packed with unique flavors. Every aril contains a white seed that you can either choose to spit out or eat. Keep in mind that the seeds contain fiber. Some people prefer not to consume white flesh or skin. People describe the skin and the white fresh as bitter.
Some people keep off pomegranate fruits because they feel intimidated by the process of removing seeds. There are different ways through which you can remove the seeds. The simplest way is to cut the pomegranate into small pieces and put them in a water bowl. You can then massage your fruit to de-seed it and place the seeds in a small bowl. Next, you can discard the water alongside the pomegranate flesh and unusable skin.
Storage Tips And Food Safety
You should keep the pomegranate fruits whole (intact) until when you’re ready to use them. The fruit should be kept in a cool, dark place or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated. If removed from the pomegranate, the arils remain fresh for only three days. You should refrigerate the fresh arils. If you buy pomegranate arils from the grocery store, place them in an airtight container and then refrigerate them.
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- [i] Sahebkar A, Ferri C, Giorgini P, Bo S, Nachtigal P, Grassi D. Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2017;115:149-161. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.11.018
- [ii] National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C fact sheet for health professionals. Updated February 27, 2020
- [iii] Ammar A, Turki M, Chtourou H, et al. Pomegranate supplementation accelerates recovery of muscle damage and soreness and inflammatory markers after a weightlifting training session. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(10):e0160305. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160305
- [iv] Pomegranate, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- [v] Pomegranate juice, 100%. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- [vi] NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K