Pomegranate juice has been in use since ancient times and is known for its medicinal properties. It is naturally sweet and loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids.
Pomegranate, scientifically known as Punica granatum L. (Punicaceae), is a deciduous shrub. It is native to Iran and is cultivated widely in both the hemispheres (1).
The skin of the pomegranate fruit turns red when ripe but generally is not eaten. Inside are its arils that are used to extract the juice. This juice has been touted to treat various ailments. In this post, we will discuss the benefits pomegranate juice offers.
Table Of Contents
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice?
1. Clears Clogged Arteries
Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Research shows that these organic compounds possess anti-atherogenic properties. Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes the blood vessels in the arteries to get narrow due to plaque build-up.
A study shows that pomegranate juice enhances nitric oxide synthase and prevents nitric oxide from oxidative destruction, thereby helping reverse atherosclerosis lesions (2).
Another research exhibits that advanced atherosclerotic patients with carotid artery stenosis, when regularly administered with pomegranate juice during the period of study, showed significant improvement in health conditions (3).
2. Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Pomegranate and its powerful components have been in use in medical science to alleviate coronary artery disease,hypertension, and peripheral artery disease (4).
Arterial hypertension increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have investigated and believe that pomegranate juice reduces stress in coronary artery endothelial cells (5).
Cardiovascular diseases can also be caused by drugs or chemicals. Further experiments show that pomegranate fruit extracts offer protection against cardiotoxicity (4).
3. May Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Antioxidants in pomegranate juice reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
In a trial experiment, pomegranate juice was found to improve mild to moderate erectile dysfunction (6).
In another clinical trial, the scientists were able to determine that phytochemicals in pomegranate juice reduced oxidative stress and suggested that future studies may reveal more on its benefit on treating various urologic health conditions in men along with erectile dysfunction (7).
4. Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels
Pomegranate contains high amounts of polyphenols and other antioxidants that are three times more than what we find in green tea and red wine (8). These antioxidants can help lower bad cholesterol.
Statistical data collected in a study involving some patients showed a significant reduction in plasma LDL after consuming pomegranate juice (9).
In another animal study, scholars revealed the lipid-lowering factors present in pomegranate juice and guided how it can be used in dyslipidemia (10).
Further, it was also noted that phytosterols present in pomegranate could reduce serum LDL (11).
5. May Help Treat Prostate Cancer
Investigations involving both animal and human models show that pomegranate juice can improve prostate cancer (12).
Clinical evidence suggests that pomegranate fruit extract decreases serum prostate-specific antigen levels and, therefore, may possess both chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive effects against prostate cancer (13).
Moreover, scientists have more recently revealed that ellagic acid, luteolin, and punicic acid present in pomegranate juice inhibit the growth of prostate cancer (14). This means pomegranate juice can also prolong the survival of prostate cancer patients (15).
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies show that pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure (16). Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure could be brought down with regular administration or consumption of pomegranate juice.
Findings collected from animal and clinical studies indicate that drinking pomegranate juice can reduce blood pressure, both short-term and long-term (17).
7. May Boost Fertility and Increase Testosterone Levels
In mythology, pomegranate is considered to be an aphrodisiac fruit. Evidence-based clinical studies state that drinking natural pomegranate juice regularly lowers stress, reduces cortisol, promotes well-being, and increases sex drive in both men and women (18).
Pomegranate juice also improves sperm quality and motility, boosts testosterone levels, increases epididymal sperm concentration, and decreases the rates of abnormal sperm in men (19).
Another study proposes how pomegranate juice extract can impact sex hormones in females with polycystic ovary syndrome (20). The study further elucidates that pomegranate extract increases testosterone levels.
8. May Treat Kidney Stones
A pilot study indicated that supersaturation of calcium oxalate could be lowered with pomegranate juice (23).
Another experiment on animal models showed the protective effects of pomegranate juice on crystal formation in kidneys (24).
9. May Treat And Prevent Diabetes
Researchers have established that pomegranate juice reduces oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in cells that affect type 2 diabetes (25).
Certain organic compounds in pomegranate have been found to be antidiabetic. These include gallic, ursolic, and oleanolic acids (26).
