Pomegranate: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

Pomegranate is one of the fruits that were used by man from ancient period onwards. It is also considered as divine food as many religious texts have references of this fruit. In Holy Bible and Quran pomegranate is mentioned on different contexts. Historical evidences also show that the nutrient value of this fruit was known to people from a very ancient period and it was popularly cultivated during the biblical period onwards. It is believed that pomegranate originated in Iran. It is used widely in the Middle East region as an essential part of diet. It is also currently cultivated in Mediterranean regions, tropical African regions, India and in central Asia.

It is scientifically termed as Punica granatum and classified as a fruit bearing deciduous shrub. It grows to the height of 5- 8 meters. It has many facets as it is used as an ornamental plant and as fruit crop plant. The word pomegranate derived from the Latin words “Pomum” means apple and “granatum” means seeded. From ancient period onwards it was used as an exotic fruit and was used mostly by the royal and affluent families in the society. It is also mentioned in several literary and artistic works. In many literatures it is referred to beauty and quality. It was used as one of the prominent beauty enhancers by the affluent ladies in ancient period. It was considered as the exotic gift that symbolizes love and friendship.

The fruit has rich red clusters of sweet juicy sacs with seeds and the clusters are separated by thin membrane that has slight sour taste. The fruit is consumed in different forms other than the direct consumptions. Juices, syrups, preserves, jams, jellies, flavored confectionaries, cocktails, deserts and wines are some of the products made out from this fruit. Canned sweet pomegranates are used in many sweet dishes in the Middle East region. Apart from the culinary uses it contains wide variety of nutrients that are beneficial for the health. According to USDA nutrient base an average fruit contain an energy value of 83 calories.

It is rich in carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, protein and small amount of fat. The vitamins include thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin b2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate or vitamin B9, choline, vitamin C, E and K. It has high calcium content, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Pomegranate is the rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C and Vitamin A. Several studies have proved that this compound prevents free radicals and there by stop the cell damages that are the cause for many cancers including breast, lung and prostrate cancers. It also lowers the cholesterol levels and increases the HDL that promotes good heart health and prevents cardio vascular diseseas. The pomegranate juice increases the blood flow in the heart and removes the toxins or plaque in the arteries and prevents further building of plaque.  The vitamin C prevents infection and boosts the immunity. It also increases the bone density and prevents osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and there by promote overall bone health. The regular intake of juice reduces the blood pressure to 5%. It promotes dental health and prevents dental plaque formation. The dietary fiber promotes proper digestion and gives strength to the intestinal walls and prevents constipation and diarrhea. The anti oxidants and the rich minerals and vitamins promote cell repair and tissue building. The essential nutrients promote healthy nervous system and brain health. It also prevents the Alzheimer’s disease by providing proper brain health and improves the memory power. The vitamin A content promotes proper eye health by enhancing vision.

It has several skin care properties and used in many popular skin care and cosmetics products. The vitamin C produces the collagen that maintains the skin elasticity and there by prevent skin sagging. The antioxidants protect it from sun damage. The pomegranate seed oil is also used for skin protection. The blood circulation improves the hair growth. The regular use of this fruit enhances health and prevents many grave diseseas.