Pomegranate is a member of the berry family and belongs to the Punicaceas family. It is one of the most popular fruits, which is cultivated for food, juice, flavor and color. The name pomegranate is derived from the French words “pomme garnete”, which means seeded apple. Pomegranate is believed to have originated in Iran over 4000 years ago. This exotic fruit is even mentioned in Greek legends and ancient texts, including the Bible. It was brought to Egypt in 1600 BC, where it became revered not only as an important food source, but also for its medicinal purposes. It was also depicted in paintings and Egyptian tombs, where it symbolized life after death. The jewel toned seeds symbolize fertility, health and prosperity in some cultures. It is also used in the wedding ritual in several cultures. In Chinese symbolism, pomegranate, with its bright skin and tasty seeds is a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Every pomegranate fruit is composed of exactly 840 seeds. The inner membranes and rind is not consumed due to the high acid content, but are often used by the cosmetic companies as an active ingredient in the skin care products. The pomegranate tree bears numerous bright red colored, spherical shaped fruits of different colors like red, orange, yellow and purple, depending upon the cultivar. The fruit has a thick, leathery, red skin, which protects the pinkish red arils and seeds. The inside is separated by thin, white spongy membranes. Each section is packed with tiny, edible, sweet and juicy pink arils. Not just the arils, but the leaf, fruit, rind, bark, seed and root are also edible and have potential medicinal benefits.
Pomegranate Benefits for Skin:
A healthy skin not only looks beautiful, but also provides a layer of protection against infectious agents. The incredible antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate encourages radiant and glowing skin. Many cosmetic and skin care manufacturers are now including pomegranate extract in their products. It is incorporated into the skin care products to treat problems like dry skin, age spots, and hyper-pigmentation. An ounce of pomegranate juice or a medium pomegranate provides ample of skin friendly nutrients which ensure that the skin stays at its best.
1. Vitamin E:
Pomegranate contains a high amount of vitamin E, a nutrient very beneficial for maintaining the health of the skin. A cup of fresh pomegranate juice contains 1.8 milligrams of Vitamin E or 14% of your daily recommended value.
Pomegranate is a good source of zinc, a mineral required for healthy functioning of the skin. Zinc regulates the growth of basal cells, the precursor cells that develop into mature skin tissue and assist in wound healing. Zinc also aids to activate super-oxide dismutase, an antioxidant that protects the skin from damage. One medium pomegranate provides 1.1 milligram of zinc, approximately 15% of the daily recommended value.
Pomegranate contains a decent amount of copper, a mineral needed to produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment, which that gives color to eyes, skin and hair. It also provides natural sun protection to the skin. A cup of pomegranate juice boosts your copper intake by nearly 500 micrograms, about 53% of the daily recommended value.
4. Wound healing:
Several studies have revealed that pomegranate helps to expedite healing. The seeds contain excellent healing properties, which protect the outer layers of the skin and aid in the regeneration of the cells.
Pimples occur due to the hormonal imbalance in the body. Consuming pomegranate prevents acne by eliminating the root cause itself. It corrects the digestive issues in the body and improves blood circulation. Pomegranate contains high levels of vitamin C required for the production of sebum, an oily secretion by the sebaceous glands of the skin. Pomegranate also generates tissue in the affected area to minimize the appearance of acne scars. You can apply pomegranate extracts to the affected areas to get rid of acne.
6. Smooth skin:
This fruit is well known for its high concentration of iron, a constituent part of hemoglobin that helps in the transportation of oxygen. Oxygen is carried to the skin cells, making it look fresh and young. Dip a cotton ball in pomegranate juice and swipe it across the face. This is an excellent astringent and toner, which will help to reduce the spots on the skin.
7. Facial scrub:
Pomegranate for skin can also be used as a facial scrub. Mix 1 teaspoon of pomegranate seeds with a teaspoon of brown sugar, two teaspoons of honey and one teaspoon of avocado oil to make a facial scrub. Use it daily for a few minutes to remove dead skin cells and get a clean and glowing skin. You can also use the seed paste as a body scrub to remove excess oil.
