Food spotlight: Pomegranate Juice
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pomegranate juice is in fact healthy. Despite pomegranates not having loads of nutrients compared to other fruits, pomegranate juice has antioxidants (and lots of them) and a good amount of health benefits.
Whole fruit Version vs. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranates take a good amount of time in order to get to the edible red “bulbs” on the inside. And considering the fast-paced, busy lifestyle these days It is completely understandable why most wouldn’t bother with the whole fruit version. But does that mean that pomegranate juice is not as beneficial as the fruit version? Absolutely not!
Pomegranate has gotten its reputation as a superfood based almost entirely from the health benefits of pomegranate juice and from some of the pomegranate extract products. 70+ years of research has gone into discovering the pomegranate juice benefits. A good majority of this research has been done in the last 10 years as a result of pomegranate’s increase in popularity. In short, there’s a lot of research supporting the health benefits of pomegranate juice. One study which stuck out to me was done at UCLA that showed pomegranate juice having the highest antioxidant capacity when compared to red wine, tea and other commercial juices.
Research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology also confirmed that pomegranates contain a higher amount of flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) than those found in grapes.
What To Expect…
Let’s go over the nutritional profile before we go into the health benefits of pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate juice is a good source of
- Vitamin C,
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5),
- Vitamin K.
But pomegranate juice’s real claim to fame are the antioxidants it has! Both the whole fruit and juice version are loaded with antioxidant polyphenols similar to those found in wine and tea. They also have some other interesting antioxidants… punicalagins & anthocyanins to be exact. Anthocyanins are found in blueberries & acai. Studies have shown it may be effective against cardiovascular disease, aging/neurological disorders, bacterial infections & inflammation.
Punicalagins so far have only been found in pomegranate and has been under the scientific community’s spotlight for its anti-disease and anti-cancer benefits.
Some of the health benefits of pomegranate juice include:
Promotes Heart Health
There are both numerous studies and benefits pomegranate has for your heart and they all seem to tie together.
It includes: Lowering & stopping the oxidation, or breakdown, of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) which will reduce plaque from building up in your arteries, leading to a decrease in blood pressure & increased blood flow to the heart and therefore lowering the chance of having a heart attack!
Great for Men’s Health
There are 2 parts… protects against prostate cancer & fights off erectile dysfunction. Some of the cancer-fighting properties in pomegranate help to delay the development of prostate cancer by “blocking” the production of PSA (the marker used to detect prostate cancer).
This combined with the juice’s antioxidants & its ability to improve blood flow may help in the fight against erectile dysfunction. It’s been dubbed as a “Natural Viagra” and has some interesting history to it.
May help to slow down the aging process and beneficial in maintaining the elasticity/health of your skin
Other health benefits of pomegranate juice include its anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial/antiviral benefits, and the ability to control diabetes.
Pomegranate is definitely a great addition to your diet. If time permits and if you feel like trying something different then go for the whole fruit version. If that’s the case then you’re going to have to know how to eat pomegranate. But the juice version of pomegranate is just as beneficial. The big issue is that most pomegranate juice is flash pasteurized and it’s usually found in a clear container. Both these factors result in some of the nutrients getting lost along the way. So who knows how much of the pomegranate juice health benefits you’re getting by the time you drink it.
But the amount benefits you’ll be getting definitely outweighs the drawbacks so for the most part you’re good to go in adding pomegranate juice to your diet. Pomegranate juice is available in many supermarkets so be sure to read the label to make sure you’re getting a quality product. Make sure it’s 100% pure juice, or 100% pure juice from concentrate at the very least. Also make sure that no sugars are added.
Another thing to look for is there should be a little bit of this thick, cloudy stuff at the bottom of the container. This is a good thing so just shake it up and you’ll be good to go.