Pomegranate is widely known for its tart, yet sweet flavor, but its health benefits forwomen go beyond its delicious taste. Each part of the pomegranate, from the skin, to the seeds, to the flesh, contain its own unique benefits. This fruit boasts antioxidants and powerful plant compounds shown to exert incredible effects on the body. From improving reproductive, gut, brain, and heart health to supporting the skin and hair, pomegranate can benefit almost every organ in the body.
Pomegranates are often referred to as a superfood because of their nutritional profile and the blend of antioxidants they contain. One medium-sized pomegranate contains approximately 234 calories, about 5 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fiber. Pomegranates are also a great source of vitamin C, providing about 30% of the daily recommended value. Additionally, they are high in other essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin K, folate, and calcium.
One of the main reasons that pomegranates are such a powerful superfood is their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are especially important for good health as they reduce signs of aging and improve immune function
Pomegranates contain a variety of antioxidants, including ellagic acid, punicalagin, pedunculagin, quercetin, rutin, tannic acid, polyphenol, anthocyanins, and catechins. All of these antioxidants have their own unique benefits, but the one with the highest concentration in pomegranates is punicalagin. In fact, punicalagin is the main ingredient present in the peel of pomegranates and has been shown to be the richest source of antioxidants. It is most studied for its role in promoting cardiovascular health.
Although the main health-promoting properties of the fruit are largely attributed to the presence of punicalagin, pomegranates contain other beneficial metabolites. Two of the most impressive are flavonols and anthocyanins. They are present in smaller amounts, but they still contribute to the fruit’s overall health-promoting properties. These compounds are considered polyphenols, which are a category of compounds that are naturally present in plant foods. They help to protect the body from oxidative stress and other toxins by neutralizing free radicals.
Pomegranates offer an array of health benefits that can be especially beneficial for women. We will break each of them down and explain everything you need to know.
One impressive benefit of pomegranates is their ability to support fertility and reproductive health. Studies have shown that pomegranate may enhance salivary testosterone levels, which can, in turn, improve mood and healthy stress responses. A major barrier to fertility and reproductive health is the cascade effect that stress can exert on the body. Thus, pomegranates' mood-enhancing effects may be able to boost reproductive health in both men and women.
Another potential benefit of pomegranates is a boost in sex drive. For instance, an animal study in male rats showed that pomegranate fruit extract was able to increase testosterone levels. However, human trials are still needed to determine if there is any potential benefit to women.
Due to its antioxidant properties, pomegranate has been shown to inhibit UVB-mediated DNA and protein damage. This makes it a great ingredient for skincare products, as it can help manage oxidative stress and protect your skin from environmental damage. In-vitro and animal studies both found that oral ingestion and topical use can help reduce UVB damage to the skin.
In addition, the peel is rich in many antioxidant properties, which can be used to create a face mask. One study found that when pomegranate extract was incorporated into a serum and face mask, it exerted facial skin-lightening abilities, with the potential to help with hyperpigmentation. However, it’s important to note that all skin concerns should be addressed with your dermatologist before adding any new products to your routine.
Moreover, animal models have demonstrated the potential for pomegranates to prevent acne, but more research is warranted to determine its efficacy in humans.
Pomegranate may be just the thing you need to help with the growth and maintenance of healthy hair. An alcohol extract from pomegranate leaves can promote hair growth by promoting hair follicles in the telogen phase to the anagen phase, as demonstrated in animal studies.
Ellagitannins, which are the most abundant group of polyphenols in pomegranate, are hydrolyzed in the gut to form ellagic acid. This compound is then further metabolized by the colon microbiota to form urolithin A and B, which both have antioxidant-like properties. Urolithins A and B are quite beneficial for the digestive system, as they have been shown to improve gut integrity and regulate the composition of gut microbiota.
Additionally, pomegranate may have potential prebiotic effects by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. An in-vitro study with fecal bacteria showed that pomegranate by-products enhanced the growth of two probiotics, Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp.
Lastly, the fiber content in pomegranates can help support digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and reducing constipation.
Pomegranates can be a wonderful addition to a heart-healthy diet. Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, anthocyanins, and other polyphenols, which have been shown to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and reducing the risk of oxidative stress.
Incorporating pomegranates into your diet is just one part of a balanced approach to promoting heart health. Lifestyle factors like exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, stress management, and hydration can all help promote a healthy heart.
Thanks to their potent antioxidant properties, pomegranates can enhance endurance and strength performance and support post-exercise recovery. By improving cardiovascular fitness and speeding up the recovery process, athletes can take less downtime between workouts, which can result in greater gains. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the pomegranate can greatly impact its benefits.
Some animal studies have shown that the peel of pomegranates may have neuroprotective properties, which could help support healthy brain function and potentially aid in memory retention. Yet, human trials are still needed to determine whether these benefits translate to humans.
There are a variety of ways you can start to include pomegranate in your regular diet. For starters, you can simply eat the fruit on its own or add it to a fruit salad or smoothie. Another delicious option is to purchase pomegranate seeds and add them as a topping on salads, yogurt parfaits, or stirred into a quinoa or farro salad.
As for pomegranate juice, you can try using it as a base for smoothies or just as a refreshing beverage. But, keep in mind that pomegranate juice does not contain the fiber that’s found in the fruit, so it’s best to incorporate the whole fruit as much as possible.
Anyone with allergies to pomegranates should avoid consuming pomegranate or any of its derivatives. Equally important, pomegranate juice may interact with certain medications, as, for example, grapefruit juice does. Anyone taking blood pressure or blood thinning medications should speak with their doctor before incorporating pomegranate into their diet.
Pomegranates are one of the most delicious and refreshing fruits out there. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a number of powerful antioxidants. From promoting fertility and reproductive health to enhancing heart health, exercise performance, and brain function, pomegranates are a versatile fruit that can be incorporated into your diet in various ways. So, why not add this tasty and nutritious fruit to your diet today and reap the many health benefits it has to offer!