Mother Nature has packed all her love and affection into small bundles called Fruits. These edible parts of the plant offer plenty of goodness to us with every bite we take. One such fruit often hailed as the “Jewel of Fruits” is the Pomegranate. It gets that name from its shiny red edible seeds which look like beautiful jewels. Apart from its juicy taste, Pomegranate offers numerous benefits to health, hair and skin which we shall discuss in this article.
But, before that, let’s get to know about the fruit a little more. Pomegranate (Punica Granatum), also called “Anar” in Hindi grows in mild-temperature to tropical climates. It is widely cultivated in the Asian and Mediterranean regions for its edible seeds called Arils (Anardana in Hindi) used in juices, jams and desserts. Even its skin is used in many herbal medicines for its rich therapeutic properties.
Nutritional Value of Pomegranate:
Pomegranates are just your average Indian fruits! They have an incredible nutritional profile which makes you believe in “big things come in tiny packages”.
Let us take a look into the nutritional profile of 100gms serving of raw Pomegranate seeds:
Total Calories – 83
- Total Carbohydrates – 18.7gms
- Sugars – 13.7gms
- Dietary Fiber – 4 gms
- Total Fat – 1.2 gms
- Protein – 3% of DV
- Vitamin C – 17% of DV
- Vitamin K- 21% of DV
- Folate – 10% of DV
- Copper – 8% of DV
- Potassium – 7% of DV
- Manganese – 6% of DV
Research-Based Pomegranate Benefits:
Let us now look into some of the best Pomegranate benefits for health, hair and skin.
1. Rich in Antioxidants:
Pomegranate juice and peels contain different types of compounds like ellagic acid, punicalagin and punicalin which exhibit high antioxidant activity. They fight free radicals, reduce cell and tissue inflammation along with promoting faster healing of wounds. A study also shows that pomegranate juice has higher antioxidant potential than red wine and green tea, thus playing a crucial role in reducing oxidative stress on the cells (1).
2. Improves Gut Health:
Gut bacteria, also called Gut flora is very important for a healthy digestive system. One of the best ways to improve their count is your stomach is by drinking pomegranate juice. A recent study confirms that Pomegranate juice has a prebiotic effect on gut microflora which leads to enhanced growth of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains (2). An increased count of these microbes can directly contribute to better digestion, stronger immune system and weight control.
3. May Prevent Infections:
Did you know that pomegranate juice is used as a natural food preservative? Yes! It is known that Pomegranate juice has powerful anti-microbial compounds which help in inhibiting the growth of different types of bacteria and fungus in fruit juices and increase their shelf-life (3). That’s not all! The anti-fungal activity of Pomegranate juice was found to help in treating oral infections like denture stomatitis, periodontitis, bleeding gums etc. by fighting oral pathogens with its tannins, phenolic compounds, flavones etc (4).
4. Pomegranate Benefits for the Heart:
It is known that Pomegranates contain a high amount of polyphenols which can help in lowering blood pressure. Additionally, a study confirms that punicic acid, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid present in pomegranate seed oil has an anti-atherogenic effect which helps in removing fat deposits from arteries (5). Also, pomegranate juice can bring down the LDL cholesterol levels in the body to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, heart attacks, blockages etc.
See More: Pomegranate Juice Benefits
5. May Treat Erectile Dysfunction:
Certain experiments showed that oxidative stress is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction in rabbits which can impair blood flow to erectile tissues. One study shows that pomegranate juice may be beneficial in treating this condition with its high antioxidant activity that helps fight free radicals that lead to this problem (6). Along with reducing oxidative damage, pomegranate juice may also help prevent smooth muscle dysfunction in affected subjects. However, its efficacy on humans doesn’t have enough supportive evidence yet.
6. May Help in Reducing Body Fat:7). It was also observed that mice who were fed pomegranate molasses or juice recorded reduced weight due to higher antioxidant activity in the body (8). However, the effect of pomegranates on weight loss and obesity in humans is still under study.
7. May Prevent Cancers:
Some studies conducted on the Pomegranate health benefits suggest that this fruit can be a potential anti-cancer agent! Pomegranate extracts have high amounts of antioxidants which were found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the breast, prostate and colon. Additionally, animals fed with pomegranate juice had a reduced growth of lung, skin, colon and prostate cancer cells (9). Future studies are required to confirm the chemoprotective activities of Pomegranates in humans.
8. May Lower Birth Complications:
A research conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine shows that Pomegranate juice may reduce birth complications in pregnant women. It is known that pomegranate juice may lower the chances of pre-term labour, preeclampsia, fetal birth defects and restricted growth in women during pregnancy (10). Scientists attribute this effect to the phenolic antioxidants in Pomegranate which can safeguard fetal and placental cells from dying due to oxidative stress.
See More: Pomegranate Seeds Benefits
9. May Fight Osteoarthritis:
Inflammatory joint problems like Osteoarthritis can decrease the quality of life with its painful symptoms. The good news is that a plant-based compound like Pomegranate may treat this condition with its anti-inflammatory effects. A study also shows that pomegranate fruit extract may prevent cartilage degradation in Osteoarthritis patients and protect the joints from getting weak or damaged (11).
10. May Improve Memory:
There is enough proof to state that Pomegranate can improve your memory power. A study shows that patients who were given 2gms of pomegranate extract in the form of pills showed better memory retention for up to 6 weeks after surgery (12). Other studies show that the antioxidants in Pomegranate may help in improving memory function in middle-aged and older adults with minor memory issues. (13). More research has to be conducted to determine its effectiveness in preventing Alzheimer’s in humans.
11. May Reduce Fatigue:
Pomegranate is rich in important vitamins and minerals which can energize the body and support better physical performance. A study shows that athletes who consumed 1 gm of pomegranate extract before exercise showed delayed fatigue and enhanced exercise performance (14).
12. May Delay Signs of Skin Ageing:15). Additionally, an increase in the skin water content, Type-1 Collagen and Hyaluronan which add elasticity to the skin and make it look youthful.
See More: Pomegranate Seed Oil Benefits
13. May Support Faster Wound Healing:
According to a study, pomegranate extracts and flowers may help in faster healing of wounds by reducing inflammation in the area and increasing collage and fibroblast cells (16). Also, Pomegranate is a rich source of Vitamin C which plays a key role in effective wound healing by repairing cells damaged due to oxidative stress (17).
14. Exfoliates Skin:
Pomegranate can work as a natural scrub to exfoliate dead cells present on the surface level of your skin. The coarse texture of crushed pomegranate seeds can buff away dirt and impurities while leaving fresher, younger-looking skin. Additionally, the antioxidants present in the pomegranate juice can lighten scars, improve complexion and make you look radiant.
15. May Promote Healthy Hair Growth:
Pomegranate juice contains Puninic acid which does plenty of good to your hair and scalp. Punicic acid is an anti-inflammatory agent that can reduce inflammatory diseases like dandruff, flakiness etc. on your scalp. Additionally, Pomegranates contain Folic acid which promotes better blood circulation to your hair follicles and reduces hair loss, hair thinning and baldness.
Pomegranate Side Effects:
Although pomegranates are largely free from side effects, consuming them in abundance may lead to possible health risks:
- Stomach upset
- Burning Sensation in Abdomen
- Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions like Itching, swelling etc.
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing (in extreme cases)
See More: Pomegranate For Diabetes
Don’t you think these incredible Pomegranate benefits are too good to ignore? This versatile fruit can be consumed in many different ways like juices, smoothies, salads and even taste amazing on its own. So, how do you prefer having your Pomegranates?