Pomegranate juice has been used 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.
The skin of the pomegranate fruit turns red when ripe but is generally 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. Help In The Treatment Of Skin Cancer
Several skin care products contain pomegranate as one of the ingredients 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 (1).
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 and sun damage, irritation, and inflammation (2).
Pomegranate fruit extract was also found to protect from UVB-induced photoaging markers. It could help in the treatment of skin cancer (3).
Pomegranate fruit extract was also applied topically on mice, and the results suggest it could help in the prevention of skin cancer. However, more in-depth studies are warranted to confirm the findings (4).
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 (and their oil) can facilitate skin repair by promoting the regeneration of the epidermis (5).
2. Promote Weight Loss
Evidence states that pomegranates have been used in numerous instances to promote weight loss. This can be attributed to the fiber in the fruits.
Studies also show that pomegranate and its extracts can play a role in fat reduction. However, more human studies are needed to understand its role in preventing obesity (6). In mice studies, the seeds, and especially the pomegranate leaf extract, were found to induce fat loss. This can be a positive step towards healthy weight loss (7).
3. Beneficial During Pregnancy
Pomegranate juice may reduce pregnancy complications. Some research shows that the juice can reduce oxidative stress in the human placenta, which is key to a pregnancy outcome (8). More studies are warranted to understand the mechanism.
4. 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 (9).
Researchers observed that the ellagitannins in pomegranate juice could also play a role in the prevention of colon cancer (10).
These are the many benefits of pomegranate juice. We know eating fruits on a regular basis is key for optimal health. While eating the arils of the pomegranate fruit may be slightly cumbersome, drinking its juice is easy.
The juice can also play a role in preventing the cancers of the lung (11).
5. Treat Fatty Liver Disease
Pomegranate seeds reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and, as a result, help fight fatty liver disease. In rat studies, regular consumption of pomegranates was found to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (12).
In another rat study, the fruit was found to protect the liver and other organs in jaundice (13).
6. Clear Clogged Arteries
Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Research shows that these organic compounds possess anti-atherogenic properties (14).
Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes the blood vessels in the arteries to narrow down due to plaque build-up.
A study shows that pomegranate juice enhances nitric oxide synthase and prevents nitric oxide from oxidative destruction (15). It is believed that this may help reverse atherosclerosis lesions.
In another research, advanced atherosclerotic patients with carotid artery stenosis, when regularly administered with pomegranate juice during the period of study, showed significant improvement in health conditions (16).
7. Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Pomegranate and its powerful components have been in use in medical science to alleviate coronary artery disease, hypertension, and peripheral artery disease (17).
Arterial hypertension increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have investigated and believe that pomegranate juice reduces stress in coronary artery endothelial cells (18).
Cardiovascular diseases can also be caused by drugs or chemicals. Further experiments show that pomegranate fruit extracts offer protection against cardiotoxicity (19).
8. Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
The 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 (20).
In another clinical trial, scientists were able to determine that phytochemicals in pomegranate juice reduced oxidative stress and suggested that future studies may reveal more on its benefit in treating various urologic health conditions in men, along with erectile dysfunction (21).
9. Lower 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 (22). 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 (23).
In another animal study, scholars revealed the lipid-lowering factors present in pomegranate juice and guided how it can be used in dyslipidemia (24).
It was also noted that phytosterols present in pomegranate could reduce serum LDL (25).
10. Help Treat Prostate Cancer
Investigations involving both animal and human models show that pomegranate juice can improve prostate cancer (11).
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 (26).
Moreover, scientists have more recently revealed that ellagic acid, luteolin, and punicic acid present in pomegranate juice inhibit the growth of prostate cancer (27). This means that pomegranate juice can also prolong the survival of prostate cancer patients (28).
11. Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure (29). 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 (30).
12. 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 (31).
In rat studies, pomegranate juice was also found to improve sperm quality and motility, boost testosterone levels, increase epididymal sperm concentration, and decrease the rates of abnormal sperm (32).
Another rat study proposes that pomegranate juice extract can impact sex hormones in females with polycystic ovary syndrome (33). The study further elucidates that pomegranate extract increases testosterone levels.
13. Treat Kidney Stones
A pilot study indicated that supersaturation of calcium oxalate could be lowered with pomegranate juice (36).
Another experiment on animal models showed the protective effects of pomegranate juice on crystal formation in kidneys (37).
14. Aid Diabetes Treatment
Researchers have established that pomegranate juice reduces oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in cells that affect type 2 diabetes. However, more clinical studies are needed before pomegranate or its juice can be medically recommended for diabetes treatment (38).
Certain organic compounds in pomegranate have been found to be antidiabetic. These include gallic, ursolic, and oleanolic acids (39).
15. Manage Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate juice may have beneficial effects in cases of osteoarthritis (40). The compounds present in pomegranate can slow down cartilage deterioration and block the enzymes that lead to osteoarthritis (41).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is 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 (42).
16. Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Disease
A 15-month study revealed that long-term dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice increased autophagy (regular degradation and recycling of cell components), inhibited inflammation, and decreased cerebral amyloid beta aggregates (43).
17. May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
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) (46).
It has also been proven that pomegranate has anti-proliferative properties that can downregulate estrogen-responsive genes (47).
18. 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 (48).
In another study, a gel made from the fruit was found to be effective in treating gingivitis (49).
19. 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.
As the seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, they can treat other gastrointestinal issues, like ulcerative colitis (50).
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 GERD (and stomach and mouth ulcers as well). Hence, check with your doctor in this regard.
20. 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 affect human health (51).
Not just that, pomegranates also help treat several other ailments associated with a weakened immune system. A preliminary study (we need more information, though) states that pomegranate may help treat obstructive pulmonary disease (52). Though the fruit hadn’t improved the effects of the drugs, there is hope.
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: 0.15 g
- Carbohydrate: 13.13 g
- Dietary fiber: 0.1 g
- Sugar: 12.65 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.
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 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 a mess. Separate the arils.
- Rinse the arils, 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. 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.
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 have seen, pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure levels (29). Hence, excess intake of the juice may lower your blood pressure way too much. People already taking medications to reduce blood pressure should avoid the juice.
Pomegranate juice is rich in potassium, and excess intake may lead to hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) in those at risk, including people with kidney disease. However, there is less research in this regard.
Though some drug interactions with pomegranate juice have been observed in animal and test-tube studies, the juice could be safe for humans. For instance, in humans, the juice had no adverse effects on the effects of an enzyme (called CYP2C9) in humans. The CYP2C9 enzyme is responsible for metabolizing drugs related to diabetes, heart health, and blood clots (53).
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 in calories.
While we need more studies to establish certain benefits, some evidence does prove the efficacy of pomegranate juice in treating certain ailments.
But as it may affect blood pressure levels, please consult with your physician before and after surgery and during pregnancy to avoid any possible complications.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
What is the best time to drink pomegranate juice?
You should consume pomegranate juice in the morning after drinking water to allow your body to absorb nutrients.
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. Both can efficiently help in erectile dysfunction and boost 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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- Consumption of pomegranates improves synaptic function in a transgenic mice model of Alzheimer’s disease, Oncotarget, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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- Pomegranate Ellagitannin-Derived Compounds Exhibit Anti-proliferative and Anti-aromatase Activity in Breast Cancer Cells In Vitro, Cancer Prevention Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate extract demonstrate a selective estrogen receptor modulator profile in human tumor cell lines and in vivo models of estrogen deprivation, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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