Pomegranate, or Punica granatum, is a shrub that produces a red, round fruit that looks like a red apple with a flower-shaped stem.
Categorized as a berry, the pomegranate fruit has a diameter of about 5 to 12 cm.
The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but inside there are hundreds of edible seeds called arils.
The arils correspond to the consumable part of the pomegranate, whether raw or processed into pomegranate juice …
Pomegranate has an impressive nutritional profile: Here is its composition per 100 grams:
|Vitamin B1||0.049 mg||4.45|
|Vitamin B2||0.042 mg||3|
|Vitamin B3||0.3 mg||1.88|
|Vitamin B5||0.49 mg||8.17|
|Vitamin B6||0.09 mg||6.43|
|Vitamin B9||38 µg||19|
|Vitamin C||8.15 mg||10.19|
|Vitamin E||0.6 mg||5|
|Minerals and trace elements||Qty.||% VNR|
The most interesting thing about pomegranate is its high content of vitamin C and its content of powerful plant compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties:
The benefits of pomegranate juice
1. Helps fight cancer
Pomegranate extracts contain polyphenols and other compounds whose antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects on the prostate, lungs, breasts and other cancers have been demonstrated by scientific studies. ((1) In short, pomegranate has been shown to inhibit the spread of cancer cells, promote the death of cancer cells and decrease inflammation, three major and vital aspects of the fight against all cancer in the body. A 2014 study by the University of Albany demonstrated how pomegranate extract can specifically inhibit the spread of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. ((2)
Pomegranate juice has also been found to be particularly useful for prostate cancer. The results of the first clinical trial of pomegranate juice in patients with prostate cancer were published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research in 2006. The subjects of this trial were men with prostate cancer who have had surgery or chemo to treat their prostate cancer. These subjects received one cup of pomegranate juice per day. The researchers then found a positive influence on the prostate specific antigen (PSA). ((3)
PSA is a blood marker for prostate cancer. The PSA doubling time is used to determine the life expectancy of a patient with prostate cancer. In 2012, another study found that pomegranate extract weakens the proliferation of human prostate cells in vitro. ((4) Combined, all of this research demonstrates the usefulness of pomegranate to fight cancer.
2. Improves heart health
As pomegranate juice is beneficial for blood pressure, it is not surprising that pomegranate juice is also excellent for heart health. It is rich in antioxidants, which is why it can be useful for the heart.
Research published in Clinical Nutrition investigated the consumption of pomegranate juice for patients with carotid arterial stenosis (narrowing of one 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 pomegranate juice reduced their blood pressure by more than 12% and atherosclerotic plaque by 30%. Participants who had not drunk the juice saw an increase of 9%. Overall, the study found that consumption of pomegranate juice reduced plaque in the carotid artery as well as blood pressure and LDL oxidation. ((5)
Punic acid, the main fatty acid in pomegranates, can help prevent several stages of the heart disease process.
In a study of 51 people with high cholesterol and triglycerides, 800 milligrams of pomegranate seed oil per day for 4 weeks was shown to significantly reduce triglycerides and improve the triglyceride: HDL ratio (6).
Some interesting readings:
Another study looked at the effects of pomegranate juice in people with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. They noted significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, as well as other improvements (7).
Pomegranate juice has also been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, one of the key steps in the progression to heart disease.
3. Relieves osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of musculoskeletal disorders that lead to joint degeneration. Studies have suggested that pomegranate juice may play a protective role in reducing inflammation in the cartilage. This protective power has been attributed to the high antioxidant content of the juice.
A 2016 study looked at the effects of pomegranate juice on 38 patients with knee OA. Some patients drank pomegranate juice for six weeks, while others drank a control substance. The researchers found that consuming pomegranate juice not only improved physical function and stiffness, but it also decreased the breakdown of enzymes in the cartilage. ((6)
4. Protects from damage caused by free radicals (Antioxidant)
Punicalagins are extremely powerful antioxidants found in pomegranate juice and skin.
They are so powerful that pomegranate juice has an antioxidant activity three times greater than that of red wine and green tea (7).
Pomegranate extract and powder are typically made from the skin, due to its high content of antioxidants and punicalagin.
Punic acid, also known as pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in arils.
It is a type of conjugated linoleic acid with powerful biological effects.
5. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections
The plant compounds in pomegranate can help fight harmful microorganisms (8).
Antibacterial and antifungal effects can also protect against infections and inflammation of the mouth.
This includes conditions like gingivitis, periodontitis and dental stomatitis.
6. Improves memory
Studies have shown that pomegranate juice can be helpful in improving memory. The polyphenols present in the juice have been shown to be neuroprotective.
A 2013 study randomly assigned subjects to drink 227 grams of pomegranate juice or a placebo pomegranate drink for a total of four weeks. The subjects were elderly with age-related memory impairment. The researchers found that the 28 memory impaired subjects who drank pomegranate juice significantly improved markers of verbal and visual memory. The researchers concluded that pomegranate juice appears to increase memory through an increase in functional brain activity. ((11)
Studies (in animals) have shown that pomegranate can also help fight Alzheimer’s disease. So it’s a beneficial fruit for your brain (12)
The risks and disadvantages of pomegranate juice
1. Drug interactions
Pomegranate juice is very healthy and you drink it daily. However, it can interfere with certain medications, such as drugs to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Research by AV Sorokin and published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2006 found that drinking pomegranate juice may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis (a condition involving muscle breakdown that can cause kidney failure) if you take rosuvastatin, a drug that treats cholesterol.
2. Increases blood sugar
Pomegranate juice has a high sugar content. 236 ml of pomegranate juice contains 134 calories and 31.5 g of sugars, of which about 50% comes from glucose and 50% from fructose. This is a really very high concentration, apart from drinking high concentrations of sugar can increase your blood sugar.
Despite its many health benefits, pomegranate juice is probably not the healthiest fruit juice in the world.
It certainly brandishes beautiful arguments, in particular by its richness in antioxidants, its content of vitamin B9 and vitamin C. We have seen that its consumption could be very useful for several important pathologies.
However, its carbohydrate content is higher than the average amount of other fresh fruits and the juice does not allow to benefit from the fibers which are useful for regulating the glycemia.
The quantity of minerals and trace elements present in pomegranate is relatively low since overall it does not cover 10% of NRVs, except potassium and copper.
And finally, the total polyphenol content of pomegranate is much lower than the average content of fruits which is 65.34 mg per 100 g.
When weighed against other fruit juices (Moringa, blueberry, etc.), pomegranate juice could hold its place on a podium, but not in first position.
Are you a health or paramedical practitioner? Boost your visibility by registering for free on Therapeutes.com