The name for the pomegranate fruit is derived from Latin and literally means "seeded apple." Only the seeds are edible and are found inside this large, hexagonal-shaped red fruit. An average pomegranate contains about 600 juicy seeds, also known as arils, which are encapsulated in white pith. The pomegranate fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamins and high in phytochemicals that may promote heart health and help to prevent cancer.
Aids Weight Management
As with many fruits, pomegranate seeds are low in calories and rich in fiber, providing only 83 calories and 4 g of dietary fiber per 100 g serving. A 100-g serving is equivalent to about 3/4 cup. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for optimal health with a 2000-calorie diet, you should consume 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day. Pomegranate seeds and other fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, may reduce your risk of developing chronic disease and aid in weight management.
Provides Vitamins C and K
Pomegranate seeds are a good source of two essential vitamins, C and K. A 100 g portion of raw, edible seeds provides 10.2 mg of vitamin C or 17 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV. Pomegranate seeds provide slightly more than 16 mcg of vitamin K, or 20 percent of the DV, according to NutritionValue.org. Vitamin C aids in immune system function, wound healing, promotion of healthy gums and the manufacture of collagen and elastin. Vitamin C also enhances iron absorption. Vitamin K is important for maintaining strong, healthy bones as well as proper blood clotting.
May Prevent Cancer
Pomegranate seeds, like other fruits and vegetables, are rich in phytochemicals, which are beneficial substances found in minute quantities in plant foods. The group of phytochemicals in pomegranate seeds is called polyphenols. Pomegranate seeds are rich in specific polyphenols, such as tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins -- all of which may offer both heart health and anti-cancer benefits. As powerful antioxidants, polyphenols may improve healthy cell survival, induce cancer cell death and prevent tumor growth, according to an article published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in January 2005. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
- NutritionValue.org: Pomegranates, raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Food and Drug Administration: Food Label Helps Consumers Make Healthier Choices
- "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Polyphenols: Antioxidants and Beyond; Augustin Scalbert, Ian T. Johnson, Mike Saltmarsh; January 2005
- The Linus Pauling Institute: The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics