The ‘seeded apple’ known as the pomegranate fruit has recently emerged as a highly nutritious superfood packed with some surprising health benefits. Packed with essential nutrients and low on calories, pomegranate makes a healthy and delicious addition to your diet. And because it is abundant in antioxidants, it can play a huge role in your overall health and wellbeing. Here are nine surprising health benefits of the pomegranate.
1. Pomegranate Fights Free Radicals
Pomegranate is hugely rich in antioxidants which help protect your body from the cell damaging effects of harmful free radicals. Free radicals are produced by natural bodily processes such as breaking down food or simply by breathing, and are also found in external pollutants such as sun radiation. Antioxidants help defend your cells against attack from free radicals and their resulting cell damage. Pomegranate juice is at least 20% more potent in antioxidants than blueberry and acai berry, which are also well known for their antioxidant properties.
2. Pomegranate Helps Fight Cancer
The high levels of flavonoid antioxidants in pomegranate can help prevent and fight cancer. Studies have shown that flavonoids in pomegranate can slow the growth of cancerous cells, and even kill the cell completely. Other studies have showed pomegranate juice is capable of reducing blood supply to tumours, slowing their growth and making them smaller.
3. Pomegranate Keeps Your Skin Looking Younger
A regular supply of pomegranate can help keep you looking young and radiant. Free radical damage to your skin cells is one of the causes of the visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. All those free radical fighting antioxidants in pomegranates can help prevent premature signs of ageing by protecting your skin cells and encouraging cell regeneration.
4. Pomegranate Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
Keep your heart happy by eating pomegranate. Studies have shown that a compound called punicalagin, found only in pomegranate, cleanses the blood circulatory system by helping to unclog arteries, prevent clotting, increasing oxygen flow to the heart and lowering blood pressure. By maintaining this good blood flow in the body, pomegranate is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.
5. Pomegranate Protects Your Joints
The punicalagins in pomegranate can also help prevent joint damage and reduce inflammation in those with arthritis. They are thought to do this by stopping production of an enzyme that leads to the breakdown of collagen and destroys cartilage in joints, a key cause of arthritis related pain and stiffness. One study showed that pomegranate extract decreased joint tenderness in arthritis patients by 62%.
6. Pomegranate Boosts Your Immune System
Try swapping your oranges for pomegranate. Pomegranate is bursting with vitamin C, an essential vitamin that your body needs to defend itself against microbes, bacteria and viruses. Just one pomegranate can provide you with about 40% of your daily vitamin C requirement, giving your immune system a healthy boost.
7. Pomegranate Helps You Lose Weight
Pomegranates are a high source of fibre, with one pomegranate fulfilling about 45% of your daily recommended fibre intake. As well as keeping your digestive system healthy, high fibre foods are essential for weight loss because they keep you feeling fuller for longer, meaning you are less likely to overeat. So next time you’re feeling peckish, snack on some pomegranate instead of cookies or crisps.
8. Pomegranate is Good for Your Teeth
Some of the compounds in pomegranate can help reduce the effects of dental plaque and protect against oral diseases. One study showed that pomegranate extract was able to effectively reduce the formation of dental plaque due to microorganism build up by almost 84%! Pomegranate mouthwash anyone?
9. Pomegranate Lowers Your Stress Levels
A study by Queen Margaret University showed that people drinking 500ml of pomegranate juice every day for just two weeks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and lower blood pressure. So if you want to reduce your stress levels, power up on pomegranate!
With all these amazing health benefits, it’s no wonder pomegranate has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. So next time you go grocery shopping, reach for the pomegranate and your body might just thank you for it.