8. Sun protection:
UVB radiation from the sun rays is known to be the main cause of skin conditions like photo-ageing and skin cancer. Pomegranates are very useful for countering the effects of harsh sun rays. It contains sun protective compound which protects the skin against free radical damage. It contains ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant, which inhibits the growth of skin cancer. Pomegranate is useful for preventing skin conditions like pigmentation and age spots. It also relieves sun burn and reduces the signs of sun damage.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances in plants that protect from the effects of free radicals. The antioxidants work from the inside and are much more effective than any moisturizer or sunscreen. Free radicals interfere with the normal cellular functions, which have a negative impact on the skin health. Anthocyanin and hydrolysable in pomegranates combat the free radicals, inhibiting any room for them to grow. They also prevent the free radicals from destroying healthy cells. The antioxidants in pomegranate prevent the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
The anti-ageing properties of pomegranate rejuvenate the skin, both internally and externally. The super-food protects the skin from premature ageing by reducing the signs of ageing caused by constant exposure to the sun. It helps to maintain the collagen and keeps it healthy for a longer period of time. Collagen is the basic component of the skin, which maintains the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Pomegranates contain certain compounds, which prevent the breaking down of collagen and keep the skin healthy. It also helps in the growth of fibroblasts, the cells that produce elastin and collagen. This ensures that the skin remains soft and supple. Thus, applying pomegranate oil on the skin slows down the formation of wrinkles and other signs related to ageing.
11. Dry skin:
Pomegranate is a boon for dry skinned beauties. Pomegranate seeds have a small molecular structure, which makes it easy to penetrate into the skin and hydrate it from within. It soothes dry and flaky skin and prevents moisture loss.
Pomegranate contains punicic acid, which keeps the bacteria at bay and ensures that the skin remains moist and healthy throughout the day.
13. Skin inflammation:
Pomegranate is very beneficial for treating the skin inflammation. It is better than any over the counter ointment available. It contains polyphenols and several compounds, which help to heal small cuts and wounds. Consume pomegranates or apply its extracts on the affected areas to ensure that the skin heals quickly.
Pomegranate Benefits for Health:
Pomegranates have come to the forefront of the nutrition movement as a “wonder fruit”. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidant which are essential for good health and optimal growth. Below mentioned are some of the most popular pomegranate health benefits.
Pomegranate plays a vital role in the secretion of enzymes to improve the function of digestion. Mix pomegranate juice with a teaspoon of honey to cure indigestion and giddiness. The fruit is also effective for treating hyperacidity. It is a rich form of alkali, which helps to neutralize acid. Pomegranate fruit or juice should be taken daily for about a month to notice positive results.
Pomegranate is very effective for treating piles. The fruit should be consumed every morning by adding a pinch of salt. This should be taken for three months daily. You can also take the fruit with honey. Take one teaspoon of dried pomegranate rind powder and mix it with buttermilk to arrest bleeding piles.
One of the main benefits of pomegranate is the incredible amount of antioxidants found in this fruit. Pomegranate has 3 times more antioxidants than green tea and red wine. It contains three types of polyphenols: anthocyanin, ellagic acid and tannins, which supports immune system and protects from several diseases. The high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols in pomegranate help to minimize and scavenge free radicals in the body.
17. Cardiovascular health:
One of the most important health benefits of pomegranate is the protection it provides against heart diseases. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice every day increases the blood flow in the body, reducing the workload of the heart. It thins out the blood and removes plaque from the arteries, minimizing the risk of atherosclerosis. Researchers have found that drinking pomegranate juice reduces LDL cholesterol without disturbing the HDL in the body. Pomegranate juice and seeds also increase oxygen levels in the heart.
Pomegranate has been found to potentially help with different types of cancer including prostate, skin and breast cancer. The antioxidants in pomegranate help to counteract free radicals, preventing cancer.
19. Improves Bone health:
Recent studies have shown that pomegranate can help people who suffer from osteoporosis. The fruit is very effective in attacking the protein Interleukin 1-b, a pro-inflammatory protein, which is largely responsible for causing osteoarthritis and degradation of the cartilage. The enzymes present in pomegranate prevent damage and degeneration of the cartilage thereby, preventing osteoarthritis. It also inhibits anti-inflammatory response in the body, making them beneficial for people suffering from osteoporosis.
