Although widely known and with many health properties, pomegranate (Punica granatum) is still little consumed. The fact is that most people don’t know the benefits of pomegranate, what exactly is it for. It is a fruit rich in vitamin C, proteins, vitamin K, folic acid, potassium and fiber, in addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. The pomegranate seeds are covered with a slightly sweet pulp and can be consumed fresh or in the form of juice, while the peele of the fruit is ideal for preparing an infusion or tea.
The health benefits of pomegranate are numerous and have been known for millennia by the populations of the Middle East, where the plant originates. In Egypt, pomegranates were found in tombs of the pharaohs and it is believed that the descendants placed them to guarantee the dead man the hope of a new life, such was his belief in the relationship of the pomegranate with people’s health.
The pomegranate was popularly adopted in the treatment of diarrhea and sore throat. Over the years, a new range of pomegranate benefits has come to be known through new studies, confirming the qualities already pointed out by international scientists. Today we know that in addition to improving health and preventing many diseases, pomegranate can also be used in diets for weight loss due to its low concentration of calories, in the muscle reconstruction of athletes and to maintain the beauty of the skin and hair.
Pomegranate Nutrition Facts
In 1 unit:
- Energy: 105 calories
- Carbohydrate: 26.4g
- Proteins: 1.5g
- Fat: 0.5 g
- Fiber: 0.9 g
- Potassium: 399 mg
Benefits of Pomegranate and Properties
We will now see how the pomegranate can be beneficial for your health and fitness:
Decrease in blood pressure
It was due to this characteristic that the American nutrition specialist and author Dr. Jonny Bowden included the pomegranate in his list “The 11 best foods that you are not eating”. Statistics show that hypertension is a major cause of heart attack and stroke, and studies show that regular consumption of 150 ml of pomegranate juice daily can significantly reduce blood pressure in just two weeks of use due to its blood-thinning properties.
Improvement in renal patients
A study presented in 2010, during the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, showed that the concentration of potassium found in pomegranate juice reduces many of the complications arising from hemodialysis in renal patients, resulting in a reduction in the mortality rate of these patients.
Pomegranate has antioxidants called punicalagins. They are found in the seed and in the peele of the fruit and are responsible for its anti-inflammatory action in our body. Remembering that chronic information is among the main symptoms of the diseases that kill the most, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and obesity. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland were the first to demonstrate that pomegranate extract can act directly to fight chronic inflammation in 2005. Other laboratory studies have shown that it can also reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, as well as in cases of breast and cervical cancer. Scientists attested to a significant reduction in inflammation in diabetics after ingesting 250 ml of pomegranate juice taken daily for 12 weeks.
Helps in the treatment of prostate and breast cancer
Pomegranate can interfere with the occurrence and development of tumors in several stages: in the inflammatory process, angiogenesis, apoptosis and cell proliferation and invasion. Studies by American laboratories indicate that pomegranate extract – extracted from the peel of the fruit, can lead to a decrease in the reproduction of cancer cells in general and even induce their death.
In the case of men, whose prostate cancer is the most common, it was noticed that the daily intake of just over 200 ml of pomegranate juice per day decreased the time to increase PSA, the blood marker of prostate cancer (Men whose PSA doubles in a short period of time, has a higher risk of death from prostate cancer).
In the case of women, where breast cancer is the most prevalent, pomegranate extract showed, in preliminary tests, that it can inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells and even kill part of them. Although it is still preliminary evidence, it seems that pomegranate juice may actually be a potential inhibitor of the growth of cancer cells as well as a decrease in the risk of death from these types of cancer.
Protection against plaque and gingivitis
Pomegranate can be used against gum disease and the formation of plaque due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Including periodontitis, gingivitis, stomatitis, as well as infections and inflammations in the mouth. Research published by the American magazine Ancient Science of Life revealed that taking pomegranate juice reduces the formation of plaque by 32%. According to the publication: “It is believed that antioxidants in juice, called polyphenols, are the main agents behind its antibacterial action”.
