Pomegranates are beautiful. They are vibrant. They are difficult and messy to open (we’ll solve that below). And, they are incredibly nutritious. In fact, they have been well-studied and there are many science-backed health benefits of pomegranates (1).
What’s more, pomegranates are festive. However, more are used for decoration than consumption in our country. let’s change that.
If you’re interested in serving pomegranate this Holiday Season, you’re in luck. They are currently in-season. What’s more, if you break one open and simply put out a bowl of delicious pomegranate seeds as a Holiday appetizer, you’re sure to please.
Here’s how to easily open pomegranates, and the top 10 science-backed health benefits of pomegranates once you do.
Disclaimer: Since they do contain considerable grams of carbohydrates, pomegranates are not a Keto Zone food, but they are still a healthy one. A great way to get in the health benefits of pomegranates while in the Keto Zone? Try Red Supremefood!
How to Open a Pomegranate
- Fill the bowl to half-full with cold water.
- On a cutting board, score pomegranate around the middle. Cut only deep enough to pierce the skin, but not deep enough to cut into seeds.
- Hold score pomegranate in water
- Using your fingers, gently dig out seeds and allow to sink the bottom, continuously pulling off the white pith and allowing it to float to the top.
- Continue to separate seeds from pith until all the seeds are pith-free.
- Discard shell and pith.
- Strain water and place pomegranate seeds in a bowl with a serving spoon. Enjoy!
Nutrition info (per 1/4 cup seeds):
Top 10 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Pomegranate
1. Lots of Nutrition Packed into Small Seeds
Pomegranates, or Punica granatum, contain bright red edible seeds. Actually, the seed itself if the white portion in the middle, and the red juicy outer layer of each is called an aril. In full, these seeds-arils are small but packed with nutrition.
In fact, each cup of arils and seeds provides (2):
- 3 grams of protein
- 30% RDI Vitamin C
- 36% RDI Vitamin K
- 16 % RDI Folate
- 12% RDI Potassium
In all, this is quite a nutrition-punch for a little juicy seed.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Punicalagins
While punicalagins don’t sound particularly healthy or appetizing, they are amazing, potent, antioxidant compounds that are responsible for many of the health benefits of pomegranates.
In fact, the punicalagins found in pomegranate juice cause it to have 3 times the antioxidant power of red wine and green tea (3).
The peel of pomegranates is also very high in punicalagin, making pomegranate extracts and powders great sources as well.
3. Punicic Acid Fights Fat Cells
Like punicalagins, punicic acid is a highly nutritious compound found in pomegranates. It is actually a fatty acid, found in pomegranate seed oil. Lucky for us, the seeds are what you eat when you eat a pomegranate.
Amazingly, in lab studies, punicic acid has been found to be anti-obesity. It actually inhibits the proliferation of fat cells (4).
4. Pomegranates Fight Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, high blood pressure
is a major medical concern, one of the driving forces of heart attacks and strokes, and very common in older adults. Pomegranate may help.
In fact, pomegranate juice and seeds have been found to lower high blood pressure in just 2 weeks in studies. Specifically, it affects systolic blood pressure (5, 6).
High triglycerides are another big health concern for heart disease. One 4-week study found that daily pomegranate seed oil lowered triglycerides and improved their ratio to HDL cholesterol (7). What’s more, another study showed a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol in those with type 2 diabetes (8). And maybe most importantly, pomegranate juice, as a super-antioxidant drink – protects LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. Oxidation is what causes the cholesterol to stick to the artery wall and form plaques (9).
5. Relief for Joint Pain and Arthritis
Many adults suffer from joint pain and arthritis. And unfortunately, this pain is often worse during the colder Winter months.
Pomegranates display anti-inflammatory effects, and this can offer relief to inflamed joints.
What’s more, studies have found that pomegranate extract may actually block damage to joints in those with arthritis, and have been shown to be an effect arthritis-reliever in mice studies (10, 11).
6. Anti-Inflammatory Properties that Go Beyond Joint Pain
Pomegranate compounds are strongly anti-inflammatory and can affect almost all body systems. In fact, inflammatory diseases affect the heart and brain and are linked to Diabetes and obesity.
In studies, pomegranates have been shown to be effective against inflammation in the digestive tract, breast cancer cells, colon cancer cells, and whole-body (12, 13,).
Pomegranates have lowered inflammatory markers such as CRP and interleukin-6 by up to 32% in just 12 weeks in studies on those with diabetes (14).
7. Pomegranates Fight Cancer Cells
Pomegranates reduce inflammatory activity and cellular reproduction in two types of deadly cancer cells, colon, and breast.
In fact, one study found that a daily dose of pomegranate juice slowed prostate-specific antigen (as prostate cancer marker) significantly, and (15
), and another found similar results using a pomegranate extract (16
What’s more, pomegranate’s extract may also reduce breast cancer cell reproduction, causing some cancer cell death (17
Another set of health benefits of pomegranates involves memory.
But, what does the science say?
In one study, pomegranate extract was linked to fewer memory deficits after surgery. Another found that pomegranate juice significantly improved verbal and visual memory in older adults (19, 20).
Animal studies have also suggested it may reduce the risk of, or fight Alzheimer’s disease (21).
9. Pomegranates are High Fiber
Just one cup of seeds contains more fiber
than a cup of beans, most fruits, and most vegetables. In fact, it packs a whopping 7 grams of fiber per cup!
Dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is helpful to human health. It’s associated with reduced diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, constipation, and more.
10. Better Athletic Performance
Who doesn’t want better physical performance, whether playing a pick-up game of tennis, going on a hike, or running a first 5K?
Like beets, pomegranates are rich in dietary nitrates, which dilate blood vessels and allow more oxygen to reach muscle tissue. This improves exercise performance.
In fact, studies have revealed that pomegranate extract before exercise significantly increases blood flow and reduced fatigue (22
Pomegranates in Keto Zone
If you want to be in the Keto Zone, but also want all these health benefits, look no further than Red Supremefood
! Dr. Colbert developed it specifically to enable Keto Zone eater to enjoy and benefit from the nutrients in fruits like pomegranates.
Pomegranates for the win! Not only are they an easy and beautiful dish to set out for the Holidays, but there are also many health benefits of pomegranates. These include antioxidants, antiinflammatories, fiber, anti-cancer compounds and more. So, serve up a bowl for the perfect Holiday appetizer this year!