The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Lythraceae that grows between 5 and 10 m (16 and 33 ft) tall.
The pomegranate originated in the region extending from modern-day Iran to northern India, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region. It was introduced into Spanish America in the late 16th century and into California by Spanish settlersin 1769
The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. Possibly stemming from the old French word for the fruit, pomme-grenade, the pomegranate was known in early English as “apple of Grenada”—a term which today survives only in heraldic blazons. This is a folk etymology, confusing the Latin granatus with the name of the Spanish city of Granada, which derives from Arabic
WHY POMEGRANATE IS CALLED SUPER FOOD?
Pomegranates seem like an intimidating fruit. But breaking through that tough skin to get to the juicy, ruby-red seeds (known as arils, a name that includes the seed and the juice around it) is worth the effort because many health benefits lie within.
Those tart arils can help keep your body healthy and disease free. Plus, they may be just what you need to add a punch of flavor to everything from your salad to your seltzer.
The pomegranate fruit is best known for the jewel-like arils stored inside its leathery red rind. In ancient times, pomegranates represented fertility, and the fruit has been depicted many times in art throughout history.
Nearly every part of the pomegranate has been researched for potential health benefits, and thanks to promising results, it’s blown up in popularity. These days, you’ll easily find pomegranate in the form of supplements, juice, powders, extracts, and, of course, the fruit itself.
Part of the pomegranate’s reputation as a trendy superfood can be traced to POM Wonderful’s arrival on the market in the early 2000s.Before then, many people only thought to use pomegranates in holiday salads, but the creators of POM Wonderful popularized pomegranate juice by funding many studies that touted the fruit’s potential health benefits. Nowadays, it’s easy to find pomegranate juice in conventional grocery stores, not just health-specific ones.
The pomegranate arils have plenty of other nutrients, too.
- 72 calories
- 27 g carbohydrates
- 89 g sugar
- 5 g fiber
- 205 milligrams
- 9 mg vitamin C
- 3 micrograms
- 33 µg folate
- Helps protect against heart diseaseThere’s some evidence that pomegranates may help lower cholesterol, which in turn can lower the risk of heart disease.
- Anti-inflammatory propertiesThe fruit’s vitamin C content has anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect against many common diseases, such as certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- Lower high blood pressureThe antioxidants found in pomegranates may help lower high blood pressure, which can keep the arteries, heart, and brain functioning well.
- Help with erectile dysfunctionOne study found drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice each day helped nearly half the study participants see an improvement in their erections.
- Protection against certain types of cancer, including prostate cancerSome small studies suggest drinking pomegranate juice can help slow the spread of prostate cancer cells.
Alzheimer’s disease protection
The antioxidants in the juice and their high concentration are believed to stall the progress of Alzheimer disease and protect memory.
Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Flavonols in pomegranate juice may help block the inflammation that contributes to osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. The juice is currently being studied for its potential effects on osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis and joint inflammation.
Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?
Yes, the pomegranate seeds are absolutely edible. In fact, the seeds and the juices surrounding the seeds (together called arils) are the parts of the fruit that you’re supposed to eat.
The arils are commonly found in salads. You can also add them on top of yogurt or to water for a little extra flavor.
Being rich in antioxidants, pomegranates neutralizes the effect of free radicals in our body. The anti-ageing plant compounds in the fruit also help in stimulating keratinocyte cells (skin cells) and help in cellular regeneration thereby keeping wrinkles and sagging skin at bay. For wrinkle-free, younger looking skin try including pomegranate in your diet or use it in face packs.
Pomegranate for skin is a rich source of vitamin C, which research has proven is effective in treating dull and dry skin. When applied topically on a regular basis, it can reduce skin roughness. Also, around 82 percent of pomegranate’s volume weight is water and thereby it’s effective in keeping you hydrated.
When bacteria found in environmental pollutants infects the oil glands of the skin, a pimple is formed. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells called neutrophils to the infected site to kill the bacteria. But the whole process causes inflammation and as a result we notice angry and swollen zits on the skin. Pomegranate is known for its anti-inflammatory properties so when applied to the zits, it cures inflammation.
Exposure to sun not only causes tanning and sun burn but can also lead to oxidative stress that causes age spots and wrinkles. The polyphenols in pomegranate are powerful antioxidants that help protect skin cells from oxidative damage.
Pomegranates may lengthen the life of fibroblasts, the proteins that are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin, two tightening agents in the skin. You can prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin by drinking pomegranate juice daily.
Pomegranate contains anthocyanins and hydrolysable tannins, both of which possess strong antioxidant and anti-tumor promoting properties, so when pomegranate juice is ingested and applied directly to the skin, it may inhibit the growth of skin cancer.