The Power of Pomegranates

When was the last time you had a pomegranate? Can’t remember? Never have had one? Have one occasionally but aren’t consider them too much trouble to enjoy them more often? What’s a pomegranate?

These responses represent the typical ones voiced whenever someone is asked when they last enjoyed one of these less common fruits. We want to share some tasty information about pomegranates that we think will persuade you to give them a try if you are new to them or increase your appreciation.

What are pomegranates?

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are small to medium round, red fruits that are native to North-East Turkey to Afghanistan. They have a hard shell-like exterior that houses white flesh that is rich with juicy seeds called arils. The arils are the edible part of the fruit. Botanically, pomegranates are berries because they come from a single flower with one ovary and seeds. 

In ancient times, pomegranates were used to treat a number of health problems, ranging from digestive disorders to intestinal parasites, skin problems, and others. The fruit was also prominent in mythology and was called the “fruit of the dead” because it was said to have emerged from the blood of the Greek god Adonis. Pomegranates also symbolized fertility in ancient Rome and Greece and were associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Today scientists have recognized a number of health benefits associated with eating the seeds or drinking pomegranate juice.

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Perhaps the most common complaint about pomegranates is the work involved in extracting the seeds. Once you break through the hard outer shell, the many seeds must be removed from the flesh, which can take some time. However, the nutritional and healing benefits make an effort worthwhile. See the video at the beginning of this article to learn how to prepare a pomegranate.

Health benefits of pomegranates

Now that you know how to extract the seeds with little effort, what’s so great about these tasty, crunchy morsels besides being a super snack (more ideas later)? Here are a few ways pomegranate seeds and/or juice can provide some health advantages.

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Reduce blood pressure. Research involving pomegranate juice has shown that drinking pomegranate juice can lower blood pressure and support cardiovascular health. More specifically, pomegranate juice may inhibit serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity (the same thing prescription drugs do), which in turn lowers blood pressure. 

The results of a 2017 review and meta-analysis revealed that individuals who consumed pomegranate juice every day had a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Less than 8 ounces daily resulted in better systolic pressure results than higher amounts, while more than 8 ounces resulted in a borderline significant effect in diastolic pressure. The reviewers noted that “it may be prudent to include his fruit juice in a heart-healthy diet.”

Source of phytoestrogens. Pomegranates are rich in phytoestrogens, which may help prevent and manage perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. In an article from McGill University in Montreal, Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., explained that research has shown that some polyphenols in pomegranates can block the activity of aromatase, an enzyme involved in synthesizing estrogen. That is, experts found that pomegranate seed extracts reduced the activity of 17-beta-estradiol (involved in the development of breast cancer) by about 50 percent.

Antibacterial. Pomegranates contain compounds that may help eliminate certain microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. These compounds may help with the microorganisms that cause bad breath and tooth decay, for example, according to research. 

Help bone and joint health. Bone and joint health are important for everyone, and especially older women in menopause and postmenopause. Research in postmenopausal rat models has shown that pomegranate oil extract has positive therapeutic effects on bone health. 

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Support heart health. Laboratory studies have shown that pomegranate extract may help heart health by fighting inflammation and the accumulation of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). In a human study, individuals who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice every day for five days showed evidence that their hearts were being protected in their blood tests. They also experienced a significant reduction in severity and frequency of chest pain.

pomegranate health benefits

Reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with many serious diseases and health problems. Pomegranates contain compounds called punicalagin, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in laboratory and animal studies. Drinking pomegranate juice also can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes.

Support urinary health. For kidney stone protection, pomegranate extract may help. In a study of adults who experienced recurring kidney stone development, the use of 1,000 mg pomegranate extract for 90 days appeared to inhibit the formation of the stones. 

Promotes brain health. Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has suggested ellagitannins may help protect against development of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease by reducing oxidative damage.

Enjoying pomegranates

Pomegranates seeds can be enjoyed in smoothies, as a topping on salads, yogurt, puddings, and cereals, in fruit or vegetable salads, as a garnish on grilled meat or fish, added to punch, wine, cocktails, or mocktails, stirred into a dip, or alone as a snack. You can freeze the seeds and keep them for up to one year. Simply spread the seeds on a baking sheet, place them in the freezer for two hours, then place the seeds in individual freezer bags.

Bottom line

Pomegranates may present a minor challenge when attempting to rescue the tasty seeds inside the hard peel, but once inside, you will enjoy a nutritious, delicious, and healing treat. Pomegranate extract is also available in supplement form. 

Abdollahzadeh Sh et al. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of punica granatum peel extracts against oral pathogens. Journal of Dentistry (Tehran). 2011; 8(1):1-6.
Brewer G. 5 things you didn’t know about pomegranates. Kew Gardens 2019 Dec 18
Kujawska M et al. Neuroprotective effects of pomegranate juice against Parkinson's disease and presence of ellagitannins-derived metabolite-urolithin A-in the brain. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019 Dec 27; 21(1):202. 
Panoff L. Pomegranates: 10 health and nutritional benefits. Healthline 2022 Feb 23
Razani Z et al. Cardioprotective effects of pomegranate (Punica granatum) juice in patients with ischemic heart disease. Phytotherapy Research 2017 Nov; 31(11):1731-38.
Rosas-Burgos EC et al. Antimicrobial activity of pomegranate peel extracts as affected by cultivar. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2017 Feb; 97(3):802-10.
Sahebkar A et al. Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacological Research 2017 Jan; 115:149-61.
Schwarcz J. Pomegranate frenzy. McGill University 2017 Mar 20
Shaban NZ et al. Therapeutic role of Punica granatum (pomegranate) seed oil extract on bone turnover and resorption induced in ovariectomized rats. Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Aging 2017; 21(10):1299-1306
Sohrab G et al. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 2014 Mar; 19(3):215-20.
Sreekumar S et al. Pomegranate fruit as a rich source of biologically active compounds. BioMedical Research International 2014: 686921. 
Stowe CB. The effects of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2011 May; 17(2):113-15
Tracy CR et al. Oxidative stress and nephrolithiasis: a comparative pilot study evaluating the effect of pomegranate extract on stone risk factors and elevated oxidative stress levels of recurrent stone formers and controls. Urolithiasis 2014 Oct; 42(5):401-8.
Xu J et al. Punicalagin regulates signaling pathways in inflammation-associated chronic diseases. Antioxidants (Basel) 2021 Dec 24; 11(1):29.
Yuan T et al. Pomegranate's neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer's disease are mediated by urolithins, its ellagitannin-gut microbial derived metabolites. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2016 Jan 20; 7(1):26-33.
Zhao CN et al. Fruits for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Nutrients 2017 Jun 13; 9(6):598
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Lisa Roth Collins, RHN
Lisa Roth Collins is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and is the Marketing Manager at She is passionate about health and wellness and tries her best to make healthier choices every day for herself and her family. Her journey to natural health was driven by her own struggles with digestive discomfort, depression, and anxiety. Lisa returned to school in 2014 to study nutrition at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She threw herself into her studies so she could learn as much as she could to help herself feel better and thrive. Upon completing the program and being certified as an RHN, Lisa began her work at Naturally Savvy where she has been able to help so many people learn to make healthier choices for themselves. Through her work, she has connected with so many incredible people in the industry whether other authors, influencers, or brands. Plus, she is affectionately known as "Techie Spice" because of her ability to wrap her head around technology. Every day she gets up with a renewed sense of energy and ready to make a difference. You can read all of Lisa's content here. In her spare time, Lisa loves to try new recipes, make delicious and nourishing meals, and she is an avid reader. For more information about Lisa, check out her profile on here.