Pomegranate – a royal fruit in its own right
The many seeded fruit pomegranate has a wide range of health benefits. Given the various pomegranate benefits for skin
and overall health, it’s a shame it’s not considered the king of fruits. However, that shouldn’t stop us from reaping the benefits.
As per historians and fruit connoisseurs, pomegranate was first cultivated in northern India and the Iranian plateau region. The word quickly spread further west and east, and many countries including America started growing pomegranate in the 18th century. By the end of the 20th century, pomegranate became mainstream across America and is used in a variety of dishes and desserts. Despite the huge demand and interest in the fruit, pomegranate farming couldn’t thrive in the mid-Atlantic British colonies due to unfavorable climatic conditions.
What is Pomegranate and Where do Pomegranates Come From?
Pomegranates are grown across the world, especially in semiarid, mild climates. Rainfall of 7 to 22 inches is optimal for its growth, and the plant turns out to be hardy and long-lasting, if the conditions are right. While we are on this topic, here’s a fun fact. A pomegranate plant can last up to 200 years, which means six generations of humans can pluck fruits from the same pomegranate tree.
The Pomegranate plant has low-hanging fruits with over 500 varieties. While some of these plant species are cultivated for the fruit, others are used as a foundation planting in landscapes or as a fence to keep wild animals at bay.
As we progress into the fall season, the plant changes color from vivid green to bright yellow. However, some varieties retain their green color all year round. The pomegranate plant also bears flowers with colors ranging from white or pink to deep orange.
Pomegranate fruit is classified as a berry. Depending on the size and variety, it can have 300 to 1300 seeds underneath its leathery skin. These ruby red seeds are arranged in an orderly fashion between layers of spongy pulp.Since there are hundreds of varieties of pomegranate, the taste varies from winey, earthy flavor to tart-sweet to very sweet.
Unlike many other fruits, pomegranate can be stored for a long time. Keep it in the refrigerator at 32° to 40° F, and it’ll come out as fresh as ever even after 7 months. One thing that we all know about pomegranates is that scoring one can create a lot of mess. Let’s not even get started on the stains that it leaves on the fabric and chopping board. That’s the reason why it is advised to cut and peel a pomegranate under running water or fully submerged.
What is pomegranate good for?
The whole point of consuming any fruit is the nutritional value and health benefits it offers. Some of the pomegranate Vitamins are Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. Pomegranate has antimicrobial properties, and it’s a rich source of polyphenols, potassium and vitamins B5, B6, C. And it’s all in the juice.
Pomegranate juice can be a perfect addition to your breakfast or brunch, or you can have it any time you feel like it. However, squeezing a pomegranate into a glass may not be as easy as it sounds. So, it is recommended to use a juicer.
Pomegranate is used across the world for various purposes, and the best thing about it is that none of it goes to waste. While the arils can be eaten fresh from the fruit, the thick leathery skin can be dried and used to make extracts. The dry seeds can be ground to make a spice called anardana, which is used in traditional recipes and for making supplements to improve digestion.
Plus, the arils are used in various fruit and vegetable dishes, salads, sauces and marinades to name a few.
Apart from their nutrition value, pomegranates contain high amounts of tannins, which are used to cure leather for commercial purposes. Also, arils, flowers and rind are used to make dyes at home.
Benefits of pomegranate
Pomegranate is considered one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. The various health benefits of pomegranate are credited to two of its compounds called punicalagin and punicic acid. These compounds help fight inflammation and certain ailments to promote overall wellness.While punicalagins are extremely potent antioxidants, punicic acid is a fatty acid with positive biological effects.
Let’s have a look at various benefits of pomegranate in detail:
Inflammation in tissues can lead to several diseases and long-term health issues, such as obesity, heart conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and even some types of cancer.
According to a test-tube study, pomegranates can reduce inflammation in the colon as well as the digestive tract.
Helps with Prostate Health
Prostate cancer can affect men in more ways than one. Initially, the symptoms may be mild and confined to the prostate gland, but as it grows and spreads to other areas, it can lead to serious complications. Some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer are blood in the urine, blood in the semen, abnormal weight loss, and erectile dysfunction to name a few.
The prostate cancer cells multiply so fast that they can double in less than a year, thereby increasing the risk of death.
Studies have found that drinking 250ml of pomegranate every day can slow down the growth of cancer cells. And as the growth rate of cancer cells declines, the possibilities of treatment increase and the patient has better chances of surviving.
Fights Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the common types of cancer in women. Around 13% of American women are prone to invasive breast cancer. If that was not concerning enough, over 43000 women are expected to succumb to breast cancer in 2021, as per the recent stats by Breastcancer.org.
Limited laboratory studies have established a positive correlation between pomegranate extracts and breast cancer. However, more research is needed in this area.
Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure stats are blowing up in the US and across the globe. Due to work stress and poor eating habits, both men and women are susceptible to high blood pressure in their 30s and beyond.
High blood pressure or hypertension should be taken seriously because it is an indicator of a heart condition and may lead to cardiac arrest.
Does pomegranate juice lower blood pressure? Well, it does. A two-week study found that consuming 150ml of pomegranate juice every day can lower blood pressure. People between the age of 30 and 67 were recruited into the study and were given 150ml of pomegranate juice between lunch and dinner. At the end of two weeks, their blood pressure levels, as well as endothelial function, showed significant improvement.
Reduces Joint Pain & Arthritis
A sedentary lifestyle is an open invitation to joint pain and imbalances. By the time the symptoms become obvious and painful, it’s already too late.
Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranates can help joint inflammation. It can also help prevent joint pain by blocking the enzymes that cause pain in the first place.
With technology acting as external storage for us, we are relying less on our intrinsic memory to retain information. In other words, we are not working out our memory muscles like we used to. Consequently, we often complain about not being able to recall someone’s name or misplacing items at home or work.
Some people experience a sudden decline in their memory power immediately after a surgery or during an ongoing treatment that involves heavy sedatives and medication.
Age is another factor that leads to deteriorating memory power. Although it’s natural, it’s not necessary.
Pomegranate is a proven remedy for improving memory. A study conducted on surgical patients concluded that taking two grams of pomegranate extract benefits
can help prevent memory deficits immediately after surgery.
Another study conducted on individuals in their 30s and older has established a positive correlation between pomegranate juice and memory power. In that study, a group of adults who would complain about their poor memory were given 250ml of pomegranate juice every day, and they happened to see an improvement in as little as two weeks.
Helps in maintaining reproductive health in men
Erectile Dysfunction can happen due to several reasons. It could be due to chronic mental stress, nerve damage or poor blood flow in the penile shaft.
Pomegranate can help improve blood flow and manage stress. A study conducted on men showed positive results, but more research is required in order to reach a statistical conclusion. However, in case of nerve damage or any other underlying condition, proper clinical treatment is recommended.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, pomegranate can fight bacterial and fungal infections in the body and the mouth. People suffering from gingivitis and other oral issues can benefit from drinking pomegranate juice every day.
Pomegranate juice is an antidote for yeast Candida albicans and several types of bacterial infections. One can consume the pomegranate raw, take pomegranate pills, or pomegranate powder, or just sip down a glass of juice. Pomegranate supplements are also available at Kerala Ayurveda, which contain a relatively high concentration of punicalagin and punicic acid to increase its bioavailability.
Lowers the risk of heart disease
There may be several factors leading to a heart disease. While we all are guilty of taking joy in the sedentary lifestyle, that’s an open invitation to heart diseases and other underlying conditions that may pin you
down on the bed in your post-retirement years.
Some of the leading causes of heart diseases are stress, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. While you can start cracking on with exercise and other transformative steps to improve your overall wellness, including pomegranate in your diet can help as well.
Punicic acid present in pomegranate can stop the progression of a heart condition and may reverse it when combined with other wellness measures.
Not only can pomegranate juice lower blood pressure, which is one of the biggest risk factors for any heart disease, but it can also improve endothelial function.
Your daily dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient to help you maintain flawless skin and that natural, youthful glow. If you are not taking citrus fruits every day, one glass of pomegranate juice can fill the deficit. In order to have maximum pomegranate benefits for skin , always consume fresh, preservative-free pomegranate juice.
Helps with Digestion
Drinking 200ml pomegranate juice every day can help with digestive issues and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Does pomegranate juice make you poop? There’s no definite evidence on whether pomegranate juice is laxative or not. Also, more research is needed to find out if it is safe to consume for diarrhea patients. However, most doctors recommend avoiding it until your symptoms have subsided.
Pomegranate as a sports supplement
Pomegranate juice is an all-natural sports supplement that can heal sore muscles, improve endurance and help in strength recovery after a series of sprints. When taken post workout, pomegranate juice can decrease oxidative damage caused by strenuous physical movements.
Helps with the dry cough
Seasonal cough can take a toll on your health, and it can be embarrassing to have frequent episodes of cough while sitting at a restaurant, in a shared taxi or in a classroom. And the more you try to repress it, the more it tends to flare up.
Well, here’s a solution. When you eat a pomegranate, don’t throw away the peel. Instead, let it dry in the sun for a couple of days until it becomes brittle. Chew it like a piece of gum (but don’t swallow it) and you’ll be relieved from cough for the time being.
Eating Pomegranate the Right Way
Simply cut it open and seed it with a knife. You can eat the arils directly or toss them into a fruit salad, green salad or a savory dish. Scoring the fruit can be difficult; so, you are going to need a sharpened knife to slice it up without creating a mess.
You will want to make a superficial cut, as going deep would make the fruit bleed – you don’t want those rigid stains on yourself or the utensils.
