What are the health benefits of pomegranate juice?

Health benefits of pomegranate

Pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits on earth. Pomegranate has many incredible health benefits for your body. It is called as a divine fruit because it is the most mentioned fruit in theological books. Pomegranate has anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-tumor properties and is said to be a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid. This amazing fruit consists three times as many antioxidants as both wine or green tea. Consuming pomegranate also lowers the risk of all sorts of diseases. Following are the benefits of pomegranate:
1. Protects us from free radicals
Pomegranate is rich in anti-oxidants and thus protects our body from free radicals, which are responsible for premature ageing. Free radicals are formed by exposure to sun and due to harmful toxins in the environment.
2. It thins your blood
Antioxidants present in pomegranate act as a ‘thinner for your blood’. The seeds of pomegranate prevent your blood platelets from forming clots and coagulating.
There are two types of blood clots, first is the good one which speeds the recovery during a cut or an injury and second is when there is any internal clot, like in heart, arteries or anywhere else inside the body. These type of clots are not good and can be fatal.
3. Prevention of atherosclerosis
With increasing age and the type of lifestyle we live, the walls of our arteries become harder due to cholesterol, resulting in blockages sometimes. The anti-oxidant property of pomegranate prevents bad cholesterol from oxidizing. So, eating pomegranates removes the excess fat and prevents the hardening of artery walls.
4. It acts like an oxygen mask
Pomegranate helps to pump the level of oxygen in our blood. Due to anti-oxidants present in pomegranate, it fights free radicals, reduces cholesterol and prevents blood clot. All this eventually helps blood to flow freely and thus improve the level of oxygen in your body.
5. It prevents arthritis
Pomegranate can reduce the damage of the cartilage by fighting the enzyme that does so. Pomegranate also has the ability to reduce inflammation.
6. Fights erectile dysfunction
Though it is not a wonder drug but yes pomegranate juice can slightly improve erectile dysfunction. And a lot of theories prove this as true.
7. Fights heart disease and prostate cancer
Two studies claim that pomegranate juice has the ability to fight prostate cancer. An experiment showed that pomegranate juice slowed the growth and even killed cultured cancer cells. And as we have already mentioned in the second point, pomegranate juice thins the blood and thus improves its condition which in turn prevents cardiovascular diseases.
8. Pomegranate is loaded with beneficial nutrients
A cup of pomegranate seed contains 24 grams of sugar and 144 calories. A cup of pomegranate seeds contain following nutrients:
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Folate: 16 per cent of the RDA
Potassium: 12 per cent of the RDA
Vitamin C: 30 per cent of the RDA
Vitamin K: 36 per cent of the RDA
9. It improves memory
A study was conducted where people who had a problem with their memory were given 237ml of pomegranate juice every day. After a certain period of time, a lot of improvement was seen in their verbal and visual memory. In fact, another experiment done on mice shows that pomegranate consumption can also prevent Alzheimer’s. But the experiment is yet to be done on humans.
10. It lowers blood pressure
Punicic acid is one of the main constituents of pomegranate that help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.
11. Helps in digestion
We all know fibre is good for digestion. But due to our lifestyle where we are inclined towards eating junk food, we miss the goodness of fibre in our vegetables and fruits. Adding pomegranate to your everyday diet can be one the best ways to include fibre in your daily routine. One pomegranate contains 45 per cent of your daily recommended intake of fibre.
12. Boosts immunity
Being rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, pomegranates are extremely healthy for those suffering from immune-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and osteroarthrits. They are also rich in vitamin C, which boosts antibody production and helps in the development of immunity. Pomegranates can thus help you maintain a healthy immune system and keep common illnesses and infections at bay.
13. Lowers stress levels
Apart from reducing body’s internal oxidative stress, pomegranates also help lower psychological stress that you go through in your personal and professional life. According to a study conducted by Queen Margaret University, people who drank pomegranate juice had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is increased under stressful situations.
14. Prevent plaque formation
You use mouth wash to improve your oral health, but much to your surprise pomegranate juice can be a better option than alcohol containing mouth washes. Certain compounds in pomegranate exhibit strong antiplaque effects.
A study showed that hydroalcoholic extract of pomegranate effectively lowered dental plaque formation due to microorganisms build up by almost 84 per cent.
Caution: Pomegranate juice is good for cardiovascular health but in rare cases, it may react with a patient’s medication.

Do you know what beverage comes from fruit seeds and in just small amounts has been shown to make incredibly positive impacts on human health? I’m talking about pomegranate juice — that naturally sweet, ruby red liquid that comes from pomegranate seeds and is loaded with impressive pomegranate health benefits just like its source.

Pomegranates have been shown to prevent and naturally treat everything from inflammation and high cholesterol to high blood pressure and hyperglycemia.

Juice made from pomegranates is an antioxidant powerhouse that’s said to even trump red wine and green tea. With proven anticancer fighting abilities as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it’s no wonder this fruit juice has such a great reputation.

Let’s look at how pure and potent 100 percent pomegranate juice, in small amounts, might be much more than a tasty fruit-sourced beverage.

What Is Pomegranate Juice?

Pomegranate or pom juice comes from pomegranates. The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-producing deciduous shrub or small tree in the Lythraceae family.

Pomegranates are native to southeastern Europe and Asia. After being cultured in Spain, it’s believed that pomegranates were brought to Mexico and California in the 16th century by missionaries.

One large pomegranate typically makes somewhere between one-fourth and one-half cup of juice. Just like the seeds of the fruit itself, fresh pomegranate juice made from the seeds is impressively nutritious.

Just one cup (249 grams) of pomegranate juice contains about:

  • 134 calories
  • 32.7 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.4 gram protein
  • 0.7 gram fat
  • 0.2 gram fiber
  • 25.9 micrograms vitamin K (32 percent DV)
  • 59.8 micrograms folate (15 percent DV)
  • 533 milligrams potassium (15 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram manganese (12 percent DV)
  • 0.9 milligram vitamin E (5 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (5 percent DV)
  • 17.4 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
  • 0.6 milligram niacin (3 percent DV)
  • 27.4 milligrams calcium (3 percent DV)
  • 27.4 milligrams phosphorus (3 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)

Health Benefits

1. Helps Fight Cancer

Research shows that the extracts of pomegranate fruit contain polyphenols and other compounds that have been shown in scientific studies to have antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects in prostate, lung, breast and other cancers.

In simpler terms, this means that pomegranate has been shown to inhibit the spread of cancer cells, encourage the death of cancer cells and discourage inflammation, three major and vital aspects of successfully fighting against any cancer in the body.

A 2014 study conducted by the University of Albany demonstrated how pomegranate extract can specifically inhibit the spread of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Pomegranate juice has also shown itself to be especially helpful for prostate cancer. The results of the first clinical trial of pomegranate juice in patients with cancer of the prostate was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research in 2006.

The subjects of this trial were men who had already undergone surgery or radiation to treat their cancer.

These subjects were given eight ounces (one cup) of pomegranate juice daily until there was cancer progression. The researchers found that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) doubling time was significantly prolonged in the subjects taking the treatment.

This is significant since PSA is a blood marker for prostate cancer and PSA doubling time is used to determine the life expectancy of a prostate cancer patient. So the lower the PSA doubling time, the better the outlook, according to research published by Harvard Medical School.

In 2012, another study found that pomegranate extract weakened human prostate cell proliferation in vitro. Combined, all this research shows pomegranate’s abilities as a cancer-fighting food.

2. Decreases Hypertension

Pomegranate juice has a high antioxidant capacity and scientific research has demonstrated that it can help lower high blood pressure. A meta-analysis published in 2016 reviewed numerous studies of pomegranate juice and its effect on blood pressure.

Overall, this meta-analysis concludes that there appears to be “consistent benefits of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure.” The researchers also add, “This evidence suggests it may be prudent to include this fruit juice in a heart-healthy diet.”

3. Boosts Heart Health

Since juice from pomegranate is so good for systolic blood pressure, it’s not surprising that this delicious beverage is also excellent for heart health. It contains antioxidants at higher levels than many other fruit juices, which is why it can be so helpful to the heart.