20. Alzheimer’s disease:
Pomegranate is very useful for preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study, the lab mice were bred with the genetic predisposition to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Half of the mice were given a regular dosage of pomegranate juice and the other half was given normal food. The mice that were supplemented with pomegranate juice accumulated less amyloid plague, a substance considered as the major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. The mice also experienced an enhanced ability to perform mental tasks and respond to mental puzzle.
21. Dental problem:
Pomegranate is also effective in treating specific dental conditions. Pomegranate juice is found to be as effective as a mouthwash because of its high amounts of polyphenol flavonoids content, a compound with anti-bacterial properties. Drinking pomegranate juice regularly prevents dental plaque build up. It also helps to get rid of bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis.
22. Digestive system:
Pomegranate juice secretes enzymes with antibacterial properties, which aid digestion. It helps to fight off hemorrhoids, nausea, dysentery, intestinal worms and diarrhea. You can also use pomegranate juice as a laxative to treat constipation.
The high levels of iron in pomegranates raise the haemoglobin levels in the body to correct anemia. Regular consumption of pomegranate also prevents the formation of blood clots.
24. Prostate cancer:
Pomegranates have been found to reduce prostate specific antigen. The juice of pomegranate inhibits the growth of cancer cells and lowers the risk of metastasizing. The high phytochemicals in the pomegranate juice have a strong effect on stabilizing the growth of PSA in men.
25. Aid in pregnancy:
Pomegranate is a rich source of niacin, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, folate, iron and fiber, which are very beneficial for pregnant women. It helps to maintain a pregnant woman’s health and encourage cell growth. Consuming pomegranate juice during pregnancy also helps to reduce cramps and sleep problems. It is also known to increase blood flow to the baby to reduce the risk of brain damage.
26. Breast cancer:
Pomegranates contain ellagitannin, an antioxidant which prevents estrogen responsive breast cancer cells from growing. It also inhibits aromatase that is used to create estrogen, thereby, reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Pomegranate is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in smooth digestion and eases bowel movements. It provides around 4 grams of fiber per 100 grams serving. Pomegranate is also suggested by the nutritionists in weight reduction programs. High fiber food keeps your body satiated for longer periods of time.
In order to experience the health benefits, you need to consume one glass of juice or one medium pomegranate every day.
Pomegranate Benefits for Hair:
This delectable fruit contains several nutrients, which can benefit your hair in multiple ways. Some of the benefits of pomegranate for hair include:
Pomegranates contain vitamin A and K, the hair friendly nutrients, which are very beneficial for the growth of hair. Vitamin K keeps the strand and roots strong while Vitamin A encourages the scalp to produce more hair.
Selenium in pomegranate helps to kill Malassezia, a fungus, which shed dry and flaky fragments from the scalp. This helps to ward off dandruff and remove the debris from the scalp, encouraging hair growth.
Pomegranates contain zinc, a nutrient, which is required for the production of sebum in the scalp. This promotes regeneration of the scalp cells and keeps the roots and strands hydrated.
31. Strengthens Hair follicle:
Consuming pomegranate foods help in strengthening hair follicles. Pomegranate seed oil contains punicic acid which makes the hair healthy and strong. It also improves the circulation in the scalp, promoting hair growth.
Pomegranate contains high levels of iron, a nutrient required for maintaining the health of the hair. Hair that is starved from proper levels of iron may weaken and fall out. A major deficiency in iron can lead to dull and lifeless hair. It can also lead to severe hair loss. Iron improves blood circulation in the scalp, accelerating hair growth.
33. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C in pomegranate facilitates the absorption of hair friendly nutrients and nourishes the scalp to maintain the natural colour of the hair. It also maintains the health of the connective tissue, better known as collagen to promote hair growth. It also destroys the free radicals in the body, which makes the hair brittle, weak and thin.
Magnesium in pomegranate inhibits inflammation, treating scalp conditions like dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in ameliorating metabolic syndrome, one of the main causes premature balding in men. Stress is one of the major causes of massive hair shedding. Pomegranate contains magnesium, a mineral which reduces cortisol levels in the body.
Oxidation of tissue often causes premature greying if the hair. The antioxidants in pomegranate prevent the corrosion of tissue, thereby, reducing the possibility of premature greying.