Here’s how you can enjoy pomegranate arils.
- Eat them fresh from the fruit.
- Garnish your yogurt, oatmeal, grilled meat dishes or avocado toast. It looks presentable and tastes great.
- Blend the seeds with your smoothies or juices.
- Add them to mocktails and other fruity beverages.
Always pick the ripe fruit as it’s easier to score and tastes better.
Eating pomegranate during pregnancy
A pregnant woman is supposed to eat healthy food and look after herself as well as the baby growing inside her. However, what’s more important is knowing why a woman shouldn’t eat pomegranate or drink pomegranate juice in pregnancy, without first discussing it with your healthcare practitioner.
Pomegranate is a fruit of many benefits, and there’s no evidence that proves that it’s harmful to the placenta. Women can have pomegranate seeds or juice during pregnancy without having to worry about any concerning health implications.
In fact, eating pomegranates can offer multiple benefits to pregnant women. Having 100-150ml of pomegranate once in two days can improve digestion, prevent iron deficiency, and fight free radicals. Free radicals are toxins that circulate in the body as by-products of various internal processes. These free radicals might interfere with the placenta and other bodily functions. Pomegranate juice can help flush these free radicals out of the body.
Pomegranate also contains antioxidants that help repair cell damage and prevents any brain abnormality in the child.
Best time to drink pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice contains sugar and carbs, and therefore, the best time to drink it would be in the morning or right before the exercise so that your body can get sufficient carbs and energy to get you through the day or a strenuous workout session.
Drinking pomegranate juice on an empty stomach in the morning is highly recommended as it contains water and electrolytes that rehydrate your body.
You can also eat pomegranate seeds right after dinner, as it helps with digestion. But avoid having pomegranate juice before bedtime since most people complain about losing sleep or having negative interference with their weight loss regimen.
How much pomegranate juice per day is safe to drink?
As a general recommendation by clinical experts, drinking 2 cups of pomegranate juice is safe, and 1 cup is a healthy choice. However, every individual is unique and may respond differently to pomegranate juice or extracts. So, based on the nutritional value of pomegranates, you can decide the right quantity for yourself.
A cup of pomegranate juice measuring 8 ounces or 250 grams contains 134 calories, 0.4 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat, 32.7 grams of carbohydrates, which comprise 31.5 g of sugar and 0.2 g of fiber.
Also, some people don’t quite have the stomach for pomegranates and may experience increased bowel movements. But that’s just one of those rare occurrences when a person may have already consumed some other laxative. And washing it down with pomegranate juice might just add to the momentum.
How much pomegranate should I eat a day
A 175g of fresh pomegranate contains 144 calories, 3 grams of protein, 2g of fat, 32.5 grams of carbohydrates, 23.8 grams of sugar and 7 grams of fiber. Based on your dietary requirement, you can decide for yourself or have 1 medium-sized pomegranate in a day.
If you can’t eat the whole fruit, you can store leftovers in the freezer and have them the next day or the day after. Pomegranate seeds can last a long time in the freezer – way longer than it would take you to finish them.
How long does pomegranate juice last
Unlike citrus fruit juices that go bad in a day or two, pomegranate juice can last 8 to 10 days in the refrigerator. If you want to extend its life even further, you can freeze it. And when you thaw it out after 8-10 months, it will still taste good. However, that’s not recommended. You should always eat it fresh from the fruit.
But what happens when you store pomegranate juice at room temperature? Well, it is going to go from ‘sweet’ to ‘tart’ to ‘bitter’ to ‘inedible’ in 24-36 hours.
Some people may be allergic to pomegranate and should take notice if they experience any sort of itching, runny nose or difficulty breathing immediately after eating pomegranate seeds or drinking juice.
The allergic reactions triggered by pomegranate can be chalked up to a compound called mannitol.
Pomegranates are also associated with certain drug interactions, so it is recommended to consult your doctor if you are on long-term medication.
Pomegranates are a rich source of polyphenols and other flavonoids that are used in health supplements. Pomegranate health supplements are formulated to increase their bioavailability and make it easier for the body to absorb them for their intended health benefits.
Pomegranate health supplements should be used as complementary medicine and cannot substitute clinical medicines.
There are multiple health benefits to consuming pomegranate, and most people eat it for the taste alone.
With an impressive nutritional value and tons of health benefits, pomegranate is the fruit that men and women of all ages can enjoy.
Kerala Ayurveda provides a wide range of supplements that are made up of natural pomegranate extracts
and other supporting ingredients for healing and overall wellness. Regardless of your Prakriti Dosha, you can consume pomegranate and enjoy its great taste and various health benefits.
We tried to help you understand the benefits, side effects and dosage of pomegranate so that you can understand your relationship with the fruit and whether you should eat it or not, and if yes, then how much.