For generations, the pomegranate has been a symbol of fertility, and it is still used in herbal supplements for conditions that include keeping your heart healthy, relieving intestinal problems and preventing periodontal disease.
Beneficial Daily Nutrients
The USDA recommends you eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day. Pomegranates are a nutrient-dense and low-calorie way to help hit this target. Each pomegranate, equal to about 1 cup of seeds, contains 174 calories with very little fat — 2 grams, or 3 percent daily value (DV). They do not contain cholesterol and supply only a minimal amount of saturated fat — 0.2 grams per cup, according to the USDA.
The seeds of pomegranates have a high fiber content, with 7 grams or 28 percent DV per cup. As with most fruits, pomegranates are not especially high in protein, but they do provide 3 percent of your DV per fruit.
Pomegranate fruit is an excellent source of essential minerals vital for good health. One cup of pomegranate supplies a good portion of your daily recommended value in minerals, including:
- Calcium: 17.4 milligrams or 1 percent DV
- Iron: 0.5 milligrams or 3 percent DV
- Potassium: 411 milligrams or 9 percent DV
- Magnesium: 21 milligrams or 5 percent DV
- Phosphorus: 63 milligrams or 5 percent DV
- Zinc: 0.6 milligrams or 6 percent DV
- Copper: 0.3 milligrams or 31 percent DV
- Manganese: 0.2 milligrams or 9 percent DV
- Selenium: 0.9 micrograms or 2 percent DV
A pomegranate a day provides an impressive lineup of vitamins to help keep your body functioning properly. Each cup includes:
- Vitamin C: 18 milligrams or 20 percent DV
- Vitamin E: 1 milligram or 7 percent DV
- Vitamin K: 29 micrograms or 24 percent DV
- Thiamin: 10 percent DV
- Riboflavin: 7 percent DV
- Pantothenic acid: 13 percent DV
- Vitamin B6: 8 percent DV
- Folate: 17 percent DV
Pomegranates supply 11 percent of your DV in carbohydrates, mostly from sugar_._ With almost 24 grams of sugar per cup, you might want to limit eating pomegranates if you are trying to manage your weight. Drinking a cup of bottled pomegranate juice will contribute even more — 63 percent of your DV in sugar consumption, according to the USDA.
Pomegranate Benefits Digestion
The high fiber content in pomegranates will help keep your digestive system functioning properly. Fiber is the part of food your body can't completely break down in the digestive tract. It travels through you stomach and intestines relatively intact, adding bulk and absorbing water to soften your stool and help keep bowel movements regular.
A daily dose of pomegranate fiber not only helps prevent constipation, it may also alleviate the symptoms of many intestinal conditions such as diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids_._ Research also suggests that dietary fiber has the potential to reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to the October 2015 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Maintain Oral Health
Pomegranate benefits include maintaining your oral health thanks to the antimicrobial properties of the colorful fruit. Dental plaque is a primary factor in gum inflammation, which can lead to periodontal disease.
A study, published in the Journal of Dental Research and Review in February 2017, assessed the effect of various mouthwashes, including one prepared from fresh pomegranate extract. The study used 104 participants to evaluate the effect of reducing microbial plaque and gingival bleeding. Mouthwashes were used twice daily for one month.
The pomegranate was as effective as other routinely used herbal mouthwashes in reducing plaque and bleeding gums, and the polyphenolic flavonoids in pomegranate may help to reduce gingivitis development.
In addition, when compared to anti-plaque prescription chemical medications, such as chlorhexidine, a study suggests that pomegranate may be equally effective — but without the side effects of tooth staining, bad taste and tartar development. Results were published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research in January-March 2016.
The study concluded that pomegranate used as an anticariogenic mouth rinse may provide protection against streptococcus in the mouth. Although the study was small, the evidence suggested that mouthwash made from pomegranate could be an adjunct in maintaining good oral health.
Immune System Strength
Pomegranates are a very good source of vitamin C, which, along with vitamin E, acts as an antioxidant that helps ward off disease and infection. Antioxidants protect your cells from harmful free radicals produced by normal metabolic functions, such as digestion, and also from environmental factors such as pollutants. Free radicals play a role in many chronic conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
The antioxidant vitamin C in pomegranate helps support your immune system and has been shown to inhibit pathogenic bacterial growth, including E. coli, according to a January 2018 study published in the Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine.
If you have a cold, snacking on pomegranate could help reduce some symptoms. Research has associated vitamin C with treating the common cold, according to a meta-analysis published in BioMed Research International in July 2018. Conclusions suggest that extra vitamin C could shorten the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
If you drink pomegranate juice to get the extra vitamin C, be aware that the vitamin may be broken down when pasteurized, so the best pomegranate juice is homemade or fresh if you want to get the most of the nutrient.
Retain Cognitive Health
Eating a pomegranate a day may help maintain the proper function of your brain. While preliminary, studies suggest a role for pomegranate juice in improving memory and increasing functional brain activity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study in July 2013 that assessed 32 participants who drank 8 ounces of either pomegranate juice or a placebo drink for four weeks.
Findings support the hypothesis that the polyphenols derived from pomegranate juice may increase task-related brain activity and improve memory in older people with age-related memory decline.
Authors of the study suggested that future research is required to validate these results within larger samples and consider the long-term effects of pomegranate juice on cognitive functions.
Benefit Your Heart
To add to pomegranate's myriad of health-promoting benefits from high antioxidant content are promising heart-protective agents. Pomegranate juice contains more polyphenols than many other fruit juices and has three times more antioxidants than red wine or green tea. The antioxidant activity in polyphenols may be helpful in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Pomegranate may also help reduce the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. A July 2012 study, published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, examined the association of pomegranate and atherosclerosis. About 100 dialysis patients participated in the trial. Group members who were administered pomegranate juice three times a week for a year had fewer signs of inflammation than the placebo group.
The study concluded that long-term intake of pomegranate juice may improve cardiovascular risk factors, reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, strengthen immunity and thus reduce death in patients on dialysis.
- Advanced Biomedical Research: "Potent Health Effects of Pomegranate"
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Pomegranate Protection Against Cardiovascular Diseases"
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: "All About the Fruit Group"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Pomegranates"
- MyFoodData: Nutrition Facts for Pomegranate Juice, Bottled
- Mayo Clinic: "Mayo Clinic Q and A: Diet, Lifestyle Choices can Lower Risk of Diverticulosis Developing Into Diverticulitis"
- International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: "Dietary Fiber"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Dietary Fiber Intake and Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Incident and Recurrent Adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Journal of Dental Research and Review: "Assessing the Effect of Pomegranate Fruit Seed Extract Mouthwash on Dental Plaque and Gingival Inflammation"
- Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology and Research: "The Effect of Pomegranate Mouthrinse on Streptococcus Mutans Count and Salivary pH: An in Vivo Study"
- National Institutes of Health: "Vitamin C"
- Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine: "Antimicrobial Activity of Vitamin C Demonstrated on Uropathogenic Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae"
- BioMed Research International: "Extra Dose of Vitamin C Based on a Daily Supplementation Shortens the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis of 9 Randomized Controlled Trials"
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Pomegranate Juice Augments Memory and fMRI Activity in Middle-Aged and Older Adults With Mild Memory Complaints"
- Free Radical Biology and Medicine: "One Year of Pomegranate Juice Intake Decreases Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Incidence of Infections in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial"
- NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Pomegranate"