Benefits of Pomegranate Rind:
Pomegranate peel powder is gaining immense popularity with each passing day. There are a plethora of uses of pomegranate peel. Some of the health benefits of pomegranate peel include:
1. Powerful Antioxidants:
Several researchers have concluded that pomegranate peel yields more powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic acid and Proanthocyanins than the pulp. Make sure that you use organic pomegranates so that you don’t end up consuming the chemicals, which are used in conventional farming.
2. Astringent Property:
The astringent and bitter taste of the peel helps in curbing inflammation, diarrhea, dysentery and bleeding.
3. Fights Heart Diseases:
Pomegranate peel is very useful to fight heart diseases. It prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein, preventing stroke.
4. Skin Cell Growth:
Pomegranate peel extracts enables pro-collagen synthesis and prevents the breakdown of collagen, promoting skin cell growth.
5. Controls Dandruff:
Pomegranate peels powder hair masks control dandruff and scalp flaking.
6. Aids in Respiratory Illnesses:
Pomegranate peel also aids in respiratory problems. Dried peels of pomegranate are used in conjunction with tulsi and ginger to prepare a concoction for treating cough.
7. Astringent Gargle:
You can also use pomegranate peel to make an astringent gargle for sore throat. Soak pomegranate peel in hot water and use the water to gargle.
8. Treats Cough:
To treat cough, take 8 parts of dried pomegranate peel powder and 1 part of rock salt. Mix it with water to make smooth dough. Make small pills from this dough and suck each pill, three times a day to get rid of cough.
9. Combats Bad Breath:
To combat bad breath, take 4 grams of pomegranate peel powder along with water, twice a day.
10. Tooth Cleaning Products:
Pomegranate peel powder is used to prepare tooth powder and toothpaste.
11. Aid for Excessive Urination:
If you’re suffering from excessive urination, take 5 grams of pomegranate peel powder with water twice a day.
12. Treats Menstrual Bleeding:
Take 1 teaspoon of pomegranate peel powder twice daily to control excessive menstrual bleeding.
13. Cures Piles:
Piles are a severe problem which causes bleeding from the anus. Take 8 grams of pomegranate peel powder twice daily for relief.
How To Prepare Pomegranate Peel Powder?
Take the peel of the pomegranate and discard the white membrane, as it is bitter in taste. Then leave it in high sunlight for 2 days. You can also dry the peels in a brass plate, near a smouldering stove. Grind the peel in a food processor or mortar and pestle to make a fine powder. Store the powder in an airtight container, away from sunlight, to preserve its antioxidant content.
Selection and Storage:
Pomegranate is available from September to early January. They are picked and shipped ripe, so that they can be consumed at the time of purchase. Pomegranate is available in many forms, which include: pomegranate fruit, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate syrup and pomegranate molasses.
The pomegranate fruit develops a distinctive color and sounds like a metal when tapped with finger. The fruit should be plump and round and slightly heavy for their size. It should be purchased before maturity lest the seed becomes hard and inedible. Large pomegranates are best for extracting juice.
While purchasing pomegranate, choose the ones that look fresh, are bright in color and have a smooth skin. The fruit should be free from cuts, mold and bruises, especially the crown. Avoid purchasing pomegranates that have noticeable cracks in their skin. This is a sign that the fruit is picked too late. You can store pomegranates in a cool, dark and dry place or in the refrigerator. They last for more than a month if stored in a cool and dry area. They don’t have a long shelf life. The seeds can be frozen in an airtight bag or container for almost a year. Fresh juice, syrup and molasses should be stored in the refrigerator. Juice should be consumed within two days of purchase, while syrup and molasses can be stored for more than 6 months. Consume a cut pomegranate within two days as the flesh deteriorates quickly once the fruit is opened.
It may seem daunting at first to extract the arils, as pomegranate rind doesn’t come off easily like other fruits. Cut the crown or the calyx of the fruit and make a vertical incision in the tough skin. Then make another two cuts and slice it evenly into four parts. Then break the sections apart, separating the arils from the membranes. Use your fingers to remove the arils from the sections.
To juice pomegranate, blend the arils in the juicer and squeeze the juice over a sieve. Discard the seeds and consume the juice.
Pomegranate syrup is more versatile than the juice. It is used to prepare sauces, marinades and for salad dressing for its thick texture and intense flavor.
