6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Ashley Festa on June 3, 2021
  • Pomegranate Half on Plate
    The Nutritional Power of Pomegranates
    Pomegranates may be tricky to break into, but it’s definitely worth the effort, especially if heart disease runs in your family. Pomegranate health benefits stem from its rich supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs every day to keep your cardiovascular system running smoothly and prevent diseases like cancer. Half a pomegranate counts as one serving of fruit, so enjoy this bright, tart and healthy food with gusto.
  • Hands of a woman preparing pomegranate seeds in kitchen sink
    1. Pomegranate antioxidants may protect you from cancer.
    While there’s no sure-fire way to prevent cancer, eating foods with antioxidants is an easy measure you can take to keep yourself healthy. The bioactive polyphenols and other phytochemicals in pomegranates are antioxidants that help protect your cells from oxidative stress, fighting free radicals that can contribute to cancer. In fact, pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than green tea or red wine, so if you aren’t a fan of those, try trading in your tea or wine for a glass of pomegranate juice.

    Keep in mind that the juice often contains added sugar, so be sure to check the label, or opt for the whole fruit.
  • Pomegranate juice
    2. Pomegranate juice is linked to the faster death of prostate cancer cells.
    Some studies have shown that pomegranate juice, as part of an overall healthy diet, was beneficial to men who had already had treatment for prostate cancer. The studies showed that the health benefits of pomegranate juice included suppressing the spread of cancer and accelerating the death of prostate cancer cells. Other studies focusing on breast, colon and lung cancer also showed that pomegranates and their juice may inhibit cancer cell growth. More human studies are needed, as most of the research has been conducted in labs and on animals.
  • Hands of woman cutting pomegranate
    3. Pomegranates may help reduce inflammation.
    Another perk of pomegranates—the antioxidants also help fight inflammation. These fruits can reduce inflammation in the heart that can lead to disease. People battling arthritis may also experience some relief thanks to pomegranates’ anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates may also protect against neuroinflammation and may help slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders and memory impairment. In other words, pomegranates may help protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Overhead shot of citrus foots including grapefruit, orange and pomegranate
    4. Pomegranates benefit heart and vascular health.
    Pomegranates have been shown to control “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and improve “good” cholesterol (HDL), leading to less plaque that builds up in the arteries and restricts blood flow. Pomegranates may even help reduce plaque that’s already clogging your blood vessels.
  • Preparing Avocado Sandwich with Brown Bread and Pomegranate
    5. Pomegranates may help you feel younger longer.
    The ellagitannins in pomegranates are transformed by bacteria in the gut into a compound called urolithin A. It may help slow the aging process of skeletal muscles, which begin to weaken and lose mass with increasing age. A study showed that urolithin A helped boost the functioning of mitochondria, which generate most of the chemical energy in human cells. The results of the study concluded that urolithin A worked similarly to physical exercise in sedentary older people, even helping to reverse this natural aging process.
  • Close-Up Of Citrus Fruits including oranges, kiwi and pomegranate seeds
    6. Pomegranates are great sources of fiber and many vitamins and minerals.
    Pomegranate nutrition is exceptional on many levels. There are 5 grams of fiber in just one serving of pomegranate (half of the fruit, when you eat the inner part of the seed), accounting for about 18% of your daily fiber needs. Pomegranates are also a great source of folate and other B-vitamins as well as vitamins C, E, and K. (Unfortunately, the process of pasteurizing pomegranate juice destroys the vitamin C content.) They also contain the minerals potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. These fruits even have a bit of protein and iron. However, remember that pomegranates, like many fruits, contain a lot of sugar, so enjoy them in moderation.
  • Close up of pomegranate seeds
    Be aware that pomegranate juice may interact with some medications.
    If you want to add pomegranate juice to your regular diet, first talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with prescription medications you’re currently taking. In particular, be careful about adding pomegranates to your diet if you’re taking the blood thinner warfarin or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pomegranates
  1. Kandylis P, Kokkinomagoulos E. Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives. Foods. 2020 Jan 23;9(2):122. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074153/
  2. What Are the Health Benefits of Pomegranates? Utah State University. https://extension.usu.edu/archive/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-pomegranates
  3. Pomegranate Health Benefits. University of Florida. https://crec.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/pomegranates/health.shtml
  4. Pomegranate juice: Can it lower cholesterol? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/pomegranate-juice/faq-20058560
  5. Why Pomegranates Are Such a Healthy Fruit. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/pomegranates-power-help-keep-healthy-video/
  6. Andreux PA, Blanco-Bose W, Ryu D, et al. The mitophagy activator urolithin A is safe and induces a molecular signature of improved mitochondrial and cellular health in humans. Nat Metab. 2019 Jun;1(6):595-603. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32694802/
  7. Compound with anti-aging effects passes human trial. EPFL. https://actu.epfl.ch/news/compound-with-anti-aging-effects-passes-human-tria/
  8. Mitochondria. National Human Genome Research Institute. https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria
  9. Pomegranate, raw. Nutritionvalue.org. https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Pomegranate%2C_raw_nutritional_value.html?size=1+fruit+%3D+250+g
  10. DaSilva NA, Nahar PP, Ma H, et al. Pomegranate ellagitannin-gut microbial-derived metabolites, urolithins, inhibit neuroinflammation in vitro. Nutr Neurosci. 2019 Mar;22(3):185-195. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28784051/
  11. Koyama S, Cobb LJ, Mehta HH, et al. Pomegranate extract induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells by modulation of the IGF-IGFBP axis. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2010 Feb;20(1):55-62. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815223/
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Last Review Date: 2021 May 16
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