8 Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds for Your Health
Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits because they’re delicious, beautiful, and good for you in so many ways! They’re a little challenging to work with, but once you figure out how to remove pomegranate seeds, you’re well on your way to receiving all of the pomegranate seeds benefits.
Originally native to the region that stretches from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India, pomegranates were traditionally seen as a symbol of fertility. Nowadays, pomegranates are praised for their extraordinary health benefits like boosting your immunity and clearing your skin.
Pomegranate seeds can be used in a variety of ways. You can eat them plain, make them into juice, or even make a tea out of them. You might be surprised at how many delicious pomegranate seeds recipes exist. And maybe you’ll make a habit of reaping some pomegranate tea benefits as you sip your evening tea.
How to remove pomegranate seeds
If you’ve ever felt intimidated by a pomegranate, you’re not alone. It’s difficult to learn how to remove pomegranate seeds, and there are so many ways to do it wrong.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to removing pomegranate seeds:
- Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally
- Take one pomegranate half in your left hand (unless you’re a lefty)
- Place a bowl underneath the pomegranate half you’re holding
- Use a wooden spoon to whack the pomegranate half (put your back into it!) until all of the seeds are in the bowl
- Repeat this process with the other pomegranate half
- Remove the white membrane from the seeds in the bowl
Once you’ve successfully removed all the pomegranate seeds from the peel, you can use them immediately or store them in the fridge for up to five days. If you need to keep them longer, freeze them on a piece of wax paper spread out on a baking sheet.
Integrating pomegranate seeds into your everyday diet
Pomegranate seeds can be added to pretty much any meal from breakfast, to snacking, to dinner. They pair well with avocados, a kale salad, chia seed pudding, or even coconut yogurt! However, as mentioned above, removing seeds from a fresh pomegranate every day can be a messy hassle. I recommend to batch de-seed your pomegranates during your meal prep day and freeze them. Rinse, dry, and then spread the seeds on wax paper and pre-freeze before putting them in an air-tight container for a longer freezer period. The arils will last up to year, and although it may affect the texture, the vitamins are still intact, and you can definitely use them for purees, toppings, or smoothies. To store them in the fridge for a shorter period, rinse and dry them before placing in an airtight container.
As the pomegranate is a winter fruit, ready to eat between September and December, you might not be surprised to know that eating or drinking pomegranate daily can support immune system function. Frequent consumption also supports heart health and decreases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, patients in a study published in Pub Med who drank pomegranate juice for 3 years experienced decreased cardiovascular inflammation plaque, had improved blood pressures, and measured lowered LDL cholesterol levels. These changes are attributed to the polyphenols.
Health benefits of pomegranate seeds
Now that you’ve overcome your fear of pomegranates, you can start enjoying all of the pomegranate seed benefits!
1. Weight loss
Pomegranates are rich in fiber, which can aid in sustainable weight loss. They are also said to be appetite suppressing, believed to not only increase feelings of satiety but also improve the taste of the food you’re eating. Finally, both the juice and peel are high in polyphenols, which interact with gut bacteria to help boost metabolism, supporting weight loss.
2. Anti-inflammatory properties
Pomegranate seeds have potent antioxidants called punicalagins. These punicalagins have the ability to fight against chronic inflammation and play a part in preventing many diseases. One study found that people with diabetes who drank pomegranate juice daily lowered some of their inflammatory markers by as much as 30%.
3. Skin & hair health
Looking for an effective way to get clear, youthful skin? Eating pomegranate seeds clarifies your blood, which in turn, clarifies your skin! The high levels of vitamin C in pomegranates also keeps your skin looking young and fresh. In fact, eating one pomegranate gives you about 28 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 50 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Punic acid in pomegranate seed extract has been said to make hair shiny and healthy, and to stimulate growth by promoting blood flow to the scalp. It is also good for reducing inflammatory conditions like redness or dandruff. Extracts from the pomegranate peel or skin are being used to fight dandruff and baldness as well!
4. Blood circulation
If you’ve ever been concerned about anemia, pomegranate seeds are the perfect food for you. They improve blood circulation and increase your red blood cell count. This also protects you against the fatigue that comes from bad circulation.
5. Memory & cognitive performance
One of the more surprising benefits of pomegranate seeds is that they’ve been shown to improve memory! Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice boosts memory in people experience loss of this cognitive function.
Drinking pomegranate juice is also linked to better cognitive performance. This powerful fruit can not only be used preventatively for brain health, but also has been shown to heal existing damage. The polyphenols in pomegranates help prevent amyloid plaque buildup in the hippocampus, which in turn, helps improve brain function for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Another study comparing people who drank pomegranate juice daily with those who didn’t found that those who did maintained the ability to learn visual information over a 12-month period, and those who didn’t actually saw a decline in cognitive ability.
6. Cancer prevention
Various types of cancer can be inhibited by a component of the pomegranate, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. Taking fermented pomegranate juice and pomegranate seed oil extract has been shown to deter and even prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying. For men, it has been shown that the daily intake of pomegranate can slow the progression of prostate cancer by inhibiting cellular growth, while also prolonging better quality of life. Several other studies have demonstrated that the use of this fruit is successful in treating lung, colon, and skin cancer.
7. Heart health
A fatty acid in pomegranate called punic acid has lots of health benefits, including protecting you against heart disease. Studies show that pomegranate juice reduces high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which raise your risk of heart disease.
8. Athletic performance
Pomegranate can enhance your exercise routine! Because pomegranates are rich in dietary nitrates, they are known to boost your exercise performance. One study found that taking pomegranate extract right before working out enabled athletes to exercise more efficiently and delayed their fatigue.
Pomegranate seeds recipes
Once you’ve mastered the process of removing pomegranate seeds and you’re clear on all the health benefits, you can start diving into the world of pomegranate seeds recipes. While you might think of pomegranate seeds as being fruity and sweet, they have their place in lots of savory recipes as well.
For a distinctly fall or winter treat, try my tasty stuffed butternut squash recipe. Aside from pomegranate seeds, it includes quinoa, pine nuts, chickpeas, kale, and orange zest. Yummy! Another healthy option is my delightful kale superfood salad. It is full of powerfully nutritious ingredients such as pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and butternut squash. It’s perfect for an immunity boost any time of year.
You can also add pomegranate seeds to oatmeal, guacamole, yogurt, rice, or a fruit salad. And if you encounter a meal that doesn’t seem suitable for pomegranate seeds, just pour a glass of freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice to drink with it!
Looking for other nutritional seeds to add to your recipes? Check out this list of my favorite healthy seeds and their surprising uses. With all of the incredible pomegranate seed benefits, you’ll fall even more in love with the delicious flavor as you begin to experiment with new meals.
XO – Serena