Pomegranate is an acquired taste and certainly not something that all of us associate with a juicy treat. However despite this fact it’s still very popular and sells well both as a fruit and as a fruit juice – the reason being that it is highly good for us and highly promoted by many marketing strategies in light of recent studies that suggest anti-cancer properties. But are the health benefits worth the bitter after taste if you’re not a fan? Here we will look at the facts and figures.
Studies and Mechanisms
The reason that pomegranate is so popular is largely that it has recently shown positive findings in clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent. The metabolites of pomegranate juice ellagitannins localize in the prostate gland, colon and intestinal tissues and this suggests that pomegranate could help in many local diseases and conditions (metabolites are the product of metabolism and are required for normal growth and reproduction).
Meanwhile one study demonstrated that pomegranate could be useful with combating heart disease, cholesterol, foam cell formation and more. In another study pomegranates was found to reduce LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) by up to 90%. This basically means reducing fatty deposits in the arteries and veins in order to encourage the flow of blood and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Much of the anti-cancer findings and reports come from the antioxidant effects of pomegranate. An antioxidant is a substance that the body can use in order to defend against ‘oxidative stress’. Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s cells are under attack from ‘free radicals’ which can bombard the cell walls. If these free radicals manage to penetrate the cell walls however, then they will eventually reach the nucleus and begin to damage the DNA. This causes mutation which is then spread each time the cell reproduces via mitosis (by splitting down the middle). This is how cancer forms and spreads and thus pomegranate can help to prevent cancer.
Meanwhile pomegranate is also a very good source of vitamin C and K. Vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system and pomegranate can this way help you to fend off illnesses and to feel awake and well. Then vitamin K can help with the protection of the heart, and with the strengthening of bones.
Finally pomegranate is a great source of fiber, and that means that it can further aid in the reduction of cholesterol by clearing the veins and arteries, as well as improving digestive function and helping to detox the system.
Pomegranates contain roughly 235 calories per serving (of course pomegranates range in size) and of these 28 are fats and the majorities are sugars. This makes the pomegranate great for energy, but it’s important not to OD on sugars. Those 28 calories make up 3g which is roughly 5% of the pomegranate. There are also 8mg of sodium, 53g of carbohydrates, 11g of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein and 39 of sugars.
Of your RDA (recommended daily allowance): vitamin A, 0%; vitamin C, 48%; niacin, 4%; vitamin K, 58%; folate, 27%; pantothenic acid, 11%; riboflavin, 9%; vitamin B6,11%; vitamin E, 8%; calcium, 3%; and iron, 5%.