By Juliann Kelly –
About the only thing the pomegranate fruit has more of than syllables is seeds. Oh, it’s also got plenty of promising health benefits.
Though it’s been cultivated for centuries in India, Asia, the Mediterranean and parts of Africa, the pomegranate didn’t become a fixation in the United States until about 15 to 20 years ago, thanks in part to some snappy marketing by POM Wonderful, which sold pomegranate juice in those distinctive hourglass bottles. In fact, California’s Hanford Sentinel cites POM Wonderful’s debut as the catalyst for the fruit’s popularity.
Two decades later, consumers are now inundated with everything pomegranate from supplements to juice, powders and extracts—not to mention the fruit itself.
Heck, in barbecue-crazy North Carolina the Winston-Salem Journal just touted the benefits of using pomegranate molasses on baby back ribs. Industry studies are also now linking the ongoing rise in demand for pomegranate seed oil to its repute medicinal benefits tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, what’s all the hype about this ruby-red superfood?
Unlike its meatier friends, pomegranate is chock full of seeds known as arils. These little guys alone boast more health gains than those detox teas college students hawk through multi-level marketing programs. Pomegranate and its seeds are loaded with antioxidants and a significant amount of Vitamin C. VeryWellFit, in fact, offered up a litany of pomegranate powers that include helping to prevent cancer to regulating blood sugar, reducing blood pressure and improving exercise performance. The fruits are vitamin rich which make them an ideal strength or recovery drink for high-performance athletes and even your average joes.
Oh yeah, there’s more. One study out of the International Journal of Impotence Research claims pomegranates may also help combat erectile dysfunction, although there is still debate on its efficacy.
Even with all this advance billing, its most promising prospect may be in the area of heart health. According to Medical News Today, pomegranates are thought to be one of the most promising juices and fruit for cardiovascular health. This superfood is reputed to be able to improve blood flow, prevent arteries from thickening, reduce plaque and lower cholesterol. Further, pomegranates might also assist in the reduction of systolic blood pressure. Anymore pomegranate positives and this seed-centric fruit could soon replace the iconic apple as the daily go-to health remedy.
Do all these perks come with a catch? Perhaps and it might be the logistics. Some say it’s nearly impossible to navigate eating the fruit. Nutritionists argue that perseverance is the key. They also suggest consuming the entire fruit and not just the juice. By limiting consumption to just juice, the benefits of ingesting the fiber and almost all protein are lost. At the same time, sugar intake is increased. Yes, those who drink pomegranate juice will still benefit from vitamin K and folate, but they receive almost no vitamin C, according to the USDA.
Like every great superhero, pomegranate does have its weaknesses. Luckily, these are few and far between. As with any other ingestible, allergic reactions though rare, are a possibility. Additionally, pomegranate may interact poorly with cholesterol and blood pressure medications such as statins, which makes it a good idea to a doctor before consuming pomegranate supplements or extracts if such medications are involved.
For most, this isn’t even an issue. So consider grabbing a pomegranate instead of an apple tomorrow morning.