10. Helps Manage Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate juice may have beneficial effects in osteoarthritis (27). The compounds present in pomegranate can slow down cartilage deterioration and block the enzymes that lead to osteoarthritis (28).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness, can be managed with pomegranate juice intake. Although this claim needs further evidence supported by clinical trials, scholars who have conducted studies on mice reveal that pomegranate juice may have positive effects on RA (29).
11. May Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
A 15-month study revealed that long-term dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice increased autophagy, inhibited inflammation, and decreased cerebral Amyloid beta aggregates (30).
12. May Fight Breast Cancer
Drinking pomegranate juice may have potential benefits to slow or even prevent the growth of breast cancer.Laboratory tests suggest that ellagitannins found in pomegranate juice can stop estrogen production – and this may help prevent breast cancer (which is usually estrogen-responsive) (33).
It has also been proven that pomegranate has anti-proliferative properties that can downregulate estrogen-responsive genes (34).
13. May Fight Skin Cancer
Several skin care products use pomegranate for its strong protective effects on the skin. Pomegranate fruit is rich in antioxidants and protects the skin cells from the oxidative stress induced by UVB radiation.
Exposure to the sun and environmental factors are the leading causes of skin cancer. UVB radiation, in particular, is known to have severe damaging effects. UVB radiation can cause DNA damage, irritation, and inflammation.
Pomegranate juice can help as a natural remedy to prevent skin cancer. It also protects from UVB-induced photoaging markers (35).
Pomegranate fruit extract was also applied topically on mice, and the results proved it to be safe and effective against skin cancer (36).
In addition to fighting skin cancer, pomegranate juice may also delay the signs of skin aging, including wrinkles and fine lines (possibly because of its vitamin C content).
Some studies also show that pomegranate seeds can facilitate skin repair by promoting the regeneration of the epidermis (37).
14. May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Drinking pomegranate juice may reduce the risk factors associated with colon cancer. The tannins, ellagic acid, and punicalagin in pomegranate juice have antiproliferative effects on colon cells (38).
Researchers observed that pomegranate juice can kill colon cancer cells due to its anti-carcinogenic effects, which is important while preventing and fighting colon cancer (39).
These are the many benefits of pomegranate juice. We know eating fruits on a regular basis is key for optimal health. Though eating the arils of the pomegranate fruit might be slightly cumbersome, drinking its juice doesn’t have to be.
The juice can also play a role in preventing the cancers of the lungs (40).
15. May Promote Oral Health
Recent studies have proven that pomegranates work wonderfully well in strengthening the gums and fastening loose teeth. They are also effective against oral bacteria as they possess antimicrobial properties. Research has found that pomegranate seeds can have a positive effect on dental plaque microorganisms (41).
In another study, a gel made from the fruit was found to be effective in treating gingivitis (42).
16. May Boost Digestive Health
Pomegranate seeds boost digestive health as they have B-complex vitamins. These vitamins help your body convert fat, protein, and carbohydrates into energy. The seeds also contain fiber, another essential nutrient for digestion. This fiber prevents and treats constipation as well.
And given the anti-inflammatory properties, the seeds can treat other gastrointestinal issues like ulcerative colitis (43).
But please keep in mind that pomegranate is an acidic food (has a pH of 3), and it can aggravate certain digestive problems like heartburn, acid reflux, or even GERD (and stomach and mouth ulcers as well). Hence, check with your doctor in this regard.
17. May Promote Weight Loss
Evidence states that pomegranates have been used in numerous instances to promote weight loss. And this can be attributed to the fiber in the fruits.
Studies also show how pomegranate seeds can play a preventive role in obesity (44). The seeds, and especially the pomegranate leaf extract, were found to induce fat loss. This can be a positive step towards healthy weight loss (45).
18. Can Strengthen The Immune System
The powerful antioxidants in pomegranate seeds strengthen the immune system. Studies show how they can effectively combat bacteria and viruses that otherwise affect human health (46).
And not just that, pomegranates also help treat several other ailments associated with a weakened immune system. One preliminary study (we need more information, though) talks about how pomegranate might help treat obstructive pulmonary disease (47). Though the fruit hadn’t improved the effects of the drugs, there is hope.
19. Could Be Beneficial During Pregnancy
Pomegranate juice may reduce pregnancy complications (48). However, more research is needed.