Research published in Clinical Nutrition studied pomegranate juice consumption by patients with carotid artery stenosis, which is a narrowing of either of the two key arteries located in the front of the neck, through which blood from the heart goes to the brain.

Participants who consumed this beneficial juice lowered their blood pressure by more than 12 percent and had a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque.

Participants who did not drink the juice actually saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.

Overall, the study found that juice consumption reduced plaque in the carotid artery as well as lowered blood pressure and LDL oxidation.

4. Relieves Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is among the most prevalent forms of musculoskeletal disorders that lead to joint degeneration.

Studies have suggested that juice from pomegranate seeds may play a protective role by decreasing cartilage inflammation. This protective ability has been attributed to the juice’s high antioxidant content.

A 2016 study looked at the effects of this juice on 38 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees. Some of the patients drank pomegranate seed juice for six weeks, while the other patients drank a control substance.

The researchers noted that juice consumption not only improved physical function and stiffness, but it also increased antioxidant status while decreasing breakdown cartilage enzymes.

5. Improves Memory

Studies have shown that juice from pomegranates can be helpful when it comes to improving memory. The polyphenols found in the juice have been shown to be neuroprotective.

One 2013 study randomly assigned subjects to drink eight ounces of either pomegranate juice or a flavor-matched placebo drink for a total of four weeks.

The subjects were older with age-associated memory complaints. The researchers found that the 28 subjects with memory complaints who drank eight ounces (one cup) of pomegranate juice per day significantly improved markers of both verbal and visual memory.

The researchers conclude that the juice appears to increase memory function through task-related increases in functional brain activity.

There is some scientific evidence from animal studies indicating that pomegranate can also help fight Alzheimer’s disease, making this juice a beneficial brain food.

6. Provides Lots of Antioxidants

Pomegranate juice is loaded with health-promoting and disease-fighting antioxidants, and pomegranates are some of the top high-antioxidant foods that fight free radicals and oxidative stress.

The juice of pomegranates contains a tannin called punicalagin as well as polyphenols, anthocyanins, ellagic acid derivatives and hydrolyzable tannins. These are all very powerful antioxidants that support the use of pomegranate juice for skin and overall health.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry actually found that commercial pomegranate juices showed an antioxidant activity three times higher than red wine and green tea.

The antioxidants were actually higher in commercial juice made from the whole pomegranate than in juice from the seeds alone. This is most likely due to the fact the rind of the pomegranate also gets processed in the commercial pomegranate juices, which adds additional antioxidants, specifically tannins.

7. Fights Inflammation

Inflammation has been found to be associated with just about every health condition. Pomegranates and pomegranate juice are known to have potent anti-inflammatory abilities.

A 2013 in vivo study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine demonstrated the juice’s significant anti-inflammatory activity in the gut. In vivo studies performed on the whole fruit, juice, peel and flowers of pomegranate also revealed ant- ulcer effects in a variety of animal models.

Another study conducted with type II diabetics also showed pomegranate juice’s ability to lower inflammation.

Researchers found that 250 milliliters of juice per day for 12 weeks lowered the inflammatory markers in the diabetic subjects. Specifically, the intake of juice lowered hs-CRP by 32 percent and interleukin-6 by 30 percent.

Related: Malic Acid Benefits Energy Levels, Skin Health & More

Comparisons

There are a lot of fruit juices that come from fruits that are easy to eat, like oranges and grapes. Pomegranates, unfortunately, are not so easy to eat at all. People are always wondering how to eat a pomegranate, how to cut a pomegranate and how to open a pomegranate.

The healthiest choice is taking the time and effort to eat fresh pomegranates, but it’s also nice that the juice eliminates all that questioning and work. The juice definitely makes it easy to get the benefits of pomegranate on a more regular basis.

A UCLA study recently ranked the top 10 healthiest juices and other beverages. Guess who the winner was … yes, it was pomegranate juice.

All of the juices studied were rich in polyphenols, but pomegranate came out on top. The researchers ranked the antioxidant content of the juices (and other beverages) according to the following criteria: antioxidant potency, ability to inhibit LDL oxidation and total polyphenol content.

