Health Tips Express

Health Benefits of Pomegranate

By: Health Tips | Views: 2650 | Date: 01-Mar-2013

If you have never eaten a pomegranate, you don't know what you're missing! Pomegranates are not just a fruit; pomegranates are a super food filled with healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

With more and more research being done on the health benefits of pomegranates we are learning more about how this powerful fruit can keep our bodies healthy.

Also known as the "Granada" or the "Chinese Apple" the pomegranate is widely known for its fruit as well as its juice. The pomegranate originated from India and Persia, but was brought to America by the Spanish settlers. Now grown all over the world, the pomegranate season is between September and February. It grows in warm climates and is resistant to droughts. About the size of a grapefruit and reddish in color this fruit is packed full of essential nutrients.

Pomegranate Health Benefits

1. Pomegranate keep your teeth clean. 
Rich in polyphenolic flavonoids—compounds with antibacterial properties—pomegranate juice has been found to be just as effective as prescription mouthwash at ridding the mouth of plaque, the bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis.

2. Pomegranate regulate cholesterol. 
Pomegranates contain paraoxonase—a naturally occurring enzyme in the body that helps keep LDL (bad cholesterol) from accumulating in arteries. In one study, subjects who drank pomegranate juice for two weeks had an 18% increase in production of the enzyme.

3. Pomegranate can help prevent arthritis. 
Studies have shown that both pomegranate seed oil and pomegranate fruit extract have anti-inflammatory effects that stop the destruction of joints caused by osteoarthritis.

4. Pomegranate are a great source of fiber. 
“A single pomegranate contains nearly a quarter of the USDA’s daily recommended amount of dietary fiber, which helps you feel full and maintain a healthy weight,” says Jennifer Franklin, a Registered Dietitian at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

5. Pomegranate protect your skin. 
Packed with potent antioxidants (including powerful ellagic acid), pomegranates help limit the damage of UV rays. They also defend against free radicals and increase collagen production.

Pomegranate Nutritional Information

However poetic they may be, there is also practical value due to the health benefits of pomegranate. Nutritionally speaking, pomegranates compare favorably to many more familiar fruits. They contain no fat, low sugar and only 80 calories per 100-gram serving, yet they offer 5 grams of fiber and 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Pomegranate juice is almost as popular as whole fruits. Because it’s more concentrated, pomegranate juice is slightly higher in calories than whole seeds at 120 calories per 8-ounce serving. Like whole pomegranates, pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants. This nutrition information applies to pomegranate juice, not to the sweetened mixture of juice and simple syrup called grenadine.

Going beyond the label reveals the full extent of the health benefits of pomegranate.

Pomegranates and Antioxidants

Pomegranates’ deep red color delivers more than just plate appeal; that garnet hue signifies the fruit’s rich supply of antioxidant phytochemicals. Antioxidants counteract cellular damage due to free radicals. While researchers are still studying the effects of antioxidants within the human body and haven’t yet concluded that these compounds work the same in people as they do in a test tube, the National Cancer Society asserts that within the testing they’ve done so far, “antioxidants help prevent the free radical damage that is associated with cancer.” It’s impossible to talk of curing disease with antioxidants, but it’s clear that foods with antioxidants appear to be sensible preventive medicine.

Plenty of foods have antioxidants, but only pomegranates have a related set of compounds called punicalagins. That tongue-twister of a name has its roots in the scientific name for pomegranates, Punica granatum. Punicalagins have the same capacity to neutralize free radicals as other antioxidants, but preliminary studies suggest that these substances also actively seek out free radicals and may have an effect in reducing the chance of prostate cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer.

Pomegranate juice has an antioxidizing capacity of 2,860 units per 100 grams. That compares favorably to prune juice, goji berries and melon juice. If research bears out the distinction between punicalagins and other antioxidants, then consuming both could have an even bigger buffering effect on free radicals.

Vitamins, Minerals and Micronutrients in Pomegranates

Like many fruits, pomegranate supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C. Unlike others, it also contains vitamins B5, B9 and K. Potassium and zinc top the list of vital minerals that pomegranates and pomegranate juice contain.

Better known by its full name, pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is essential to healthy skin and nerve function. The name might be more familiar as a hair-care ingredient, but pantothenic acid is also an important dietary requirement. Research into the importance of pantothenic acid is ongoing, but this micronutrient may help prevent muscle cramping, insulin resistance and adrenal insufficiency.

Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, took on greater significance in the world of nutritional science when researchers found that folic acid deficiency contributed to neural tube defects in babies. Adults also need this vitamin to repair DNA and create healthy blood cells. A single serving of pomegranate seeds contains 10 percent of an adult’s recommended allowance of the vitamin.

People who don’t get enough vitamin K may bruise easily and run a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Usually found in dark green leafy vegetables, vitamin K becomes more palatable when it’s packaged in sweet pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate juice and whole pomegranate seeds contain about 10 percent of an adult’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin K.

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