Pomegranate: Why are they called ruby red pearls of health?


Last Updated July 18th, 2019

Pomegranate: A tangy fruit with amazing nutritive benefits

The shrub Punicagranatum yields a red fruit which is what you normally call pomegranate. The fruit is round and red. The skin is not edible. The fruit is characterized by mini red fruit pulps with seeds borne in it. You can consume the fruit as it is or consume it in the form of a juice or even make a powder of it.

Nutrient label  Quantity 
Water77.93 g
Energy83 kcal
Protein1.67 g
Total lipid (fat)1.17 g
Carbohydrate18.7 g
Total dietary fiber4 g
Total Sugars13.67 g
Calcium10 mg
Iron0.3 mg
Magnesium12 mg
Phosphorus36 mg
Potassium236 mg
Sodium3 mg
Zinc0.35 mg
Vitamin C10.2 mg

Pomegranate dazzles with its color but also in its nutritive value ranging from minerals, vitamins, fibers, etc.

P for punicalagins and punicic acid

Punicalagins and punicic acid are two prominent unique compounds in pomegranates that contain powerful medicinal properties. Punicalagins are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants such as these combat unstable radicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS).

These antioxidants also prevent the destabilization of the bad cholesterol leading to further complications like the cholesterol build up and blockage in the blood flow. Another nutrient present in the seed is punicic This compound a primary fatty acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid) and is present in the seeds.

It lowers the levels of components that contribute to an inflammatory response. In other words, they possess anti-inflammatory properties. Punicic acid is also to decrease the levels of apolipoprotein B100 which is an entity of the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, LDL).

The anti-inflammatory properties are remarkable

  • There are laboratory investigations showing anti-inflammatory activity in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.
  • A study was done on individuals who had diabetes. These individuals were given about 250 ml of pomegranate juice for 12 weeks. The study revealed a decrease in the entities that cause inflammation such as the C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. The levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 decreased by about 32% and 30%, respectively.

Cancer-fighting properties of pomegranate

The extract of pomegranate has a negative impact on the cancer cell growth, and even triggers the cell death pathways in cancer cells thereby killing them. The polyphenol compounds in pomegranate juice such as punicic acid, kaempferol, epigallocatechin gallate, etc., terminated the factors that triggered the growth of prostate cancer.

Pomegranate is effective for breast cancer prevention as well. It contains ellagitannins and these compounds terminate the function of the enzyme aromatase (an enzyme used to synthesize estrogen). The components of the seed also inhibit 17-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (an enzyme involved in estrogen biosynthesis). The influence of the components in pomegranate is at the genetic level. The polyphenols in pomegranate help in activating apoptosis or cell death

Regulate blood pressure with pomegranate

Hypertension is the prime reason for stroke and heart attacks. There is an enzyme called angiotensinconverting enzyme, or ACE that is involved in controlling the blood pressure by managing the body fluids generated. Pomegranate is a natural ACE inhibitor. The pomegranate juice is involved in lowering the blood pressure

A small clinical trial was done on 10 individuals with hypertension. These individuals were given about 50 ml of pomegranate juice every day. 7 of these individuals showed a decrease in ACE activity by 36%. The components of pomegranate decrease the blood pressure by preventing the building up of the bad cholesterol levels.

There was a study done on patients of atherosclerosis (a condition where the bad cholesterol levels build up causing a blockage in the blood flow to the heart). These subjects were given about 2 ounces of pomegranate juice. The systolic blood pressure showed an average decrease of 12% post 1 year of juice consumption. Reports also show that the thickness of the heart-related arteries lowered by 35% in subjects receiving the pomegranate juice. The ones who did not receive it showed a 9% increase in the thickness of the arteries.

Eliminate arthritis with pomegranate

Arthritis is a condition where there is an inflammation in the joints and eventually results in pain and the joints becoming rigid thereby making it difficult for them to move. About 10 million people in India are reported to have this condition.

The fact that the components of pomegranate help in minimizing the inflammatory substances, pomegranate can be used to treat the arthritis-related pain as well. Chronic conditions of arthritis lead to rheumatoid arthritis where the inflammation levels are severe. The components of pomegranate impede the key enzyme metalloproteinases (MMPs). This diminishes inflammation, pain, and tenderness. A study in the year 2011 depicted a reduction in the tenderness by about 62%. This promoted a reduction in arthritis.

Pomegranate for diabetes

Pomegranate seeds and juice is very useful for diabetes. The rise in glucose levels also will result in a surge in the ROS damage thereby contributing more to the insulin resistance. The antioxidant-rich pomegranate protects the insulin functions from the ROS damage.

Treat erectile dysfunction with pomegranate juice

Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man is unable to attain an erection during coitus. ROS damage also results in intervention in the blood flow to the erectile tissue. The sperm quality and motility get affected as well. Pomegranate juice consumption shows better blood circulation, erectile response, and smooth muscle relaxation. These improvements contribute to good erectile functioning.

Combat bacterial and fungal infections

  • The polyphenols in pomegranate inhibit the bacterial and fungal strains.
  • In bacteria, it is said that pomegranate polyphenols inhibit bacterial adherence and signaling.
  • These polyphenols cause disruption in cell membrane integrity. This results in extrusion of the microbial cellular contents.

Pomegranate is known to treat oral infections such as-

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Denture stomatitis

Boost your memory

  • There are a few reports showing an improvement in the memory under the influence of pomegranate.
  • Memory related problems after surgeries can be prevented with the use of pomegranate extract (about 2 grams).
  • Alzheimer’s is a condition of abnormal protein (beta-amyloid) accumulation in the brain cells preventing them from communicating and thus creates damage.
  • The pomegranate contains a compound called punicalagin and this reduces inflammation. This characteristic eventually prevents further damage in the case of Alzheimer’s. Pomegranate improves memory and nerve cell coordination. Reports also show that pomegranate treatment showed a decrease in the beta-amyloid accumulation by about 50%.

Enhance your physical stamina

  • Components such as the dietary nitrates help in upgrading the exercise performance.
  • They enhance the blood flow to the muscles, minimize calcium efflux, enhanced angiogenesis (production of new blood cells), and also improve the uptake of glucose by the cells.
  • An investigation was done on athletes running on a treadmill. These athletes were given 1 g of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before exercise. The blood flow improved, the feeling of fatigue was delayed and this eventually upgraded the stamina during exercises to a great extent.

Tips on choosing the best quality pomegranates

  • Chose the ripe ones. Make sure that the skin is firm and the fruit is heavy. Ignore the small scratch marks.
  • Cut the fruit in half and then split the red rubies into a container. You can combine these mini red fruits with salads, oatmeal, desserts or with any other food you want.
  • First spread them evenly on a baking sheet and then freeze them for about 2 h. After this, place them in a freezer bag and place the bag back into the freezer.
  • Prepare the juice of pomegranates. This is much better than you buying it from elsewhere as there is also the disadvantage of added salt and sugar which is not healthy.

The final takeaway

Pomegranates are the little red ruby fruits enclosed in a fruit form. They taste sweet and tangy and can be included as a part of your meal as well. This potent fruit is known for its nutrient powers. Its mineral collection provides benefits such as muscle relaxation, blood pressure reduction, prevention of cholesterol accumulation, anti-cancer and more.

Apart from this, there are studies examining the effect of pomegranate on treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. You can consume it directly or in the form of juice.


TL;DR?

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