Did you know pomegranates were referred to in Greek mythology as the fruit of death? In the myth of Hades and Persephone, Hades lured Persephone into the underworld using the seeds of a pomegranate. Not only that, but this funky fruit was also often associated with Aphrodite, and therefore became a symbol of fertility, as well! But beyond the myths, what are the true benefits of pomegranate?
Pomegranates are full of nutrients and powerful antioxidants, making them an incredibly healthy choice for a snack or addition to your meal. To learn more about the surprising effects of eating this fruit, we chatted with medical board expert Lauren Manaker, MS, RDNauthor of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
Continue reading to learn more about pomegranates, and for more healthy eating tips check out Secret Side Effects of Eating Raspberries.
Antioxidants, which can be found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and even some animal products, are crucial for your health in many ways. And pomegranates are full of them!
“Things like stress and environmental pollutants can generate free radicals, which may play a role in the development of unsavory health outcomes over time,” says Manaker. “Including antioxidants in your diet can help combat the oxidative stress your body experiences due to the free radicals. Pomegranates contain compounds with antioxidant activity, which may help support your overall health. An in vitro study at UCLA found that POM Wonderful 100-percent pomegranate juice has more antioxidant potency than red wine, Concord grape juice, or green tea, on average .”
Many people may not realize this, but pomegranates are a great source of potassium. And according to Manaker, potassium is crucial for your muscle health.
“Pomegranates are a source of potassium, an important electrolyte for healthy muscle function,” says Manaker. “One 8-ounce serving of pomegranate juice has as much potassium as your average banana.”
If you’re someone who is focused on fitness or exercising, your body will need enough nutrients to help you meet your health goals. Because of their antioxidants, pomegranates can help you with this.
“The antioxidants in pomegranates and in pomegranate juice may help increase nitric oxide bioavailability by protecting it from breaking down,” says Manaker. “Nitric oxide helps your body get the oxygen and nutrients it needs for exercise.”
And lastly, pomegranates are a great way to meet those sweet cravings without eating a ton of added sugar.
“It is recommended that people limit their added sugar intake to help reduce the risk of many unwanted health outcomes,” says Manaker. “Pomegranates offer a sweet taste with no added sugar, making it a satisfying snack for people with a sweet tooth.”