Pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods that aren’t getting enough attention. In fact, they’re so healthy that we’re beginning to research pomegranate medicinal uses. You don’t have to be a doctor enjoy the health benefits of pomegranates, though! This superfood is available at most grocery stores and a fruit, juice, and snack that packs a lot of flavor alongside nutrition.
A Superfood with Super Nutrients
One of the clearest benefits of eating pomegranates is the sheer amount of nutrients you can get from them. Pomegranates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is an essential nutrient to a healthy diet. Fiber is important in maintaining digestive health and controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Additionally, it’s been shown to help people achieve health weight loss.
Pomegranates are an excellent source of dietary fiber and several vitamins, specifically Vitamins C and K.
Besides having a great amount of fiber, pomegranates are also rich in several vitamins, specifically Vitamins C and K. One serving of pomegranate provides roughly 44 percent and 51 percent of your daily suggested intake of Vitamins C and K, respectively. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can combat disease and is great for your heart, while Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and combats osteoporosis. Other vitamins and minerals found in pomegranates are folate and potassium, among others.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Pomegranates
Perhaps the most discussed, evidence-based benefit of pomegranates is their strong anti-inflammatory effects. These effects are largely attributed to the high concentration of antioxidants found in pomegranates. Punicalagins, powerful antioxidants that confer many of the health benefits of pomegranates, and other antioxidants found in pomegranates, like flavonols, have been shown to help reduce inflammation. This can help combat a handful of illnesses like heart disease and cancer (more on that later).
The wide-ranging anti-inflammatory effects are largely attributed to the high concentration of antioxidants, like punicalagins, found in pomegranates.
Anti-inflammatory elements also help to prevent and alleviate joint pain and arthritis. Since joint pain is caused by inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet, with plenty of pomegranates, is a great way to try to relieve some of the pain of arthritis. Furthermore, pomegranate extract has been found to actually block the enzymes that can cause joint damage in patients with osteoarthritis.
Anti-Cancer Properties of Pomegranates
Many of the properties that make the consumption of pomegranate fruits and juices so healthy have also been found to help combat certain cancers. Between the antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory effects, pomegranates contain a double-whammy of anti-cancer effects that are believed to slow the progress of cancerous growth. Specifically, three types of cancer have been found to be slowed or prevented by pomegranates.
Pomegranates contain a double-whammy of anti-cancer effects that may even slow cancerous growth.
Two types of cancer commonly found in men, colon and prostate cancer, are worth noting in this context. In colon cancer studies, pomegranate juice was found to suppress inflammatory cell-signaling proteins in colon cancer cells and inhibit the proliferation of and actually kill those cells. Researchers also found that pomegranate juice extract may significantly slow the growth of prostate cancer and that pomegranate juice concentrate may even induce apoptosis, or cell death, in cancerous cells. Pomegranate juice extract was also found to have a similar effect of slowing the growth of, and even killing, breast cancer cells.
Pro-Heart, Body, and Mind
Pomegranates don’t only help with fighting cancer and inflammation. There’s significant evidence that they can improve your overall health, too. Studies show that pomegranates may improve bone health. At the same time, the vitamins and antioxidants found in pomegranates are incredibly good for your heart, lowering high blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease.
There’s significant evidence that pomegranates can improve your overall health, too.
These are just a few of the ways that pomegranates benefit the body. Evidence shows they can also help the mind. A 2011 study found that pomegranate juice can reduce stress, which has wide-ranging health benefits. Moreover, pomegranates may improve memory in seniors, especially those with mild memory complaints. There’s even a growing body of evidence that pomegranates may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease!
Pom’s Secret Weapon: Punicic Acid
While the anti-cancer and antioxidant properties of pomegranates may get a lot of press, there’s one polyunsaturated fatty acid that plays a part in almost every single pomegranate health benefit. As mentioned, punicic acid (PA) is a type of healthy fatty acid primarily found in pomegranate seeds. While we may not hear about it too much, there are plenty of evidence-based reasons to not forget pomegranate seeds.
Studies show that PA can induce obesity and insulin resistance in mice, which can help with weight loss and people with people on diabetic-friendly diets. Punicic acid won’t just help you lose weight, though. One massive review of studies found evidence of anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties. Although more studies are necessary to fully grasp the scope of what health benefits pomegranate seeds can offer humans, it’s worth noting that even the seeds of pomegranates can be healthy for you!
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Pomegranates have been used in traditional medicines of certain cultures for centuries. While it may not be a magic bullet for what ails you and shouldn’t replace modern medicine, this superfood can do wonders for your body. By adding it to your diet, you may just improve your health and reduce your chances of many chronic diseases.