Health Benefits of Pomegranate (+ Salad Recipe)

Health Benefits of Pomegranate (+ Salad Recipe)

Shop Heart Health  

Did you know that botanically speaking, pomegranates are categorized as a berry? Although in Latin, the name translates to "seeded apple," from a nutritional standpoint, these fascinating ruby-red spheres have more in common with blueberries and other boldly colored fruits: high amounts of antioxidants.

Pomegranates are one of the most interesting superfoods, with a large body of scientific research to support their health benefits. The pomegranate has been a symbolic part of ancient civilizations and is part of cultural traditions with many biblical ties. They are largely cultivated in Mediterranean countries. Appearance wise, it's certainly a unique looking fruit—almost unearthly!

While pomegranate is not the easiest fruit to prepare and eat, the juice is worth the squeeze. And it's not just the arils, fabulously nicknamed "jewels" (the juicy, fruit part of the pomegranate) that is beneficial to our health. Researchers have found that the edible seeds, and even non-edible peel and flower that grows from the plant, are also valuable.

Pomegranate nutrition facts

Healthy and nutritious pomegranate fruit sliced in half

Pomegranate is bursting with benefits. Pomegranate seed oil provides punicic acid, a beneficial omega-5 polyunsaturated fatty acid unique to pomegranate – how cool is that? Punicalagins and ellagic acid are two of the clinically studied polyphenol antioxidants found in pomegranates. Interestingly, urolithin A is a healthy aging metabolite generated from these antioxidants by the intestinal bacteria after consumption of fruits such as pomegranates and strawberries.

Here are some other important nutrients pomegranates contain:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Choline
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Fiber… and more!

Let's take a look at how modern day science has studied the health benefits of this ancient fruit.

Health benefits of pomegranate

Full of health pomagranate seed shaped like a heart
  1. Cardiovascular health— One of the primary benefits of pomegranate is its ability to support the heart and vascular system, including the health of the endothelium (a layer of cells that line the inner walls of the blood vessels and heart) and intima media (inner and middle layers of the arterial wall). Pomegranate has been shown to support already-healthy triglyceride, HDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  2. Metabolic health—In a randomized, double-blind clinical trial, pomegranate helped inhibit inflammatory factors Interleukin-6 and hs-CRP to support metabolic health. Pomegranate may also support already-healthy glucose levels and healthy insulin metabolism.
  3. Joint health—Pomegranate polyphenols inhibit oxidative stress and promote a healthy inflammatory response. They also help keep your joints healthy – and you mobile!
  4. Athletic performance—Similar to tart cherry, due to its ability to support blood flow and inhibit oxidative stress, pomegranate has been studied for its ability to promote exercise endurance, performance and recovery.
  5. Cellular health—While more human studies are needed in this area, in vitro studies have shown that pomegranate helps maintain healthy cell replication and division and can support healthy prostate and breast tissue.
  6. Brain health—In a randomized placebo-controlled study in middle-aged and older adults, pomegranate supported visual learning and memory.

Pomegranate supplements

Supplement pills made with extracts of the pomagrante fruit, flower, seed oil

Want a good reason to take pomegranate in supplement form? We have several! The peel and flower of the pomegranate are not edible, the seeds aren't exactly pleasant to eat, and the bottled juice is high in sugar. To be fair, some studies did find that pomegranate juice offered benefit to participants, despite the sugar content. On the other hand, other studies found that the supplement form offered benefit as well.

Life Extension's most well-known pomegranate supplement is called Pomegranate Complete. It contains extracts of the fruit, flower, seed oil and the equivalent polyphenol content of 12 oz of pomegranate juice. However, Life Extension scientists are so impressed by the power of pomegranate that we've included it in a variety of our formulas. Here are some of my top picks among the pomegranate-containing products that we offer:

  • Endothelial Defense™ Pomegranate Plus — Comprehensive support for healthy arterial blood flow, circulatory health and more.
  • Optimal BP Management — Supports already-healthy blood pressure levels by encouraging healthy blood flow and blood vessel dilation.
  • Life Extension Mix™ — It's way more than just a multivitamin, it's a multi-nutrient formula! This is a good one to consider if your diet is lacking. The mix contains vegetable, fruit and botanical extracts, as well as high-potency doses of healthy vitamins and minerals.
  • Blueberry Extract and Pomegranate – I love that two nutritional powerhouses have come together in this formula. Plus, it's made with wild blueberries, which provide more antioxidants than commercially grown varieties.

We use POMELLA® pomegranate extract in all of these pomegranate formulas, a patented ingredient that has been used first-hand in research studies. In a human clinical study, healthy antioxidant activity was found in blood samples of people who ingested POMELLA®.

Bonus suggestion: If you are looking to support the delicate under-eye skin, try Cosmesis Advanced Under Eye Serum with Stem Cells – it includes pomegranate and blueberry extracts, among other skin-supporting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.

Heart-Healthy Recipe: Pomegranate Salad

This recipe is rich with heart-healthy polyphenols and fats from olive oil and walnuts. For a burst of tartness, a touch of sweetness and texture we included arterial-health-promoting pomegranate seeds.

Spinach, Pomegranate & Walnut Salad

Spinach, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad

Ingredients:

  • One 5 oz container of baby spinach
  • ½ cup of pomegranate arils, removed from one pomegranate
  • ⅓ cup halved walnuts
  • ¼ cup cheese (optional)
  • Suggestion: crumbled feta or thick parmesan cheese shavings
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the dressing:

Directions:

  1. Cut pomegranate in half.
  2. Use a sturdy wooden spoon to knock out the pomegranate arils from the back of each half of the pomegranate into a bowl that is large enough to collect splashes of pomegranate juice being generated. (see video) Set aside into a separate small bowl.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar
  4. Add the spinach to the large bowl, then add the dressing, pomegranate seeds and any residual juice, and toss the ingredients together with salad tongs.
  5. Top with walnuts, cheese, season, serve, and enjoy!

Watch: de-seeding a pomegranate

Pomegranates are also great to sprinkle on top of other dishes for a pop of color, texture, and added nutrition. Try them with Brussels sprouts, hummus, or poultry dishes.

POMELLA® Extract is covered under U.S. Patent 7,638,640 and POMELLA® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences, Inc.

 

Holli Ryan is a registered dietitian and nutritionist

About the Author: Holli Ryan is a food and nutrition expert, Registered and Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist, health and wellness writer, blogger, and social media specialist based in South Florida. In her free time she enjoys photography, cooking, art, music, and nature.

 

References