The juices were ranked in the following order:

  • Pomegranate juice
  • Concord grape juice
  • Blueberry juice
  • Black cherry juice
  • Açaí juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice

Additionally, when it comes to antioxidant capacity, pomegranate juice was found to be at least 20 percent greater than any of the other beverages tested.

Read Next: Noni Juice: The Superfruit Beverage that Boosts Immunity

Dosage

For adults, there is no standard recommended does for pomegranate juice, but generally speaking, having eight to 12 ounces of pomegranate juice each day is a safe and healthy amount for most people.

Just always make sure you’re drinking 100 percent pure pomegranate juice with zero grams of added sugar.

For other conditions, the following amounts of pomegranate juice have been used:

  • Atherosclerosis: 1.7 ounces per day
  • Prostate cancer: 8 ounces per day

Fresh pomegranate seeds or juice usually keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you can’t finish the juice within five days, you can freeze it so it retains its flavor and color.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

Most people don’t experience negative pomegranate juice side effects from normal consumption. Most people can also tolerate drinking pomegranate juice on an empty stomach, but be sure to consume it in moderation. It is possible to be allergic to pomegranates.

It’s important for everyone not to overdo it on any juice, including pomegranate, because of the sugar content, but diabetics should be especially cautious. Speak with your doctor before making pomegranate juice a part of your diet if you’re diabetic.

If you tend to have low blood pressure, it’s important to know that drinking this juice may lower blood pressure a small amount. Since pomegranate can affect blood pressure, it’s best to avoid pomegranate products at least two weeks before any surgery.

Juice from pomegranate seeds may also interact with medications similarly to grapefruit juice, making some medications less effective. Speak with your doctor before consuming pomegranate juice if you any ongoing health issues or take any of the following medications:

Final Thoughts

  • It’s true that pomegranate seeds provide you with all the benefits of pomegranate juice, but with less sugar and more fiber. It’s worth the effort to eat fresh pomegranate seeds when you can. However, the juice can be used to get the benefits of this nutritious fruit more easily.
  • Stick with 100 percent pure pomegranate juice in small amounts. That way you won’t overdo it when it comes to the natural sugar found in the juice, but you will get a great dose of key nutrients like vitamin K, potassium and folate.
  • Science confirms that juice from pomegranate really is quite impactful when it comes to your health. For instance, it’s been shown to help fight cancer, decrease hypertension, boost heart health, relieve osteoarthritis, improve memory and fight inflammation, in large part to its antioxidant content. It also beats out a lot of other fruit juices (and common beverages) for the title of “healthiest fruit juice.”

5 Health Benefits of Pomegranate

They can be a pain to open, but pomegranate seeds have superpowers when it comes to your health. Curious what makes the juicy, brightly-colored seeds so good for you? In this video, we’re highlighting five reasons you should add more pomegranate seeds to your plate (or beauty routine) ASAP. Here’s a pro tip before you start loading up on the stuff: Pomegranate tends to be at its best between September and February, so it’s ideal to reach for the juicy fruit during the cooler months.

They’re packed with antioxidants: Pomegranates are full of potent antioxidants such as polyphenols and anthocyanins, which are also present in red wine. These good-for-you compounds protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which may in turn lower your risk of developing harmful conditions like atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the arteries) and cancer.

They may benefit your dental health: Small studies have shown that pomegranate juice can target bacteria in the mouth, so you suffer from less dental plaque.

They may soothe sore muscles: Early research suggests drinking pomegranate juice might help relieve muscle weakness and soreness in certain parts of the body, such as the elbow flexors.

RELATED: 23 Healthiest Superfruits You Need Now

They may lower bad cholesterol: Antioxidants help reduce the “bad” kind of cholesterol, called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Since pomegranate juice contains more antioxidants than many other fruit juices, it’s thought that the dark red drink may help lower your cholesterol.

They keep you looking young: Turns out, pomegranates aren’t just for eating (or drinking). The tart fruit is also packed with anti-aging compounds that make it the perfect ingredient for a DIY exfoliating skin scrub.

2 Easy Ways to Open and Seed a Pomegranate

There are two simple ways to remove pomegranate seeds — with a spoon or knife.