Help in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and protection of the gastric mucosa
Although infusion and pomegranate are popularly used to treat diseases of the stomach and intestinal tract, only recent studies explain why they are effective. Its anti-diarrheal and dysentery effect is due to tannins, substances that give the bitter taste of pomegranate peel. They increase the reabsorption of water and sodium chloride, reduce mucous secretion, and inhibit prostaglandin (a substance that causes an increase in bowel movements and that can decrease the consistency of stools and increase the number of bowel movements), released in the intestinal mucosa.
Regarding the stomach, the antioxidant effect characteristic of polyphenols, present in the juice and, mainly, in the pomegranate peel, accelerate the healing process of the gastric mucosa, in addition to inhibiting microbial growth. Pomegranate leaf tea should also be used to improve bile secretion, increase bowel movement and inhibit acid secretion in the stomach, thereby protecting the gastrointestinal mucosa.
For sore throat
Pomegranate infusion can be used to treat sore throat in general. Due to the presence of antioxidants and, mainly, astringents – substances that cause tissue contraction, reducing both swelling and sore throat, pomegranate is really very effective in these cases.
Pomegranate helps maintain good cholesterol levels
Also called a superfood, pomegranate is known to reduce LDL (Bad Cholesterol), and increase HDL (Good Cholesterol). Studies have also shown that consumption of pomegranate blocks the production of triglycerides, that is, it attacks fat before it even settles in the body.
Enhances performance in the practice of exercises
The nitrates present in the pomegranate can increase blood circulation in the muscles. This is because, during the exercise – when there is a much greater demand for oxygen and transport of nutrients, carbon dioxide and heat in the muscles worked, part of the ingested nitrates of the pomegranate is converted into nitrites, that is, it substantiates dilating vessels that increase the volume of blood pumped to the muscles.
According to Dr. Robert Wildman, author and member of the International Sports Nutrition Society, “Pomegranates are rich in nitrates, more than beets or dark green leafy vegetables”. Still according to him, “If you take something before training that contains ingredients to support vasodilation, this can result in an intense pumping of blood to the muscles. Studies indicate that nitrites and nitrates also have the potential to help the body use oxygen more efficiently. This means that the athlete could use less oxygen in a given training session or train more before becoming exhausted”.
A superfood for skin and hair
Listed among super antioxidants, such as blueberry, pomegranate is three times more powerful than green tea and orange. In addition, a single glass of the fruit juice contains 40% of the daily requirement for folic acid and vitamins A, C and E. The best juice is the one made at home and consumed immediately, this way you will conserve the largest number of vitamins. Make sure you take it without sugar because sugar can inhibit some of the benefits of pomegranate. Remember that the oil made from its seeds is also rich in nutrients and widely used in cosmetics for skin and hair
Taking pomegranate juice can have numerous health benefits for your skin and hair. It is one of the few fruits that offers in juice the same nutritional benefits as fresh fruit. This is due to the fact that the highest concentration of antioxidants is in the peel, and they are not wasted when making the juice.
Pomegranate juice prolongs the life of fibroblasts, substances responsible for the production of collagen and elastin in the body and for cell regeneration. Therefore, the continued intake of the juice can promote a more toned and healthy skin, also because its action occurs both in the upper layer of the skin and in the deeper layers. It acts on the regeneration of spots and improves the appearance of expression marks. Such substances also act in the composition of the hair, making it stronger and preventing hair loss.
How to use pomegranate in the diet
Pomegranate seeds can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, porridges, yogurts and even savory dishes. You can also make juice from the seeds or tea from the peel of the fruit. An average pomegranate has 105 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0.5 grams of fat and is cholesterol free. Although it contains only a small amount of protein, it is a significant source of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants and, therefore, can be of great help in delaying aging and contributing to overall health.
- Beat a washed and cut pomegranate in a blender with 200 ml of water. Strain and then take.
- Boil the cut peels of a pomegranate in 4 cups of water for 15 minutes, strain and take or gargle warm.
- Boil ½ liter of water and place the peele of a pomegranate well washed and cut. Let it cool covered for 10 minutes, strain and drink gradually. The infusion can also be used to gargle.
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