Take out the pomegranate fruit from cold storage and wash pomegranate fruit in cold water or rinse it in tepid water to bring it back to the normal temperature.
The most important thing to remember while preparing or peeling pomegranate is to wear old clothes as the juice stain are stubborn and do not wash off easily.
- Pomegranate, with its glistening red seeds and dark red juice, provides a unique taste to salads, soups, marinades, dessert and beverages.
- To experience the rich taste of pomegranate, eat the fresh fruit without any addition. If you’re feeling hungry between meals, grab a pomegranate instead of binging on a packet of chips. Pomegranate juice is a refreshing treat at any time of the year. While making pomegranate juice, choose the largest and heaviest fruit. Pomegranate juice is also used in the preparation of soups, jellies, sorbet, soups, cakes and baked apples. Pomegranate juice is used as a glaze or syrup in meat preparation. For pomegranate glaze, all you have to do is simmer pomegranate juice and use this glaze for your meat before placing them in the oven.
- Kick start your day on a healthy note by preparing a smoothie. Mix half cup of pomegranate juice with some berries and 2 teaspoons of yoghurt. Blend it thoroughly to make a tasty beverage.
- Pomegranates make a great garnish, be it in raita, salads or sweets. The sweet and tangy taste of pomegranate makes it a perfect complement to vegetable salad and snacks. They glisten like little rubies and dress up any salad. Just sprinkle a few pomegranate arils in your favorite salad. You can also add a handful of pomegranate arils to your breakfast cereals for a healthy and nutritious breakfast.
- Pomegranate tea tastes great and offers an array of health benefits. Pomegranate tea is found in different forms like white pomegranate tea, Echinacea pomegranate tea and many more. The tea has a strong astringent and tangy taste, which can be slightly overwhelming in the first sip.
- Roasted pomegranate chicken is a favorite amongst Europeans. It infuses the chicken with sweet and tangy flavor and is very easy to prepare.
- Pomegranate is extensively used to prepare traditional Persian recipes like rice pilaf, fesenjan- made with pomegranate juice and ground walnuts and delicious pomegranate soup. Pomegranate concentrate is a popular item used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Pomegranate fruit parfait is the perfect dessert to complement any meal. It combines the tartness of pomegranate with the juice of papaya and orange. Sprinkle some nuts into the parfait for a healthy treat. You can also sprinkle pomegranate arils on frozen yoghurt, ice cream and sorbet.
- Grind some pomegranate seeds with roasted onion, red bell peppers, walnuts and olive oil. Season it with salt and pepper to make a tasty dip. You can serve this dip with crackers and nachos.
- Pomegranate granita, also known as Italian sorbet is a tasty and healthy dessert you can prepare. Skip the herbs and top the stir fried veggies with fresh pomegranates arils instead. They taste amazing with roasted carrots and srussels sprouts salad.
Pomegranate: Side Effects:
Pomegranate juice can cause adverse effects on several health conditions so consult your doctor before consuming pomegranate. Some of the possible side effects of pomegranate include:
- Low blood pressure is a potential side effect if you drink pomegranate juice in combination with medicines designed to reduce blood pressure.
- Pomegranate juice may also interfere with enzymes in the body that is required to metabolize common medications.
- Pomegranate can cause allergies in people with sensitive skin. People with plant allergies are at a greater risk of developing allergic reactions to pomegranate.
- People suffering from asthma should avoid drinking pomegranate juice.
- Other side effects include nausea, hives, vomiting, red eyes and difficulty in breathing. Excessive quantities of pomegranate fruit can also lead to problems in the gastrointestinal tract. These reactions do not stay for long and subside within a few hours.
- It may also cause facial swelling, pain while swallowing and swelling in the month.
- Diabetic patients are advised to go easy on pomegranate juice because of its high sugar content.
Pomegranate: Nutritional Value
Pomegranate is well known for its high concentration of antioxidants. Pomegranate is a rich source of Vitamin C. A medium pomegranate provides about 16% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. It is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B5 and Vitamin K. It contains minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium. The seeds are high in calories because they contain carbohydrates, sugar and unsaturated oils.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.17 g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g||11%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.135 mg||3%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||10.2 mg||17%|
|Vitamin E||0.60 mg||4%|
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg||14%|