With a spoon

One popular and easy method for removing pomegranate seeds involves using a wooden spoon.

First, cut the fruit in half around the middle. Then, hold it over a bowl with the seed side facing down.

Firmly hit the pomegranate skin with the back of a wooden spoon until all the seeds have fallen out.

You can fill the bowl halfway with water, so the seeds to sink to the bottom while pieces of the pith float to the top. This makes it easier to separate the seeds.

Rinse and strain the seeds to remove any unwanted pith remnants. Now, the arils are ready to enjoy.

Scoring with a knife

Another equally popular and effective method of retrieving pomegranate seeds is to use a knife to score the fruit.

First, using a paring knife, remove the little stem at the top of the fruit, which is known as the flower.

Then, score the sides by cutting the skin between the ridges from top to bottom. If you can’t feel the ridges, simply make about six evenly spaced cuts around the fruit.

To prevent the juices from escaping, don’t make the cuts too deep.

Next, grip the fruit and place your thumbs at the top where the flower was. Gently pull apart the fruit to separate the sections.

It may be helpful to do this over a bowl so all the loose seeds are caught.

To continue, peel off the white membrane that surrounds each section of seeds.

Lastly, working over a bowl or clean surface, pull the edges of each section back towards you to push the seeds out and into the bowl.

Depending on the ripeness of the fruit and how easily the seeds come out, you may have to gently rub some of the seeds to detach them.

Now, they’re ready to enjoy.

Summary You can remove the tasty pomegranate seeds from the fruit using the wooden spoon or paring knife methods.

No doubt they’re beautiful. Whether whole or simply a container of fresh ruby-red arils, pomegranates tend to grab your eye as you’re walking through the produce aisle.

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We chatted with registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, about why these juicy, ruby-red fruits can be a great addition to your autumn eating. Here’s what she had to say:

1. High in antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that help to protect cells from environmental toxins such as pollution and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants are known to help prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancer.

Pomegranate juice alone won’t keep cancer at bay, but studies suggest it may be a nutritious addition to a healthy, plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

2. May benefit prostate health

Some research has found that components in pomegranate juice helped to inhibit the movement of cancer cells by weakening their attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the spread of cancer.

Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found that pomegranate juice appeared to suppress the growth of cancer cells and the increase in cancer cell death in men who have had preliminary treatment for prostate cancer.

“There are some studies with pomegranate that suggest a role in slowing the growth of prostate cancer,” Zumpano says. “But it should be noted that the studies examined pomegranate juice in the context of a healthy plant-based diet.”

3. Promote heart health

The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may help to keep cholesterol in a form that is less damaging and also may reduce plaque that already has built up in vessels, some research shows.

In a study of healthy men, researchers from Israel concluded that pomegranate juice decreases the likelihood of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that forms plaque and indicated that it improves HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Another Israeli study showed a decrease in the development of atherosclerosis in mice whose diets were supplemented with pomegranate juice. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls, which can restrict blood flow.

“There are some studies that show pomegranates may help to prevent plaque buildup in your arteries,” Zumpano says. “If heart disease runs in your family, it might make sense to add pomegranate to your diet.”

How to cut open and eat a pomegranate

Rather than drinking a bottled pomegranate juice, break the pomegranate open and eat the fruit on the inside. That way, you’ll consume less sugar.

Be warned, however, there is a trick to cutting the fruit open properly. Here’s an easy way to peel a pomegranate:

  1. Hold the pomegranate so the protruding stem end faces one side. Slice away a wide swath of the crown with the stem in the middle. Then turn the fruit so the cut edge is on top.
  2. You’ll see a set of sections that radiate from the top; a second set radiates from the stem end too. The two sets are divided by a ridge running around the pomegranate about two thirds of way down from the top.
  3. Slice the pomegranate skin along the ridges that run from the top to the bottom and along the horizontal ridge. Try to score through the skin as deep as the white membrane and avoid slicing into the seeds.
  4. Then, using your fingers, gently pull the pomegranate apart. It will fall into a star shape, like a blossom. Spoon out the juicy seeds to eat and discard the white membrane, which has a bitter taste.

