15 Reasons Why Pomegranate is Good for Overall Health and Weight Loss
Weight loss is the most discussed topic on the internet today. There is a demand for natural sources which can fight obesity and overweight without the dangers of side effects. In today’s article, we shall discuss the benefits of pomegranate for weight loss, which is fast gaining popularity in the health industry.
Pomegranate or Anar is the fruit of a shrub called Punica Granatum, which is commonly grown in many household gardens. The outer cover is bitter and inedible and the inner part contains a number of sweet, juicy seeds which are edible. These seeds are packed with an impressive nutritional profile which can help you lose weight.
Is Pomegranate Good for Weight Loss? How?
Pomegranates are packed with many important nutrients like dietary fiber, antioxidants, key vitamins and minerals, which play a critical role in losing weight. Making this fruit a part of daily diet can improve metabolism and speed your digestion to contribute to weight loss. So, it can be inferred that pomegranates can be beneficial in meeting your goals. How?
1. Stimulates fat reduction and prevents insulin resistance
Pomegranate is a rich source of punicic acid.
A study conducted Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands demonstrated that obese and insulin resistant mice after feeding with pomegranate seed oil for 12 weeks showed lower body weight, a significant decrease in body fat and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity (1).
A research study was conducted at The Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, China to investigate the anti-obesity effects of pomegranate leaf extract (PLE) (2).
Obese mice were treated with this extract for 5 weeks. It was observed that obesity and hyperlipidaemia were inhibited by the PLE.
Scientists concluded that PLE can be a novel appetite suppressant too.
Another study conducted to investigate the benefits of pomegranate seed oil (PSO) on hyperlipidaemic subjects showed that PSO has favorable effects on the lipid profiles (3).
Insulin resistance is associated with weight gain and obesity.
Pomegranate is a good source of anthocyanins. A scientific study demonstrated that anthocyanins reduce dyslipidaemia, enhances antioxidant capacity and prevents insulin resistance in diabetic patients.
A review conducted in the King Saud University, Saudi Arabia mentions pomegranate as a preventive agent against obesity (4).
This is mainly because of the tannin, anthocyanin, antioxidants and flavonoid content in them.
2. Enhances satiety, appetite control and prevents overeating
Dietary fiber has a great physiological effect on satiation because of its properties of bulk addition and viscosity impartment.
These fibers prolong the intestinal phase of digestion and absorption.
This provides a good time for macronutrients to trigger the signals of satiation and thus prevent overeating. This property of dietary fiber is highly beneficial in weight management.
Pomegranate is a great source of dietary fiber. They consist of around 11.3g per fruit providing 45% of the daily need for dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber withdraws water and holds on to it. This results in expanding dietary fiber in the stomach enhancing satiety.
As a result, food is absorbed slowly preventing the intake of unnecessary calories.
3. A low-calorie food
It is essential to have a diet regime low on calories to achieve better control over weight.
Pomegranate contains 83 calories in 100 g of serving. It is absolutely free of cholesterol and saturated fats. Compare this with 100 gms of pizza which has close to 260 calories or a Big Mac which has 250+ calories.
Researchers have proved that pomegranate positively helps in breaking down cholesterol (5). This helps in losing weight since high cholesterol content in the body can lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque.
Fruits like pomegranate are low energy density food.
Energy density is the number of calories in a specific amount of food. Low energy density foods help to satisfy hunger at a low total intake of calories.
These foods work wonders in weight management as the net amount of calorie intake remains low even if the total bulk of food consumed is high.
Thus these foods can be consumed frequently without worrying about the total calorie intake.
4. Prevents oxidative stress prevalent in obesity
Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species and body’s ability to counteract the harmful effects through their neutralization.
Reports show that oxidative stress can lead to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease; myocardial infarction, ADHD, cancer and heart failure (6).
It is observed that a high-fat diet which is prevalent in obese people is responsible for building up oxidative stresses.
Lipid peroxidation involves oxidative degradation of lipids leading to the generation of free radicals that damage cells.
A study conducted in the Hamdard University, New Delhi, India showed that oral administration of pomegranates for 21 days resulted in significant reduction in fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and tissue lipid peroxidation levels (7).
