It’s a cold hard fact, that Pomegranates are the world’s most delicious fruit. Forget the apples, the mangos, and the kiwis. These treasure troves of ruby red garnets are filled with magical sweet love. Loaded with healthy antioxidants and polyphenols, pomegranates are low key, life changing. Healthy benefits galore, pomegranates will undoubtedly become your next favorite fruit.
What Are Pomegranates
Pomegranate is an ancient fruit originating in the middle east. It’s been around since the beginning of time and has had a presence in every ancient middle eastern civilization as well as China and India. The pomegranate is comprised of several components. The nutrient-dense outer layer or “husk” envelopes clusters of berry-like seeds called arils. All the glory lies in within the arils.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamins, essential minerals, and polyphenols. As one of the most nutrient dense fruits in the entire fruit ecosystem, studies have shown that pomegranates may benefit a wide modalities of training protocols, due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory capabilities, and nitrate content.
1. Pomegranates Are Packed Full Of Nutrients
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest and most powerful fruits on earth. Pomegranates contain a litany of beneficial bioactive plant compounds that contribute to its super fruit status, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Numerous studies have proven the health benefits associated with pomegranates especially their anti-inflammatory effects and benefits on heart health. Two of the compounds responsible for many of the health benefits are punicalagins, which account for more than 50% of pomegranates antioxidant effects and have also been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea [R], as well as anthocyanins, antioxidants that belong to a flavonoid family, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects [R, R].
2. Pomegranates May Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Pomegranates are affluent in polyphenols, with high antioxidant capacity. Additionally, studies have shown that pomegranates have antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects. Punicic acid a fatty acid found in pomegranate seed oil, has also been shown to protect against potential heart disease factors [R].
In a study on 51 hyperlipidemic patients, pomegranate seed oil was administered twice a day (800 mg/day) for 4 weeks. There was a significant decrease in triglycerides (TG) and TG: High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio by 2.75 mmol/L and 5.7 mmol/L, respectively, whereas serum cholesterol, LDL-C, and glucose concentration remained unchanged.[R]
3. Pomegranates May Improve Exercise Performance
Research has shown that nitrates in addition to polyphenols may be responsible for increased blood flow and vasodilation. A study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, investigated the effects of polyphenols on vasodilation, blood flow, and exercise performance. 19 active participants participated in a regular exercise program with the same protocols for at least two months prior to the study. Participants did not consume any additional pharmaceuticals or supplements that could potentially confound the results Results indicated that 1000 mg of pomegranate extract 30 minutes prior to exercise significantly enhanced blood flow, delayed the onset of fatigue, and increased exercise efficiency [R].
This study shows that pomegranates, like beets, may be beneficial to increase nitric oxide production and exercise performance.
RELATED ARTICLE 11 Studies That Prove Pomegranates Benefit Athletic Performance
4. Pomegranates Can Help Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Pomegranates have impressive antimicrobial properties, and anti-fungal effects. Several studies have shown that pomegranates polyphenol content may mitigate the pathogenic effects of food-borne bacterial pathogens [R].
5. Pomegranates Could Improve Joint Health And Mobility
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which can affect join mobility and quality of life. Arthritis is mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines which are vital to cartilage damage regulation [R]. Given that pomegranates contain polyphenols which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, studies indicate that pomegranates may block enzymes that can cause detriment to joint health and mobility associated with arthritis [R].
6. Pomegranates May Help Obesity And Diabetes
Pomegranate benefits have been also linked to reducing obesity. Several animal studies have demonstrated that pomegranate extracts can decrease LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and decrease inflammation in high-fat diets. Animal studies also show that pomegranates can reduce serum lipid and glucose levels, thus improving glycemic control.
7. Pomegranates May Increase Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is a vital hormone, that controls libido, helps build muscle mass, and enhances overall vitality.
A cross sectional study examined the effects of pomegranate juice on testosterone levels and mood. The study concluded that after two weeks, consumption of pomegranate pure juice significantly increased salivary testosterone levels by an average of 24% in addition to having positive effects on blood pressure, mood, and anxiety [R].
Pomegranate Health Benefits: Takeaway
With powerful plant compounds and massive drool worthy appeal, pomegranates are a healthy and delectable add to your diet. Studies show that a dose of 400-1000mg per day is necessary for any associated health benefits. Therefore, when you look for a high quality greens or reds powder, make sure it contains a higher dose reap the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
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Williamson G. The role of polyphenols in modern nutrition. Nutr Bull. 2017;42(3):226-235. doi:10.1111/nbu.12278
Zarfeshany, Aida et al. “Potent health effects of pomegranate.” Advanced biomedical research vol. 3 100. 25 Mar. 2014, doi:10.4103/2277-9175.129371
Trexler, Eric T et al. “Effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion.” Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme vol. 39,9 (2014): 1038-42. doi:10.1139/apnm-2014-0137
Rasheed Z, Akhtar N, Haqqi TM. Pomegranate extract inhibits the interleukin-1β-induced activation of MKK-3, p38α-MAPK and transcription factor RUNX-2 in human osteoarthritis chondrocytes. Arthritis Res Ther. 2010;12(5):R195. doi:10.1186/ar3166
Ahmed S, Wang N, Hafeez BB, Cheruvu VK, Haqqi TM. Punica granatum L. extract inhibits IL-1beta-induced expression of matrix metalloproteinases by inhibiting the activation of MAP kinases and NF-kappaB in human chondrocytes in vitro. J Nutr. 2005;135(9):2096-2102.
Gil MI, Tomás-Barberán FA, Hess-Pierce B, Holcroft DM, Kader AA. Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. J Agric Food Chem. 2000;48(10):4581-4589. doi:10.1021/jf000404a
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