Phytonutrient Blog

Pomegranate Punica granatum L.

General

Pomegranate is the fruit of the pomegranate tree(Punica granatum). Its name in Latin means seed apple. Pomegranate has a delicious sweet and tangy taste. Slightly larger than an orange, it is wrongly called pomegranate, a layer of the English pomegranate. Its diameter can reach 15 centimeters, and it is divided by many walls in which up to 400 very juicy seeds are found. The fruits do not continue to ripen after picking. Just like other fruits, pomegranate is full of water.

This represents more than 80% of its weight. The pomegranate originated in Persia or the Middle East. With the Spanish colonization, it established itself in the Caribbean and Latin America. There are one thousand two hundred varieties of Granada. It has been cultivated for centuries and each variety is linked to a terroir and a producing country. The largest producers are Iran, India, the United States and Spain. In Quebec and Canada, it is mainly the Wonderful, grown in California, that fills our shelves. Its season runs from September to January.

The pomegranate has been a symbol of life and fertility since time immemorial, but also of blood power, death and sexuality.

In Greek mythology, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility and is associated with Aphrodite (Aphrodisiac), goddess of Love and Pleasures. In China, it is the symbol of fertility and a large number of children because of its many glitches. It would seem that a glass of pomegranate juice a day keeps Viagra away forever.

Phytonutrients and minerals

The massive presence of phytonutrients makes pomegranate an extraordinary antioxidant. The main antioxidants found in pomegranate are anthocyanins, ellagic acid, punic acid and tannins that give it the bitter taste we knowit. The antioxidant activity of pomegranate and its juice would be higher than that of green tea and red wine. Pomegranate also contains punic acid with a very strong antioxidant power and just like beetroot, it is very rich in dietary nitrates.

Pomegranate is also an important source of Vitamin B6, copper and vitamin C.

Its medicinal virtues

Anti-inflammatory

The antioxidant properties of pomegranate give it powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is largely responsible for certain cancers and heart diseases, certain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and even obesity.

Cardiovascular diseases

Medicinal virtues on heart health
Medicinal virtues on heart health

Like all fruits and vegetables with a high content of various antioxidants, pomegranate could prevent certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In people who have had coronary problems, the consumption of pomegranate juice has improved blood circulation in the arteries. In addition, there was a decrease in atherosclerosis lesions.

In diabetics with high blood lipid levels, pomegranate juice lowered total cholesterol and « bad » cholesterol (LDL) levels. Consumption of pomegranate juice may also decrease blood pressure in subjects with hypertension.

A diet rich in antioxidants obtained by other types of juices or fresh fruits and vegetables, however, could have the same effect.

Neurological disorders

Animal studies reveal that pomegranate juice could have an effect neuro protective. Pomegranate juice would also have beneficial effects on neurological signs related to Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, these results will have to be validated by clinical studies on humans.

Memory

Some studies in humans also show promising effects on memory.

Cancers

Daily consumption of pomegranate extracts or juice would delay the progression of colon, breast and prostate cancers. In prostate cancer patients, daily consumption of pomegranate juice would decrease the growth of cancer cells and increase the resistance of lipids to oxidation. However, clinical studies are still needed to assess the effects of pomegranate juice in humans.

Sports performance

Pomegranate is just like beetroot and spinach, very rich in dietary nitrates. More studies are still needed but the effects of nitrate appear to increase oxygenation capacity. Taking nitrate would lead to a delay in the onset of fatigue and an increase in the effectiveness of exercise.

Its sexual virtues

adamkontor / Pixabay

A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh, in the United Kingdom has shown that pomegranate juice would have effects on the libido of men, but also women! A glass of pomegranate juice would increase the level of testosterone in the body by 16% to 30%. This hormone of desire plays a crucial role in both men and women. In men, the hormone boosts sexual desire and promotes erection. And in women, in addition to its effect on libido, this fruit juice would contribute as a bonus to good mood. To reach these conclusions, the researchers gave 58 volunteers, aged 21 to 64, a glass of pomegranate juice a day for two weeks. In addition to the increased testosterone levels, the participants’ blood pressure also decreased, and they also said they were less stressed. The pomegranate apple also contains punicalagins, which have a very powerful antioxidant power and are found in the juice and peel of the pomegranate. Pomegranate extracts are usually made from the skin, due to its high antioxidant content.

Its nitrates

The cavernous bodies of the penis and clitoris are a small spongy ball of very small nerves surrounded by blood vessels. In men, the cavernous body is located in the penis from its base (much like an inner tube). In women, it surrounds the clitoris. During sexual periods, it becomes engorged with blood and becomes active. Its stimulation depends on the relaxation of the genital muscles. Nitric oxide (NO) and its metabolite cyclic GMP directly influences the erectile mechanism in both men and women. In men its action leads to the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the penis, which has the effect of facilitating the passage of blood from the penile veins and leading to swelling of the penis. The more marked the presence of cGMP, the longer lasting and stronger the erection will be. In women a similar but less strong phenomenon occurs in the clitoris.

Some fruits and vegetables such as pomegranate, spinach, beetroot and artichokes have a very high concentration of nitrate. Nitrate is extracted by the salivary glands, and partially transformed in saliva into nitrite, then into nitric oxide (NO) in the stomach (due to its acidity).

 

Warning

Being rich in oxalate, people at risk of kidney stones should limit their intake.

In terms of Health Canada’s position on pomegranate, it is as follows:

Provides antioxidants (Herber et al. 2007; Rosenblat et al. 2006; Aviram et al. 2004; Aviram et al. 2000).

Doses

Subpopulation

Adults (≥ 18 years old)

Quantities

Dry, powder, unsilized extracts and standardized extracts

  • Up to 20 g gross equivalent (QBE) per day (CNF 2012).
  • Up to 100 g of fresh fruit, per day FCÉN 2012).

 

Mention of risks

Statement(s) specifying the following:

Precautions and warnings:

Statement not required.

Contraindications:

Statement not required.

Known adverse reaction(s):

Statement not required.

(2): Health Canada, part of the pomegranate monograph

References:

  • Health Passport

Spring:

Health Canada, part of the Monograph On Grenada

 

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