Pomegranate juice is becoming a very popular fruit juice because of its many health benefits. It is extracted from the fruit pulp of pomegranate plant (Punica granatum) which is also called Granada or Chinese apple. Pomegranate plant has been widely cultivated in the Iranian Plateau since ancient times. It was introduced to other parts of the world by settlers. (Ref.) Today, pomegranate is cultivated in various countries for its delicious and nutritious pulp.
Nutritional Value of Pomegranate Juice
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, pomegranate juice contains carbohydrates (sugars), dietary fibers, fats, proteins, thiamine (Vit. B1), riboflavin (Vit. B2), niacin (Vit. B3), pantothenic acid (Vit. B5), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. A 100 gram of pomegranate can give 285 kJ of energy.
Pomegranate juice is one of nature’s best sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals – unstable and highly reactive atom or group of atoms that can damage cells and speeds up the progression of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and age-related diseases (Ref). Antioxidants in pomegranate juice are in the form of polyphenols which include ellagitannins, punicalagins, catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins. The amount of antioxidants in pomegranate juice is claimed to be three times higher than red wine or green tea (Ref.).
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
There are published researches suggesting that pomegranate juice may be effective in fighting different types of cancer such as breast, skin, and prostate cancers. Pomegranate juice helps slow down the progression of cancer. It contains powerful antioxidants that neutralize cancer-causing free radicals. (Ref)
Drinking pomegranate juice help prevent heart attacks and strokes caused by atherosclerosis or the deposit of cholesterol in the inner linings of the arteries. The antioxidants found in pomegranate juice inhibits the formation of cholesterol plaques in the arteries. Without cholesterol plaques, blood circulation will surely improve. (Ref)
Pomegranate juice also contains compounds that act as blood thinners which enhance blood flow to all parts of the body.
Another health benefit of pomegranate juice is preventing the onset of osteoarthritis; although, more researches are needed to prove this. A group of scientists have found that pomegranate extract inhibits the production of a particular enzyme responsible in causing human cartilage damage in osteoarthritis. (Ref)
A group of Israeli researchers published an article in Clinical Nutrition (June 2004 issue) suggesting that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice a day for one year reduces systolic blood pressure and slows down the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). (Ref)
The ascorbic acid or Vitamin C found in pomegranate juice acts as anti-inflammatory agent which reduces inflammation or swelling. (Ref.)
Drinking pomegranate juice might prevent and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease according to studies.
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