How many of you love to pick these glorious red fruits, pomegranates known for their amazing medicinal powers?
Pomegranate is a thick skinned super seedy fruit, with a brilliant red hue which is now touted as a wonder fruit by scientific researchers. The name pomegranate derives from the French word “pomegranate” or seeded apple. They are believed to have originated in Iran and brought to Egypt in 1600 BC, where it was not only revered as an important food source but was also widely used for its medicinal value. It was held in high esteem even during those times, as it is evident by their depiction in Egyptian paintings and tombs. Inspired by the abundance of jewel toned seeds within the bright red rind, pomegranate is considered to be a symbol of fertility and prosperity in some cultures.
Drinking pomegranate juice benefits our health and skin in a myriad of ways. It is one of the few fruits whose juice is as beneficial as the fruit itself. This is because the peel contains the maximum amount of antioxidants which are released in abundance when the fruit is squeezed while juicing. It is currently ranked alongside blue berries and green tea for its nutritional benefits.
Some people might find it a bit cumbersome to deal with the little seeds, which is why, extracting its juice is the best way to utilize the benefits of pomegranate juice. Drinking it allows for a quick and easy assimilation of all the nutrients found in the bloodstream by the body. In comparison to other fruits, pomegranates contain the maximum amount of anti-oxidants. It contains approximately 3 times more antioxidants than green tea and oranges.
A single glass of pomegranate juice can provide you with 40 % of the daily requirement of folic acid and vitamins A, C, and E. Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, being completely unprocessed, triumphs over packaged juice any day, as it retains the maximum number of vitamins. Make sure that the juice is unsweetened as sugar being inflammatory can counteract some of the health benefits of this fruit.
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Nutritional Value of Pomegranate:
Pomegranate is a great source of ellagic acid, and antioxidant and punicic acid, an omega 5 polyunsaturated fatty acid which is highly beneficial for cell regeneration and proliferation. The juice of this fruit is an exceptional source of vitamin A, C and E and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, folic acid, niacin, thiamin, folates and riboflavin.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice:
Pomegranate has been used for medicinal purposes in the middle and Far East regions for over thousands of years. It was used as a tonic to heal ailments like ulcers and diarrhea. The juice of pomegranate contains antioxidants like anthocyanin and ellagic acid, compounds like gallic acids, and flavonoids like quercetin which offer protection from diabetes, heart diseases, osteoarthritis and several kinds of cancer.
1. Heart Benefits:
Pomegranate juice can have a great impact on health, particularly on the health of the heart, by keeping the arteries flexible and decreasing the inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels. It is known to reduce atherosclerosis, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease. It lowers the risk of blockage in the arteries which can cause a restriction in the flow of blood to the heart and brain. In other words it has an anti-atherogenic effect on the heart (1). It lowers the amount of LDL or bad cholesterol that is retained in the body and increases the amount of good cholesterol or HDL (2).
2. Maintains Blood Sugar Levels:
Although pomegranate juice contains fructose, it does not elevate the blood sugar levels as other fruit juices do. Studies have shown that there was no significant increase in the blood sugar level of diabetic patients who drank this juice daily for a period of 2 weeks (3).
3. Maintains Blood Pressure:
Pomegranates are also known to reduce high blood pressure (4). The juice reduces lesions and the inflammation of blood vessels in heart patients. It is a natural aspirin, which keeps the blood from coagulating and forming blood clots. It even acts as a blood thinner allowing for an unrestricted flow of blood through the body.
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4. Protection From Cancer:
Pomegranate juice eliminates free radicals from the body and inhibits the growth and development of cancer and other diseases. Its high contents of anti- oxidants stimulate the white blood cells to neutralize toxins in the body thereby promoting a strong and healthy immune system. Pomegranate is believed to induce apoptosis, a process where the cells destroy themselves. Daily intake of a glass of pomegranate juice can slow down the growth of cancerous cells in prostate cancer (5). Moreover it appears to block aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen, a hormone which plays a crucial role in the development of breast cancer (6).
5. Soothes the Stomach:
Pomegranate juice is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (7) and dysentery as it plays a vital role in the secretion of enzymes which aids proper digestion. Mixing 1 teaspoon of honey in a glass of pomegranate juice is sure to cure indigestion problems.
6. Boosts Immunity:
Pomegranate juice has strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which help fight viruses and bacteria and boost our immunity system (8). It significantly reduces microbes that are found in the mouth commonly responsible for cavities and staph infections. Its anti-microbial properties make it an inhibitor of HIV transmission. Out of all the fruits, pomegranate has the highest potential to inhibit the transmission of HIV.
7. Prevents Anaemia:
Anaemia is a condition caused by the deficiency of red blood cells in the body. Since pomegranate juice contains ample amount of iron it helps in surmounting the red blood cell deficiency in the body (9). Mixing some candied sugar in pomegranate juice and introducing a couple of drops in the nostrils is a quick fix to control nose bleeds. It is an excellent remedy for red or sore eyes and falling eye lashes.
