Once again, fall is here. Pictures of pumpkins are everywhere, it is almost like you can smell the pumpkin is the air. One of my fall favorites, beside pumpkin, which I love, is Pomegranate. Pomegranate, or Punica granatum, is a shrub that produces red fruit. Pomegranate is categorized as a berry. It has a thick skin, which is not edible, but has hundreds of seeds also called arils inside, which are super delicious and are loaded with health benefits.
Some of the proven health benefits of pomegranates include:
1. Anti inflammatory properties
Inflammation is the main cause of all the pain that we feel in our body and the causes of inflammation are all around us and almost impossible to fully avoid them all.
Pomegranate contains a unique antioxidant known as punicalagins, found mainly in juice and peel of pomegranates (1) it also contains Flavonols, another antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body.
Studies have shown that consumption of pomegranate extract in animal studies will reduce the severity of arthritis and joint inflammation (2).
2. Cancer fighting properties
Pomegranate consumption has been shown beneficial in fighting against cancer cells specially breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Studies have shown that pomegranate extract will inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells and stimulates apoptosis (the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism’s growth or development) of breast cancer cells (3, 4). Pomegranate seed oil contains Punic acid another substance that has been shown to inhibit proliferation of breast cancer cells (5).
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a blood marker of prostate cancer. Doubling of these PSAs in a short period of time, is an indication of prostate cancer. Studies have shown that consumption of 8 Oz of pomegranate juice a day slowed down the PSA doubling time (6).
3. Helps lower blood pressure and improves heart health
The juice of pomegranate seeds contains bioactive polyphenol and antioxidants, which have been shown to improve blood pressure levels. Consumption of 5 Oz of pomegranate juice a day for two weeks in individuals with high blood pressure has shown improvement in their blood pressure (7).
Another study has shown that consumption of pomegranate juice helped lower the individual’s blood pressure by 12% and 30% reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Atherosclerosis is a heart condition in which the blood vessels become thick and stiff. This study also showed an increase in atherosclerotic plaque in individuals who did not take pomegranate juice by 9% (8 , 9).
4. Helps improve memory
Once again thanks to high levels of polyphenols in pomegranates, consumption of this delicious fruit has shown significant improvement in memory.
One study shows that consumption of 8 Oz of pomegranate juice by elderly individuals, who complained about their memory, showed significant improvement in their verbal and visual memory (10).
Also, some animal studies suggest that consumption of Pomegranate juice might help delay or slow progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (11).
How to enjoy and incorporate Pomegranate into your diet?
The easiest way to incorporate pomegranates in your diet is by consuming pomegranate juice. If you are choosing this, be aware of high sugar content of pomegranates. 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice contains 15.5 grams of sugar and 0.1 grams of fiber (12). Whereas 1/2 a cup of pomegranate seeds (arils) contains 11.9 grams of sugar with 3.5 grams of fiber (13).
The best way to enjoy the whole pomegranate seeds is to either eat them as is, add them to your salad or my favorite make a pomegranate yogurt parfait with coconut yogurt and home made granolas, recipe below. Also, watch the video below to see the easiest way to peel your pomegranate.
Recipe for pomegranate yogurt parfait
Unsweetened coconut yogurt: 1/2 cup
- Pomegranate seeds: 1/4 cup
- : 1/4 cup
- Optional, raw honey: 1 Tbsp
- In a small serving bowl, place your coconut yogurt, add raw honey if desired and mix
- Add granola on top of the yogurt, then top it off with pomegranate seeds.
- Serve and enjoy
Stay happy and healthy