The pomegranate is a small fruit-bearing tree. The fruit is typically in season from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere, from March to May in the Southern Hemisphere. The pomegranate is native to Iran and northern India but is now widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East and Caucasus region, North Africa, tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Pomegranates can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.
Here are the 7 health benefits of pomegranates.
1. Pomegranates are useful for blood pressure maintenance.
Pomegranates are high in potassium and low in sodium, which lowers blood pressure. One cup of pomegranates contains 666 milligrams of potassium compared to 8.5 milligrams of sodium.
A study, published in Phytotherapy Research, suggested that people with high blood pressure who drank 150 ml (5 oz) fresh pomegranate juice daily for two weeks had a significant reduction in their blood pressure. Two other studies found that pomegranate juice had short-term effects on systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure on individuals with hypertension.
2. Pomegranates can help improve joint pain and reduce the risk of arthritis.
Arthritis is a common inflammation of one or more joints in Western countries that cause stiffness and pain. Pomegranates have compounds like flavonols that can act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. Laboratory studies like one published in The Journal of Nutrition have shown that pomegranate extract can block enzymes that are known the damage the joints in people with osteoarthritis.
3. Pomegranates may help keep homocysteine levels down.
Homocysteine is a byproduct in the blood when the amino acid methionine is broken down in the body. Elevated homocysteine levels can be the root of many serious body problems like the damage of blood vessels, clotting of blood in the veins, and atherosclerosis, which can all further lead to heart problems. The pomegranate is abundant in the B-vitamin complex. B-vitamins like folate and vitamin B6 are essential for converting homocysteine into the safer and more usable amino acid cysteine.
4. Pomegranates can help prevent congenital disabilities.
Pomegranates are rich in the B-vitamin complex, particularly in folic acid. Folic acid is essential for promoting rapid cell division and growth during infancy and pregnancy. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can lead to the birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects in newborns.
5. Pomegranates could help treat people with erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is a condition when a man cannot achieve or maintain an erection during sexual performance. Men with this condition usually treat themselves via prescription medications, vacuum pumps, implants, and surgery. Those who seek more natural options could try pomegranate juice. An animal study published in The Journal of Urology suggested that the antioxidants in pomegranate juice may be useful. More independent research is being conducted to know if the same effects occur in humans.
6. Pomegranates can help enhance digestion.
Pomegranates contain a significant amount of dietary fiber, which prevents constipation and reduces excessive gas, making one’s bowel movement easier to manage. One cup of pomegranates contains 11 grams of dietary fiber. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively.
7. Pomegranates can help one sleep better at night.
Pomegranates have been known to help an individual sleep with its high content of magnesium, which is a mineral that is directly linked to improving the quality, duration, and tranquility of sleep. Pomegranates also help regulate the metabolism, to help reduce sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia.
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