Pomegranates are among the healthiest fruits on earth.
They contain a range of beneficial plant compounds, unrivaled by other foods.
Many studies have shown that they have incredible benefits for your body, and may lower the risk of all sorts of diseases (1).
1. Pomegranates Are Loaded With Important Nutrients
The pomegranate, or Punica granatum, is a shrub that produces a red fruit (1).
Categorized as a berry, the pomegranate fruit is about 5-12 cm (2-5 inches) in diameter.
It is red, round and looks kind of like a red apple with a flower-shaped stem.
The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds called arils within.
The arils are what people eat, either raw or processed into pomegranate juice.
Pomegranates have an impressive nutrient profile:
One cup of arils (174 grams) contains (2):
- Fiber: 7 grams.
- Protein: 3 grams.
- Vitamin C: 30% of the RDA.
- Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
- Folate: 16% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 12% of the RDA.
The pomegranate arils (seeds) are also very sweet, with one cup containing 24 grams of sugar, and 144 calories.
However, where pomegranates really shine is in their content of powerful plant compounds, some of which have potent medicinal properties.
2. Pomegranates Contain Two Plant Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
There are two unique substances in pomegranates that are responsible for most of their health benefits.
Punicalagins are extremely powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate.
They are so powerful that pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea (3).
Pomegranate extract and powder is typically made from the peel, due to its high antioxidant and punicalagin content.
Punicic acid, also known as pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in the arils.
It is a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects.
3. Pomegranate Has Impressive Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Chronic inflammation is among the leading drivers of many killer diseases.
This includes heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even obesity.
Pomegranate has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which are largely mediated by the antioxidant properties of the punicalagins.
Test tube studies have shown that it can reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells (4, 5, 6).
One study in diabetics found that 250 ml of pomegranate juice per day for 12 weeks lowered the inflammatory markers CRP and interleukin-6 by 32% and 30%, respectively (7).
Bottom Line: The punicalagins in pomegranate juice have been shown to reduce inflammation, one of the leading drivers of many killer diseases.