Pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants and other essential nutrients.
While the juice can be a refreshing choice, there are some drawbacks. For example, the drink may interact with certain medications, so some people are advised to sip on an alternative beverage.
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Here, we'll look at the health benefits of pomegranate juice, how much sugar is in pomegranate juice, whether pomegranate juice benefits weight loss and some additional information about the tart and tasty drink.
The Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
From reducing inflammation to lowering cholesterol levels, pomegranate juice has been linked to a number of health benefits.
1. Pomegranate Juice Is Packed With Antioxidants
Pomegranate juice is rich in punicalagins, which are extremely powerful antioxidants. Pomegranate juice's antioxidant levels are potent: The juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea, per early October 2000 research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Pomegranate juice is also rich in compounds called polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, per a March 2014 report in Advanced Biomedical Research. More research needs to be done, but preliminary findings suggest it may help fight prostate, breast, lung, colon and skin cancers.
People with diabetes who drank 1.1 cups (250 ml) of pomegranate juice daily lowered two inflammatory markers — CRP and interleukin-6 — by 32 and 30 percent, respectively, according to one March 2014 study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a host of health conditions, so nutrients with anti-inflammatory functions may be helpful in staving off such conditions.
2. Pomegranate Juice May Improve Heart Health
Pomegranate juice may have positive effects on cardiovascular disease, per an April 2013 study in Rambam Maimodies Medical Journal. It concluded that the juice markedly decreases the risk. The juice protects cholesterol from oxidation, which reduces the development of atherosclerotic plaque, and the likelihood of its consequences such as heart attacks and stroke.
Research suggests that pomegranate juice may help reduce high blood pressure, which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, per a January 2017 review in Pharmacological Research.
Pomegranate juice and cholesterol also appear to share a positive relationship: A handful of small studies suggest that drinking the juice may help lower levels of bad cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, though more research is needed.
Should You Drink Pomegranate Juice to Lower Cholesterol?
While studies seem to suggest that drinking pomegranate juice might lower cholesterol, the overall evidence is mixed, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Some researchers suspect that pomegranate juice may block or slow the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries of people who are at higher risk of heart disease.
Plus, the high antioxidant level of pomegranate juice is thought to provide several heart health benefits, including reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol.
While drinking pomegranate juice may help lower cholesterol levels, the Mayo Clinic recommends people talk to their doctor before drinking it with that purpose in mind. This is especially important because pomegranate juice may interfere with certain medications.
Juicing to lower cholesterol is a practice some people swear by, but it's not a remedy that's been proven to work for everyone. There's no specified prescription for much pomegranate juice you should drink to lower cholesterol levels.
3. Pomegranate Juice May Help Fight Infections
Pomegranate's benefits also include antimicrobial effects.
An October 2017 study in Biomed Research International evaluated the action of the peel and juice extract on some of the main bacterial strains responsible for dental cavities. Although it was a test-tube study, it's worth mentioning because of the promising results; researchers determined that pomegranate juice could help prevent and treat dental cavities.
Does Pomegranate Juice Help You Lose Weight?
Pomegranate juice and weight loss are are sometimes linked to each other.
While pomegranate juice is packed with vital nutrients, there is insufficient evidence that it helps directly with weight loss.
That said, pomegranates could be helpful for maintaining a healthy weight.
Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, and researchers, while cautioning more research is needed, believe that it is these compounds that are responsible for pomegranate's anti-obesity effects, according to a June 2012 study in Nutrition.
Even so, it's important to remember that pomegranate juice lacks fiber and has a lot of sugar, a combination that may counter your weight loss goals.
Pomegranate Juice vs. Fruit Nutrition
As with most juices, pomegranate juice lacks the fiber that's available in its whole fruit form (the pomegranate seeds). Here's how the juice and the whole fruit measure up:
Pomegranate Juice vs. Pomegranate Seeds
1 Cup Pomegranate Juice
1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
As evident in the chart above, the main difference between drinking the juice and eating the fruit is that the fruit is a rich source of fiber. The sugar in pomegranate juice, without its fiber, can to a sharp rise in blood sugar levels.
You might consider eating the whole fruit rather than drinking the juice, because the fiber prevents a spike in blood sugar that can result from eating the natural sugars, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
While drinking fruit juice daily is linked to a higher risk of diabetes, eating two servings of fruit per week is shown to lower the risk of diabetes, per Harvard Health Publishing. Sprinkling pomegranate seeds in a salad, for example, will provide the antioxidants, without taxing the body to process the sugar content.
Pomegranate Powder vs. Pomegranate Juice
While you're probably familiar with bottled pomegranate juice, the fruit juice can also come in the form of a dried powder.
This powder is made from dehydrated pomegranate juice, so it has much of the same nutritional content as the fresh fruit (though some research shows certain nutrients, namely vitamin C, may be decreased in the dehydrating process).
Pomegranate powder's health benefits reflect those of the drink. The antioxidant content of pomegranate powder is similar to that of fresh pomegranate juice, although the powder takes longer to reach maximum effect, according to a June 2008 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
You can find organic pomegranate powder online ($28.45 on Amazon). The ingredient can be added to smoothies and recipes for an extra taste of tartness.
Pomegranate Cherry Juice
Besides dehydrated pomegranate powder, pomegranate cherry juice is another popular pom-related product available on the market. POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cherry Juice is one popular option ($4.49 for 1, Amazon).
Cherries also have many of the same health benefits as pomegranates, so if you enjoy their taste, you might want to taste test the combination.
Pomegranate Juice Side Effects
Pomegranate juice is generally safe to drink — just make a point check the label to make sure it's 100 percent juice you're drinking, per the Mayo Clinic.
Products called juice drinks or cocktails are actually a mixture of juices, and usually have added sugar. They increase caloric intake, which decreases the cardiovascular benefits.
Pomegranate juice is rich in potassium, which might pose a problem for people with chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Because a low-potassium diet is often recommended for this condition, check with your doctor before adding pomegranate to your diet.
The supplement may also interact negatively with certain medications. It shouldn't be taken with the blood thinner warfarin, says the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It may also reduce the effectiveness of the diabetes drug metformin.
Plus, pomegranate extract can cause dangerous side effects if taken with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These include enalapril, captopril, lisinopril and ramipril, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Advanced Biomedical Research: "Potent Health Benefits of Pomegranate"
- Rambam Maimodies Medical Journal: "Pomegranate for Your Cardiovascular Health"
- Biomed Research International: "In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Pomegranate Juice and Peel Extracts on Cariogenic Bacteria"
- FoodData Central: "Pomegranate Juice"
- FoodData Central: "Pomegranate, Raw"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "News Briefs: Eating Fruit Is Better for You Than Drinking Fruit Juice"
- Pomegranate Juice: "Pomegranate Juice: Can It Lower Cholesterol?"
- National Kidney Foundation: "Reach for a Glass and Your Body May Benefit"
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Pomegranate"
- Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: "Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial"
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing"
- Pharmacological Research: "Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials"
- Journal of Medicinal Food: "Pomegranate juice and extracts provide similar levels of plasma and urinary ellagitannin metabolites in human subjects"
- Nutrition: "Obesity: the preventive role of the pomegranate (Punica granatum)"