If you don’t want to eat pomegranate seeds with a spoon, consider sprinkling them atop your salads, oatmeal, quinoa, or yogurt.

Pomegranates also complement poultry such as chicken and turkey dishes.

Half of a pomegranate is considered one serving of the fruit, which is in season from October through January.

Fifteen health benefits of pomegranate juice

Here are some of the potential benefits of pomegranate.

1. Antioxidants

Share on PinterestPomegranates have been eaten throughout history for their health benefits. Nowadays, the juice of this fruit is a popular part of healthy diets.

Pomegranate seeds get their vibrant red hue from polyphenols. These chemicals are powerful antioxidants.

Pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation.

2. Vitamin C

The juice of a single pomegranate has more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be broken down when pasteurized, so opt for homemade or fresh pomegranate juice to get the most of the nutrient.

3. Cancer prevention

Pomegranate juice recently made a splash when researchers found that it may help stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. Despite multiple studies on the effects of the juice on prostate cancer, results are still preliminary.

While there haven’t been long-term studies with humans that prove that pomegranate juice prevents cancer or reduces the risk, adding it to your diet certainly can’t hurt. There have been encouraging results in studies so far, and bigger studies are now being done.

4. Alzheimer’s disease protection

The antioxidants in the juice and their high concentration are believed to stall the progress of Alzheimer disease and protect memory.

5. Digestion

Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

While there are conflicting beliefs and research on whether pomegranate juice helps or worsens diarrhea, most doctors recommend avoiding it until you are feeling better and your symptoms have subsided.

6. Anti-inflammatory

Pomegranate juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory because of its high concentration of antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress and damage.

7. Arthritis

Flavonols in pomegranate juice may help block the inflammation that contributes to osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. The juice is currently being studied for its potential effects on osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis and joint inflammation.

8. Heart disease

Pomegranate juice is in the running as the most heart-healthy juice. It appears to protect the heart and arteries.

Small studies have shown that the juice improves blood flow and keeps the arteries from becoming stiff and thick. It may also slow the growth of plaque and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. But pomegranate may react negatively with blood pressure and cholesterol medications like statins.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before indulging in the juice or taking a pomegranate extract supplement.

9. Blood pressure

Drinking pomegranate juice daily may also help lower systolic blood pressure. A comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials stated that it would be beneficial for heart health to include pomegranate juice daily.

10. Antiviral

Between the vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, pomegranate juice can prevent illness and fight off infection. Pomegranates have also been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests. They are being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses.

11. Vitamin-rich

In addition to vitamin C and vitamin E, pomegranate juice is a good source of folate, potassium, and vitamin K.

Whether you decide to add pomegranate to your daily diet or just sip on it every now and then, check the label to ensure that it is 100 percent pure pomegranate juice, without added sugar. Or, juice it fresh.

12. Memory

Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a daily may improve learning and memory, according to a recent study.

13. Sexual performance and fertility

Pomegranate juice’s concentration of antioxidants and ability to impact oxidative stress make it a potential fertility aid. Oxidative stress has been shown to cause sperm dysfunction and decrease fertility in women.

The juice has also been shown to help reduce oxidative stress in the placenta. But researchers don’t yet know the exact benefits this may provide. Drinking pomegranate juice can also increase testosterone levels in men and women, one of the main hormones behind sex drive.

14. Endurance and sports performance

Move over, tart cherry and beet juice. Pomegranate juice may be the new sport performance enhancer. The juice may help reduce soreness and improve strength recovery. It also decreases oxidative damage caused by exercise.

15. Diabetes

Pomegranate was traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India. While much is still unknown about the effects of pomegranate on diabetes, it may help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.

A

Pomegranates are rich in micronutrients with potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and are often compared favorably with red wine and green tea in terms of health benefits. But there’s little good evidence that the level of nutrients found in the fruit translates into true gains for human health, said Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic’s complementary and integrative medicine program, because few clinical trials have been done.

“There’s a suggestion pomegranate can do a lot of things,” Dr. Bauer said. “The trouble is there’s very limited data.”

Among the active ingredients in pomegranates are polyphenols such as ellagitannins, which inhibit the activation of inflammatory pathways, and anthocyanins, which give the fruit its deep red color and also have antioxidant activity. Diets high in these compounds have been linked to a reduced risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease and some cancers.

One 2008 study found that pomegranate juice had greater antioxidant activity and polyphenol content than red wine, Concord grape juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, acai juice, apple juice and orange juice. Another study found that pomegranate juice and seed extracts had two to three times the antioxidant capacity of either red wine or green tea.

Some small human trials have found that drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis may aid cardiovascular health by improving vascular health, blood pressure and levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

There is also research showing that pomegranate extract inhibits the growth of prostate, breast, colon and lung cancer cells in lab cultures, and may inhibit the growth of some tumors in animals. Human trials are now looking at whether pomegranate juice can help slow prostate cancer progression. A trial funded by the National Institutes of Health is currently recruiting men with localized prostate cancer who are being closely monitored but not actively treated for their disease, to assess whether pomegranate extract pills will slow progression of the disease.

Pomegranate may affect the metabolism of some medications, Dr. Bauer warned, so people who are on blood thinners or blood pressure drugs called ACE inhibitors may want to talk to their doctor if they’re eating a lot of the fruit.

Pomegranate: Still Healthy at 5,000 Years Old

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

The pomegranate is one of the oldest known fruits. Pomegranates are found in ancient writings and pictured in the ancient art of many cultures and religions. The pomegranate is also a symbol of health, fertility and long life.

Experts think the pomegranate is native to northern India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Today it also grows in Southeast Asia, the western U.S., Armenia and parts of Africa, among other places.

The skin of a pomegranate is strong. It can be red, purple or orange-yellow. The inside is filled with beautiful dark red seeds that shine like rubies. It is not easy to get them out. But the reward is great.

Health benefits

The pomegranate grows on trees. Parts of the pomegranate tree and fruit are used to make medicine.

The pomegranate is used for many conditions. However, the U.S National Institutes of Health says there is not enough scientific evidence to rate pomegranates as effective for any of them.

Still, in traditional medicine, the pomegranate is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure and “hardening of the arteries.”

The jewel-like seeds of the pomegranate are loaded with many nutrients and chemicals called antioxidants. These antioxidants remove poisons from the body.

The antioxidants found in pomegranates may help remove build-up of damage in blood vessels. So, it is a very heart-healthy fruit.

Antioxidants slow the progression of age-related sickness and may slow the growth of cancer cells. Men who have prostate cancer may benefit from a daily serving of pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates are used for weight loss and used as a treatment for sore throat. Pomegranates are also high in vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.

Let’s just say pomegranates are loaded with great things for the inside of your body.

Beauty benefits

But let’s not forget the outside, too!

Pomegranates are great for the skin. They protect the skin by encouraging new skin growth, healing wounds and repairing tissue. Pomegranates protect the skin against sun damage as well. They may help skin look younger by providing moisture and elasticity.

Iranian women in Tehran prepare pomegranates to serve at a celebration for Yalda, the longest night of the year, December 20, 2008. (FILE PHOTO)

Recipes for pomegranates

But how does one eat a pomegranate?

Pomegranates seeds are both sweet and tart. A thick liquid, or syrup, from the pomegranate tastes great with lamb, pork or chicken dishes.

Pomegranate seeds provide extra flavor to salads and other vegetable dishes. The seeds are also delicious in rice and grain dishes. And, of course pomegranates make great desserts. In the U.S., pomegranate juice is often added to sparkling drinks, drinks called smoothies and alcoholic drinks.

Fresh pomegranates are only available in the United States from September to January. They can keep, or remain good to eat, in the refrigerator for about two months if kept in a plastic bag.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Are pomegranates popular where you live? Share recipes or other health and beauty benefits in our comments section!

Words in this Story

ruby – n.a deep red stone that is used in jewelry : a dark red color

moisture – n. a small amount of a liquid (such as water) that makes something wet or moist

elasticity – n. the quality or state of being elastic

elastic – adj. able to return to an original shape or size after being stretched, squeezed, etc.

tart – adj. having a sharp or sour taste. For example, lemonade without enough sugar is tart.

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