Thus pomegranate extract can be used in the treatment of hyper lipid peroxidation levels.
A study conducted in the Oklahoma State University, USA concluded that pomegranate polyphenols help to lower lipid peroxidation in the type 2 diabetes people (8).
5. Consists of nutrients that reduce weight
Pomegranate is full of many essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B12, and folate. One pomegranate fruit consists of about 5g protein and 11g fiber.
It is a well-known fact that proteins and fibers are very beneficial in weight loss as they help in increasing satiety and prevent food intake.
Though the protein content of pomegranate is not very high, it is quite higher compared to other fruits.
It is imperative to consume whole pomegranate seeds instead of only the juice to obtain more benefits and adequate fiber from this fruit.
6. Lowers body fat
Punicic acid is an important constituent of pomegranate seed oil. Studies have shown that punicic acid helps in reducing body fats.
In animal models, punicic acid has proved to reduce fat levels and the content of adipose tissues in the body, which store fat (9).
In other such studies, pomegranate molasses and juice helps in weight loss due to their antioxidant behavior (10).
In studies, xanthigen, made from marine algae and pomegranate seed oil was shown to enhance weight loss by reducing body fats and shown as a potential supplement for managing obesity (11).
Other Health Benefits of Pomegranate
1. Rich in Vitamin C
The juice of a single pomegranate has more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be broken down when pasteurized, so opt for homemade or fresh pomegranate juice to get the most of the nutrient.
2. Prevents Cancer
Pomegranate juice recently made a splash when researchers found that it may help stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. Despite multiple studies on the effects of the juice on prostate cancer, results are still preliminary.
While there haven’t been long-term studies with humans that prove that pomegranate juice prevents cancer or reduces the risk, adding it to your diet certainly can’t hurt. There have been encouraging results in studies so far, and bigger studies are now being done.
3. Promotes Good Digestion
Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
While there are conflicting beliefs and research on whether pomegranate juice helps or worsens diarrhea, most doctors recommend avoiding it until you are feeling better and your symptoms have subsided.
Pomegranate juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory because of its high concentration of antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress and damage.
5. Good for the Heart
Pomegranate juice is in the running as the most heart-healthy juice. It appears to protect the heart and arteries.
Small studies have shown that the juice improves blood flow and keeps the arteries from becoming stiff and thick (12). It may also slow the growth of plaque and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. But pomegranate may react negatively with blood pressure and cholesterol medications like statins.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before indulging in the juice or taking a pomegranate extract supplement.
6. Controls Blood Pressure
Drinking pomegranate juice daily may also help lower systolic blood pressure. A comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials stated that it would be beneficial for heart health to include pomegranate juice daily (13).
Between the vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, pomegranate juice can prevent illness and fight off infection. Pomegranates have also been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests. They are being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses.
8. Boosts Memory
Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily may improve learning and memory (14).
9. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Pomegranate was traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India. While much is still unknown about the effects of pomegranate on diabetes, it may help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
Pomegranate is mostly safe and does not lead to any side effect when taken as a fruit or juice. However, pomegranate extracts may lead to sensitivity in some cases. The symptoms of sensitivity include itching, swelling, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. There are some conditions when people need to be careful before taking pomegranate in any form.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Pomegranate juice is safe for consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but there is not enough reliable information about the safety of using pomegranate extract. It is better to stick with the juice during this phase.
Low blood pressure: For people suffering from low blood pressure drinking pomegranate juice might increase the risk of blood pressure dropping too low.
Allergies to plants: People suffering from plant allergies are more likely to have an allergic reaction to pomegranate.
Surgery: Stop taking pomegranate at least 2 weeks before your surgery as this red fruit might interfere with blood pressure control.
5 Wonderful Pomegranate Recipes You Can Try for Weight Loss
1. Broccoli, Chickpea & Pomegranate Salad
Simple steps give this broccoli salad recipe a more nuanced flavor: soaking the onion tempers its bite and toasting the cumin enhances its aroma. Serve alongside grilled chicken, pork or fish.
