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Risks and Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

author image Jeffrey Traister
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Risks and Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
Two glasses and a pitcher of pomegranate juice. Photo Credit PicturePartners/iStock/Getty Images


Pomegranate is a popular fruit. Pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants -- greater than most other fruit juices, green tea and red wine, according to HealthCastle.com. These antioxidants include phytonutrients such as polyphenol, tannins and anthocyanins. Daily consumption of pomegranate juice is more potent in improving antioxidant function than other fruit because of its concentrated amount of phenolic compounds, according to research by C. Guo published in "Nutrition Research" in 2008.

Risk: Drug Interactions

Pomegranate juice is healthy to drink daily. However, it may interfere with some prescription drugs, such as medications that treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Research by A.V. Sorokin, published in the "American Journal of Cardiology" in 2006, revealed that consuming pomegranate juice may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis -- a condition involving muscle breakdown that can cause kidney failure -- if you are taking rosuvastatin, a drug that treats high cholesterol. Before drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis, talk with your doctor.

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Risk: Increases Blood Sugar

Pomegranate juice has highly concentrated sugar content. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, a 1-cup or 8-oz. serving of pomegranate juice has 134 calories and 31.5 g of total sugars -- approximately 50 percent from glucose and 50 percent from fructose. This is almost the same sugar content as a 16-fl. oz. size of cola soda that has 128 calories and 31.13 g of total sugar. Drinking high concentrations of sugar may increase your blood sugar.

Benefit: Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

The concentrated level of antioxidants in pomegranate juice, particularly polyphenols, may block or slow down the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Antioxidants protect the heart by reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as LDL or the "bad" cholesterol. Research by Ahmad Esmailzadeh, published in the "International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research" in 2006, revealed that consumption of concentrated pomegranate juice may reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, as well as decrease the risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetic patients who have high blood levels of fat and cholesterol.

Benefit: Improves Sexual Performance and Fertility

Pomegranate juice may help improve sexual performance and fertility. Research by C.P. Forest, published in the "International Journal of Impotence Research" in 2007, revealed that pomegranate juice improves erections in men with erectile dysfunction. This may be due, in part, to the effect of pomegranate juice on nitric oxide, a substance that enables smooth muscles in the walls of blood vessels -- such as in the penis -- to relax, widen and increase blood flow. Research by L.J. Ignarro, published in "Nitric Oxide" in 2006, demonstrated that pomegranate juice has potent antioxidant activity that protects nitric oxide from being destroyed and augments its biological action on smooth muscle cells in blood vessels. Consumption of pomegranate juice also improves sperm quality, according to research by G. Turk, published in "Clinical Nutrition" in 2008.

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