20. May Help Treat Fatty Liver Disease
Pomegranate seeds reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and, as a result, help fight fatty liver disease. Regular consumption of pomegranates was found to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (49).
They have also been found to protect the liver in the case of jaundice (50).
How To Make Pomegranate Juice?
Making pomegranate juice is not as difficult as you might think. Before you begin, make sure the pomegranates you have bought are fresh and in a perfect condition. The healthy peel of a ripe pomegranate is red or dark red and always smooth and shiny. You can also go for organic pomegranates if available locally.
What You Need
- 8 pomegranates
- A knife
- A medium-sized bowl
- 2 serving glasses
- Wash the pomegranates under running water.
- Remove the crown and the bottom.
- Make mildly deep incisions on the skin from top to bottom, preferably making four or five divisions.
- Follow each division to remove the skin gently.
- Once the arils appear, keep the pomegranates aside.
- Pour water in a medium-sized bowl.
- Take each pomegranate division and break it underneath the water to avoid mess. Separate the arils.
- Rinse the arils and pour them in the blender and blend.
- You can either remove the seeds and thick pulp and strain the juice.The latter contains fiber and is more like a smoothie-consistency.
- Serve chilled.
Making pomegranate juice is simple. This way, you can have the juice every day and reap the many benefits it offers. In the following section, we will look at the nutritional profile of pomegranate juice.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Pomegranate Juice?
Fresh pomegranate juice is a nutrition powerhouse packed with abundant vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, fatty acids, and zero cholesterol. Surprisingly, it is also low in calories.
According to the USDA, these are the nutrients present in every 100 grams of fresh pomegranate juice:
- Energy: 54 kcal
- Protein: 0.42 g
- Carbohydrate: 13.75 g
- Dietary fiber: 0.4 g
- Sugar: 12.50 g
Pomegranate juice is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. It also contains various organic acids like ascorbic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and fumaric acid, and amino acids like methionine, proline, and valine.
But we need to keep something else in mind.
What Are The Side Effects Of Pomegranate Juice?
Drinking pomegranate juice is safe, provided it is taken within the prescribed limits. Further research is warranted to establish its side effects.
- As we saw, pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure levels (16). Hence, excess intake of the juice may lower your blood pressure way too much. Patients already taking medicines to reduce blood pressure should avoid the juice.
- Pomegranate juice is rich in potassium, and excess intake can lead to hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) in those at risk, including people with kidney disease.
- Pomegranate juice might interact with certain drugs. According to available data, patients taking CYP2C9 substrates may experience negligible risk of pharmacokinetic interaction when drinking pomegranate juice (51).
Pomegranate juice helps in the prevention and treatment of various conditions as discussed in detail above. Although the juice is sweet, it is not high on calories, which is why it has become popular for boosting weight loss. While some of the hypotheses are required to be researched further, we already have a well-established series of evidence to prove its efficacy in treating various ailments.
But since it may affect blood pressure levels, please consult with your physician before and after surgery and during pregnancy to avoid any possible complications.
Do you drink pomegranate juice regularly? Have you noticed any significant improvement in your health? Do share your experiences with us by leaving a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What is the best time to drink pomegranate juice?
To allow your body to absorb nutrients, you should consume pomegranate juice in the morning after drinking water.
Can we drink pomegranate juice on an empty stomach?
You can certainly drink pomegranate juice on an empty stomach, but ensure you drink at least a glass of water before doing so.
How much pomegranate juice should you drink in a day?
Based on the potassium content in pomegranate juice, you can have a standard portion of 1 cup per day (there is limited research on this). One cup is equivalent to 48 teaspoons or 16 tablespoons, or approximately 8 fl oz.
How is pomegranate juice different from other juices?
• Pomegranate Juice Vs. Cranberry Juice
Both cranberry and pomegranate juices are infused with nutrients. But when it comes to antioxidants, pomegranate outweighs cranberry.
• Pomegranate Juice Vs. Beet Juice
You can detox your body with beet and pomegranate juice, and both can efficiently help in erectile dysfunction and boosting sexual health.
• Pomegranate Juice Vs. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is packed with anti-inflammatory properties and may alleviate pain. It is also rich in antioxidants – but not as much as pomegranate juice.
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