At a Glance
- Pomegranate is a sweet, juicy fruit with a hard skin and small seeds inside.
- Research that pomegranate may help fight cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Pomegranate is an effective natural antibacterial and antifungal, can help to improve memory and may help with erectile dysfunction.
The pomegranate tree is native to areas like Israel and Iran, across to the Himalayas in north India, and has gradually been introduced in other parts of the world.
The pomegranate tree has been cultivated for its fruit for hundreds of years. It’s even been specifically mentioned in many ancient Greek and Roman texts.
Due to its appealing color and shape, the pomegranate fruit was traditionally used for decorative purposes, but research has shown that pomegranates have amazing health properties in addition to tasting great.
In this article, we explore pomegranate juice benefits for health and how best to use this fruit when juicing.
What’s in a Pomegranate?
While the thick red or pink skin is inedible, the flesh and seeds of the pomegranate fruit contain many beneficial nutrients such as fiber, a little protein, vitamins C and K, potassium and folate. Pomegranate flesh also has a high sugar content which gives them a sweet taste. (source)
Pomegranates are also loaded with plant compounds called phytochemicals, which give plants their color, flavor and protects them from UV rays and insect attacks.
The main phytochemicals in pomegranates are punicalagin, a strong anti-oxidant, and punicic acid, a potent fatty acid.
Let’s investigate the substances found in pomegranates, and examine the scientific evidence to support the health claims about this beautiful, tasty fruit.
Pomegranates Contain Antioxidants
Antioxidants help prevent cell damage by absorbing harmful chemicals called free radicals.
Experts believe antioxidants prevent or limit damage to blood vessels, and can decrease the risk of or may even prevent a variety of different medical conditions such as atherosclerosis, some cancers, macular degeneration, some types of arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has shown that pomegranates are a great source of antioxidants, containing more than three times the amount of antioxidants found in green tea or red wine. (source)
Pomegranates Have Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is the body’s response to infection or injury. While useful immediately after an injury, prolonged inflammation can delay healing and lead to complications.
Inflammation is also a key symptom of inflammatory disease such as asthma, chronic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and many types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some research indicates pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation by as much as 32%. (source)
Pomegranates Help Fight Cancer
In test tube studies, research has shown that pomegranate extract can significantly decrease the growth of and even kill cancer cell (source)
Initial studies using human participants have also shown encouraging results, decreasing cancer cell reproduction in the prostate by 12% and a 17% increase in cancer cell death. (source)
Similar results have also been found when studying pomegranate extract in relation to breast cancer. (source) While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of pomegranate on cancer, there is clear evidence that it has a beneficial role.
Pomegranates Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the main precursors to heart attacks and stroke. There is scientific evidence that pomegranate juice reduces blood pressure.
Several studies have shown that drinking pomegranate juice can cause a significant decrease in blood pressure in as little as two weeks. (source)
Pomegranates Reduces Cholesterol, Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
The importance of a healthy heart is well known. The American Heart Association states that heart disease accounts for one in every three deaths in the US. Strokes are responsible for one in every twenty deaths.
High cholesterol levels, as well as high blood pressure are a major factor in increasing the risk of both heart disease and stroke. (source)
In one research trial, punicic acid – the fatty acid from pomegranates – has been proven to significantly decrease cholesterol levels after just four weeks. Other studies have reported similar results. (source)
Pomegranates for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction isn’t a favorite topic of conversation for anyone, but with some statistics suggesting over 50% of men are affected at some point in their lives, it is a very real problem.
Pomegranate has been shown to be an effective in improving this condition, but in rabbits rather than humans. Only one study has been conducted using human participants, using a small sample size. However, almost half of the participants showed an improvement in their condition. (source)
Pomegranates Fight Bacteria
Many different types of bacteria are present in the body and in everyday life. Some types of bacteria are helpful to health, other types are harmful. Given the right environment, bacteria can reproduce quickly in the human body.
Many types of bacteria produce chemicals called toxins which can damage tissue and make you sick. Pomegranate has been proven to inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria which can cause serious illnesses and health. This includes the bacteria more resistant to traditional medical treatments, such as Staphylococcus aureus, and suggests pomegranate could be used for its antibiotic properties. (source)
Antifungal Properties of Pomegranates
Pomegranate has been proven to fight a variety of infections which are caused by fungus and yeasts. This includes Candida albicans, the type of yeast responsible for the uncomfortable symptoms of thrush. (source)
Pomegranates Help Improve Memory
Everyone can be a little forgetful at times, who doesn’t want to improve their memory?
Research indicates that pomegranate juice can significantly improve your memory.
One research study found that after four weeks of drinking pomegranate juice, the memory capacity of one group of elderly patients had significantly improved when tested with verbal and visual memory tasks compared with another group who had not been given pomegranate juice. (source)
Pomegranate juice interacts with some medicines, so it’s best to seek medical advice before adding pomegranate to your diet if you take medicines that are changed by the liver (e.g. rosuvastatin or cytochrome medication), medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Not only are pomegranates a great tasting, fragrant fruit, they also pack a huge punch when it comes to delivering health benefits. Adding pomegranate to your diet provides you with a highly concentrated source of antioxidants and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Research indicates it can help fight cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. Pomegranate is an effective natural antibacterial and antifungal, can help to improve memory and may help with erectile dysfunction.
The best way to prepare a pomegranate is to cut the top to remove the crown, then cut through the outer skin and tear the fruit in half.
Over a large bowl, flex the inside of the skin outwards and tap firmly on the outside part of the skin. Many of the seeds will fall straight into the bowl. Gently scoop out the remainder.
There’s every reason to include pomegranate in your juicing recipes, and hardly any reasons not to.
Juicing pomegranates means you get the freshest source of nutrients possible, especially if you consume your juice straight away after making it.
Here are some of our favorite pomegranate juicing recipes.
#1 Purely Pomegranate
Pomegranate tastes great on its own, and the high natural sugar content means you don’t need to add anything extra.
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup water
- Simply combine the pomegranate seeds and water in a blender, or juice the seeds with a masticating juicer.
- Add the water and mix well.
#2 Very Berry
Pomegranate combines well with soft fruits for a delicious morning juice.
- 1 cup any combination of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants or blackberries
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 medium apple cubed
- Juice all of the berries
- Then the pomegranate seeds
- Then the apple
- Add water to taste and serve immediately.
#3 Red and Rosy
This is a tasty juice full of flavor and nutrients. The beetroot is hidden among the other red juices, so is great for introducing vegetables into your juicing.
- ½ cup strawberries
- ½ cup cherries or raspberries
- 1 medium beetroot, quartered or cut into chunks
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 medium apple, quartered or cut into chunks
- Juice the strawberries
- Then the raspberries or cherries followed by the pomegranate seeds
- The beetroot is juiced next
- Lastly the apple.
#4 Bloody Pommy
Loosely based on a Bloody Mary (minus the vodka!), this juice is full of antioxidant power and a great way to start your day.
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 medium green apple, quartered or cut into cubes
- Juice the pomegranate seeds first
- Then juice the tomatoes
- The celery and the green apple are last.
- Mix well, pour and serve immediately.
#5 Pomegreat Juice
This is a tasty green juice which is packed full of nutrition. The pomegranate and grapes balance the vegetables very well.
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup grapes
- ½ medium cucumber
- 3-4 sticks celery
- 3-4 cups spinach
- 1 medium green apple, quartered or cut into chunks
- First juice the pomegranate seeds
- Then juice the spinach, grapes, celery, cucumber and lastly the apple.
- Mix well and serve immediately.