The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub. The edible fruit is a berry, and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size (5–12 cm in diameter) with a rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin. Several characteristics between pomegranate genotypes vary for identification, consumer preference, preferred use, and marketing, the most important of which are fruit size, hardness of seed, maturity, juice content and its acidity, sweetness, and astringency. Pomegranates contain phytochemicals, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), and the fruit is also an excellent source of micronutrients and unsaturated oils. Pomegranates are considered to be a high-fiber fruit which can help maintain and improve the digestive system.
Advantages of Pomegranates
- High Phenolic content (antioxidants) – The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when acid binds with a carbohydrate. Pomegranate ellagitannins, also called punicalagins, are tannins with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments and with potential human effects. Punicalagins are absorbed into the human body and may have dietary value as antioxidants.
- Reduce risk of heart disease – In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme. The reduced systolic pressure helps the patient’s heart by reducing efforts in circulating the blood in the heart as well as throughout the body.
- Anti-bacterial properties – according to research, pomegranate juice consumption inhibit viral infections while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque. This is the reason why some new mouthwash and dental-care companies are beginning to look into the Pomegranate for probable use on their mouthwash and other dental products.
- Nutrient Value – According to the USDA Nutrient Database, Pomegranate aril (seed casings) juice provides about 16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and natural phenols, such as ellagitannins and flavonoids.
- High-fiber fruit – Pomegranate fruit has been found to contain high dietary fiber content which makes it very helpful not only for the digestive system, but also for the excretory system. As found in many researches, Pomegranate’s rich pulp helps clean the digestive system. It helps “sweep” away undigested material which literally improves our digestive cycle.
- Medicinal Use – The rind of the fruit and the bark of the pomegranate tree is used as a traditional remedy against diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites. The seeds and juice are considered a tonic for the heart and throat. Pomegranate juice (of specific fruit strains) is also used as eyedrops as it is believed to slow the development of cataracts. Pomegranate has been used as a contraceptive by means of consuming the seeds, or rind, as well as by using the rind as a vaginal suppository.
Disadvantages of Pomegranates
- Excessive Intake issues - Although there has been no direct ill-effects regarding the excessive consumption of Pomegranates, there are some issues regarding gastric sensitivity to the fruit. Some stomachs are especially sensitive to some materials – and this can cause stomach pain, discomfort and dyspepsia or indigestion. Even if Pomegranates are found to have many special and medicinal benefits, it does not exclude the fruit as prohibitions to some gastric sensitivity issues – as the case may be.
What makes Pomegranate a really good fruit compared to others
Pomegranates have long been known to many ancient people not only for its culinary purposes but also for its many medical benefits. The fruit’s high-fiber content is excellent for the digestive system, while the consumption of the fruit’s juice is found to have potent anti-bacterial effects. The fruit itself is considered an excellent source of Vitamin C (16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving). Pomegranates also contain high-levels of antioxidants which help improve the body’s excretory system. It also contains significant amounts of phytochemicals which help improve the immune system.