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅓ cup whole-milk plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 4 cups bite-size broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
- 1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Soak onion in a small bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, toast cumin in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add yogurt, tahini, oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; whisk until smooth. Add broccoli, chickpeas, pomegranate seeds and the onion and toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss again.
2. Pomegranate, Cranberry & Brie Bruschetta
Make this simple festive appetizer for your guests. Toasted baguette slices with creamy, melted brie are topped with an orange-cranberry-pomegranate mixture; each bite delivers an explosion of flavor and texture!
- ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup fresh or frozen chopped cranberries, thawed
- 2 tablespoons sugar (see Tip)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Dash salt
- 6 ounces baguette-style French bread, cut diagonally into 16 slices
- Cooking spray
- ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 (6 ounce) log brie cheese, cut diagonally into 16 slices
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Combine pomegranate seeds, cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and salt in a small bowl. Cover and chill for up to 3 days.
- To serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place bread slices in a parchment paper-lined 15×10-inch baking pan. Lightly coat both sides of bread with cooking spray; sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, turning once. Top with cheese. Bake 4 minutes more or until the cheese is softened.
- Stir basil into pomegranate mixture and spoon on top of bruschetta. Serve warm.
3. Pomegranate Duck
Duck breasts may seem too fancy for the average weeknight, but they roast up beautifully and quickly. This preparation, with its luscious ruby-colored sauce, is definitely one that will impress.
- 1 pound boneless duck breast, skin removed (see Note)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, (see Tips for Two)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Sprinkle duck with salt. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the duck and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck to a small baking dish and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150 degrees F, 8 to 12 minutes for medium, depending on the size of the breast. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest 5 minutes.
- While the duck is roasting, return the pan to medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch dissolves. Add to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. When the duck has finished resting, pour any accumulated juices into the sauce and stir to combine.
- Thinly slice the duck; serve topped with the pomegranate sauce. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
4. Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze
This sweet-tart pomegranate molasses glaze is delicious combined with the citrusy sumac spice rub, and gives the roasted chicken a dark, ruby luster. Rub the chicken earlier in the day, or overnight, for the best flavor.
- 1 tablespoon ground sumac (see Tips)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 6 cups sliced cored fennel (2-3 large bulbs)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pomegranate molasses (see Note)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (see Tips)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine sumac and salt in a small bowl. Remove giblets from chicken (if included) and trim any excess skin; pat dry. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat and rub the spice mixture under the skin plus a little on the skin. Tuck the wings under and tie the legs together with kitchen string, if desired.
- Combine fennel and onion in a large roasting pan and toss with oil to coat. Place the chicken, breast-side up, on the vegetables.
- Combine pomegranate molasses, honey and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer half the mixture to a small saucepan and set aside to serve with the chicken.
- Roast the chicken and vegetables for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, stir the vegetables and cook for 20 minutes more.
- Turn the chicken over one more time (so it is breast-side up) and stir the vegetables again. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush the chicken all over with the remaining pomegranate mixture, and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh without touching bone reaches 165 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the pomegranate glaze in the saucepan over low heat. Remove the string from the chicken, if necessary, and carve the chicken. Serve with the fennel and onion, drizzled with the warm glaze. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired.
5. Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
This berry smoothie is made with pomegranate juice and packs lots of satisfaction from banana and cottage cheese.
- 2 cups frozen mixed berries
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 medium banana
- ½ cup nonfat cottage cheese
- ½ cup water
- Combine mixed berries, pomegranate juice, banana, cottage cheese and water in a blender; blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Pomegranate is one of the healthiest foods.
A single pomegranate supplies a plethora of antioxidants, anthocyanins, tannins, dietary fiber, and flavonoids.
These constituents help to burn fat, enhance satiety, prevent oxidative stress and stimulate weight loss.
Besides, pomegranates are a low-calorie food. Thus, they are excellent hunger busters as they satisfy hunger at a low-calorie intake.
Care should be taken to consume pomegranate fruit rather than marketed pomegranate juices as these juices may be nothing but concentrated sugar syrups and have low therapeutic usage.
Eat pomegranate daily and achieve better control of your weight!