Did you know pomegranates are actually berries. They’re big and red, looking a bit like an apple, but instead of taking a bite, you eat the arils, the outer covering for the seed and the seed. In fact the skin of the pomegranate is inedible. Pomegranates are incredibly healthy with a rich nutrient profile. They’re high in fiber and a good source of Vitamins C and K, plus have a good amount of folate and potassium. A cup of the aril covered seeds contains 3 grams of protein. Pomegranates have a wide variety of phytonutrients that provide a great deal of benefits for the body. Some of those also have medicinal properties.
Two of the beneficial phytonutrients in pomegranate are punicalagin and punic acid.
Punicalagin are antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the cells from free-radicals and oxidation. If you’ve considered a cup of green tea in the evening for its antioxidant properties, why not consider some pomegranate juice instead. The antioxidant properties are three times stronger. If you’ve taken a pomegranate supplement, chances are, it was made from the peel of the pomegranate, since it has high amounts of punicalagin. Punicic acid is the fatty acid found in arils and pomegranate seed. It’s a good source of CLA—conjugated linoleic acid. There are many benefits of CLA, including improving weight loss.
If hypertension is a problem, add more pomegranates to your diet.
While eating one pomegranate occasionally won’t help, especially if you’re still eating sugar, salt and trans fat, substituting a pomegranate for a sugary snack once a day will give you extra nutrients and it could help lower your blood pressure. In one study, people who drank five ounces of pomegranate juice a day for two weeks had a reduction in blood pressure. Other studies have shown the same. Consuming the whole seed, which contains fiber, could provide even more benefits.
If arthritis pain and joint pain are slowing you down, try pomegranate extract.
While there are more animal studies than human studies that show the extract from pomegranates can help with joint pain, both give rise to optimism. The compounds in pomegranates are anti-inflammatory and studies show they can help with the inflammation of the joints that occurs with arthritis. Pomegranate extract has shown in lab studies that it blocks the enzymes that cause joint damage in osteoarthritis and may be helpful in other types of arthritis.
- Gum disease and yeast infections could be helped or prevented when you eat pomegranates. Studies show its antiviral, anti-bacterial properties can help protect the gums from gingivitis, periodontitis and other dental disorders.
- If you need a boost to your memory, maybe pomegranate extract can help. One small study showed it improved memory in older adults significantly. Another animal study showed it helped provide protection from Alzheimer’s.
- Animal studies and a few human studies have shown that pomegranate juice could increase blood flow and fight oxidative damage, which included damage to erectile tissues. It could help erectile dysfunction.
- Both prostate cancer and breast cancer may be helped with the aid of pomegranate juice. While there’s just lab study on its breast cancer fighting properties, the prostate cancer studies showed promise in slowing the growth of prostate cancer cells with an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice a day.
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