Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are delicious, nutritious fruit from a shrub from the Lythraceae family of about 620 species of herbs, trees, and shrubs.
Classified as a berry, pomegranates are red and round nutrient powerhouses.
Cut thick and inedible rind open, and you’ll find hundreds of edible seeds inside, each surrounded by a red, juicy covering known as an aril.
You are supposed to eat the seeds and arils of a pomegranate, where the nutrients are contained.
The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits in the world, thought to be originated from Persia.
Cultivation soon spread around the Mediterranean and into China, where it was called the “Chinese apple”.
The use of pomegranates for medical purposes dates back to more than 3,000 years.
All the parts of the pomegranate plant, or punica granatum, contain unique alkaloids known as “pelletierines”.
These compounds paralyze tapeworms so they can be expelled from bodies.
In addition, the plant is rich in tannin, a group of polyphenolic molecules.
It was used for mouth sores and throat and vaginal infections.
- Bark – The bark was used as an antibacterial and antiviral remedy.
- Flowers – These were used to treat dysentery, stomachaches, and coughs.
- The juice from the flowers was used to treat nose bleeds.
- Stem – The stems and root bark were used to treat tapeworms.
- Rind – The fruit’s rind was ground in water and drunk every morning to help with diabetes.
- The dried rind was used in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea.
- Seeds – A concoction of seeds was used to treat syphilis.
- Extract – An ethyl alcohol extract of the fruit has been shown to reduce oxidative stress.
In addition, it was thought that the plant has an active ingredient for treating aging skin.
Natural red dyes and inks can be obtained from the flowers and rind, while black ink was made from the bark. (Source)
Fast forward a few thousand years to a few hundred years ago when pomegranate was brought to the US.
Now widely cultivated in Arizona and California, pomegranates have earned their reputation as a superfood.
Promising research on the potential health benefits has led to a plethora of pomegranate supplements, juices, powders, extracts, and of course, nothing beats the fruit itself.
Nowadays, conventional grocery stores all over the nation carry an extensive range of pomegranate products.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Pomegranate Seeds?
The enviable status of pomegranates as a superfood comes from the powerful antioxidants present in the fruit called polyphenols.
Two of the polyphenols, punicalagin and punicic acid, are plant-based compounds with potent medicinal benefits.
Polyphenols are compounds naturally found in some fruits, dark chocolate, vegetables, herbs, spices, and wine.
There are more than 8,000 types of polyphenols.
Punicalagins are the largest polyphenol by molecular weight and the most common polyphenol.
Punicic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in pomegranate oils. (Source)
Together, they give pomegranates the reputation of having a host of impressive benefits.
Chronic inflammation is the primary cause of severe diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
The punicic acid in pomegranates is said to reduce inflammation activity in the digestive tract and reduce breast and colon cancer cells.
Containing vitamin C and E, pomegranates can help fight infections and prevent illness.
Heart Disease and Blood Pressure
Pomegranates have been known to lower systolic blood pressure, according to this review on controlled trials.
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.
Traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in India and the Middle East, the effects of pomegranates on diabetes are still relatively unknown.
However, studies have shown it may help lower blood sugar and decrease insulin resistance.
The juice is known to speed recovery and enhance athletic performance.
The antioxidants also decrease oxidative stress caused by excessive physical activity.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
A common problem, particularly among seniors, arthritis is mainly the often painful inflammation of the joints.
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the polyphenols, pomegranates can help manage pain.
In addition, some studies suggest that the extract can block enzymes that damage joints in people with osteoarthritis.
Most of this research has been done on mice, and evidence from human tests is still limited.
Oxidative stress can hinder blood flow throughout the body and has been known to cause erectile and sperm dysfunction in men.
The concentration of antioxidants in pomegranate juice has been shown to help with these conditions.
In addition, drinking pomegranate juice has also been linked to high testosterone levels in both men and women, the primary hormone behind sex drives.
Pomegranate Seeds Calories
Pomegranates are a moderate caloric fruit containing 145 calories in one cup of arils and seeds.
For comparison, they sit somewhat in the middle of the spectrum, with avocados on one end at 240 calories and apples at 32 calories per apple.
Pomegranates are sweet fruits with high sugar content.
A cup of arils contains 24g of sugar compared to raspberries with 5g or avocados with 1g.
According to the USDA food database, the nutritional content of a cup of pomegranates include:
Pomegranates have been known to be an excellent weight-loss aid.
- The high fiber content makes you feel fuller for longer, helping curb hunger pangs and preventing overeating.
- The antioxidants help fight free radicals and raise energy levels, giving you a boost for exercise and metabolism
- Pomegranates blocks triglycerides, the type of fat that binds to blood and increases the risk of heart disease. By blocking the absorption, it can reduce the appearance of belly fat.
- Polyphenols are also known to be natural fat burners that prevent fat accumulation in the body.
- Pomegranates are a relatively low-calorie fruit with about 145 calories in a cup.
- Although solid research linking weight loss to pomegranates’ consumption is limited, some of these factors suggest that they can help with obesity management.
Can I Freeze Pomegranate Seeds?
Yes, you can! Pomegranate seeds freeze well, and if frozen, well last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
In comparison, fresh or thawed seeds will last about three days in the fridge.
Frozen seeds aren’t as juicy or crunchy as fresh seeds.
Pomegranate season is unfortunately short.
It starts in September and typically ends by the new year.
To enjoy pomegranates for a longer duration, freeze the seeds and portion them for use later in salads, smoothies or to eat raw.
Pomegranates will last one or even two months if stored whole.
However, seeds will last about three days in a freezer.
An excellent way of prolonging their lifespan would be to freeze them.
The last six months without losing any nutritional value.
Here’s how to freeze pomegranate seeds.
- Cut the whole fruit open and de-seed it.
- Make sure the seeds (and arils) are dry.
- Place the seeds individually on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or wax paper.
- Make sure the seeds are spread in a single layer and aren’t touching one another.
- Place the tray in the freezer and let them freeze. About 2 hours should do it.
- Transfer the individually frozen seeds into a container or freezer bag, labeling it with the date frozen if that’s your preference.
Bonus Tip: By freezing them on the baking sheet first, you’ll be storing them individually.
When it comes time to use them, just scoop out what you need without thawing the entire bag out.
To thaw frozen pomegranate seeds out:
- Place the portion of seeds needed in the fridge in the evening before bed. They should be thawed out by morning.
- In a hurry? Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. They should thaw in about 30 minutes, depending on your room temperature.
- You can also use frozen seeds in smoothies or salads. They will take about 20 to 30 minutes to thaw out in salads.
Are Frozen Pomegranate Seeds Good?
Yes, they are! They can be stored for up to 6 months without losing any nutritional value.
That way, you’ll get to enjoy pomegranate seeds throughout the year, not just the September to December season.
Frozen pomegranate seeds have many uses.
They are tiny seeds and will thaw in about 20 to 30 minutes when kept at room temperature.
Some common uses of frozen pomegranate include adding it to:
- Fruit salads
- Your morning bowl of granola or oatmeal
- Decorating cakes
- Cocktails and mocktails
Bonus Tip: Frozen seeds aren’t as juicy or crunchy as fresh seeds and tend to be a little mushier.
Pomegranates have rightfully earned their place and label as a superfood.
They have been around for thousands of years nourishing us, and they will be here for thousands more.
We hope you get to enjoy these power-packed fruits for a long time to come and wish you the best of health!
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.