8. Improves Digestion:
Pomegranate juice aids in the smooth functioning of the stomach, heart and liver. This juice induces hunger and can even control thirst. Therefore it is a great choice of drink during summers. It also soothes urinary tract infection and eases the flow of urine (10). The high amount of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble in pomegranate juice helps to improve digestion and regulate bowel movement. Since it has no saturated fats or cholesterol, it is highly recommended for those aiming to lose weight.
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9. Helps in Cartilage Regeneration:
Pomegranate juice acts as an inhibiter on enzymes that are responsible for damaging the cartilage. It is therefore highly recommended for patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Studies conducted have proved the application of this juice to reduce deterioration of the cartilage. Unsweetened pomegranate juice relieves symptoms of arthritis and bone inflammation (11). A regular intake of this juice may curb the onset of neurological problems like Alzheimer disease. It is also known to dissolve kidney stones and cures erectile dysfunction in men.
10. Good for Prenatal Care:
Pomegranate juice is extremely beneficial for pregnant women. It is a great source of a number of vitamins and minerals including folic acid which is a crucial element of a pre natal diet. The anti-inflammatory property of pomegranate juice ensures a healthy blood flow, which is essential for the overall development of the foetus (12). The potassium content in this juice can also help prevent leg cramps that are generally associated with pregnancy. When consumed regularly by expectant mothers, it is known to lower the risk of premature child birth or birth of babies with low birth weight.
Skin Benefits of Pomegranate Juice:
Pomegranate juice, can be a secret potion to get a healthy, vibrant and youthful skin.
11. Anti-Aging Benefits:
A diet high in pomegranate juice can help to slow down the process of ageing by reducing wrinkles and fine lines caused by constant exposure to sun (13). It also helps to sustain the regeneration of the skin cells and prevents hyper pigmentation and occurrence of dark spots.
12. Suited for All Skin Types:
Pomegranate juice works wonders for dry skin (14). Its small molecular structure penetrates deeply into the skin to provide ample moisturisation and hydration to the skin. Thus it soothes dry and irritated skin. Its content of punicic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid keeps the skin constantly hydrated by sealing in the moisture. Pomegranate juice is beneficial for oily and pimple prone skin too. Application of pomegranate juice on oily skin prevents the outbreak of pimples and controls the production of sebum.
13. Helps to Heal Scars:
Pomegranate helps in the regeneration of cells in the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin. It has an ability to hasten the process of healing of wounds. Even the oil of pomegranate seeds is loaded with skin friendly nutrients which are beneficial for the strengthening and regeneration of the epidermis. It also protects the skin from sun burns and heals the damage caused to the skin due to constant exposure to the sun (15).
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14. Improves the Texture of Skin:
Pomegranates are also known to extend the life of fibroblasts which are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin that tighten the skin and prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen and elastin provide strength and support to the skin (16). When the fibers of collagen and elastin break down, the skin develops laxity which causes wrinkles and jowls. Pomegranate is also very useful for lightening the skin tone. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice daily gives a fair and glowing skin tone.
15. Pomegranate Face Mask for Glowing Skin:
Mix 1 teaspoon each of powdered green papaya, grape seed oil, and grape seed extract with 2 teaspoons of pomegranate juice and apply it on the face. Leave it on for about an hour and wash it off with lukewarm water.
You can also use a cotton ball to apply pomegranate juice directly on the face after cleansing (17).
16. Prevents Skin Cancer:
Pomegranate contains anthocyanins and hydrolysable tannins which possess strong anti-oxidant and anti-tumor promoting properties. When applied directly on the skin, ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant found in pomegranates inhibits the growth of cancer of the skin (18).
Hair Benefits of Pomegranate Juice:
17. Prevents Hair Fall:
Drinking pomegranate juice regularly strengthens the hair follicles which in turn prevent hair fall, thus giving the hair a healthy and lustrous appearance.
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Some Precautions To Be Exercised:
- Pomegranate juice is not recommended for people suffering from influenza, cough, and constipation or for those with a phlegmatic condition.
- Pomegranate juice has certain antioxidants that lower the blood pressure. Therefore, consumption of this juice in combination with medication prescribed to lower blood pressure can result in a condition with dangerously low blood pressure, known as hypotension.
- People with certain plant allergies and asthma are always at a greater risk of developing an allergic reaction to this fruit. General allergic reactions include, vomiting, red itchy eyes, hives and difficulty in breathing.
- Just like grapefruits, pomegranate is also known to interfere with some medicines, particularly those to lower cholesterol levels known as statins. It can also interfere with antidepressants, medication for AIDS and narcotic pain relievers.
Drinking one glass of pomegranate juice is all that is needed to experience the advantages of pomegranate juice. It is never too late to add this miracle juice to your daily diet plan as the amount of benefits that you would reap definitely outweighs the drawbacks.
Now is the time to include this fruit juice in your diet. Or you already have it in your diet plan? Do share your views with us through comments.
Pomegranate Juice Nutrition Facts:
|ORAC value 2341 µmol TE/100 g. Nutrition value per 100 g.|
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.17 g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g||11%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.135 mg||3%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||10.2 mg||17%|
|Vitamin E||0.60 mg||4%|
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg||14%|
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