There’s no denying that fresh pomegranates contain antioxidants. But because they come into season in the colder months, they can be hard to find other times of the year. Pomegranate juice is available year-round, however. And pure pomegranate juice—made by pressing the entire pomegranate—contains nutrients from both the polyphenol-filled rind and pith and the fiber-full seeds, which results in a tarter juice with higher levels of polyphenols and better nutrition.
Although more research is needed to prove the potential benefits, here are some of the areas that scientists are currently exploring.
Some of the information from this article was provided by POM Wonderful.
An in vitro study at UCLA found that pomegranate juice has, on average, more antioxidant potency than red wine, grape juice, or tea. Pomegranate’s antioxidants—anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and other polyphenols—may help fight free radicals that damage our cells.
Like many fruits, the pomegranate is naturally sweet, and its sugars provide energy. Pure pomegranate juice contains glucose and fructose in roughly balanced proportions, giving it a score of 53 on the glycemic index (GI). Foods with a low GI value—less than 55—are slower to break down in the body and won’t upset your metabolism with a sugar spike.
The recently released Dietary Guidelines found that Americans are not consuming enough fiber—men ages 19 to 50 should get more than 30 grams a day, the current average intake is about half of that. Fill up on fiber by adding pomegranate seeds, called arils, to smoothies and salads—a cup provides 6 grams of fiber.
Athletes need increased levels of nitric oxide (NO) because it facilitates nutrient and oxygen delivery, and preliminary research into NO suggests that pomegranate polyphenols from pomegranate extract may help support exercise efficiency. Polyphenols are antioxidants and can be found in colorful foods like pomegranates (especially in the skin and pith), berries, and grapes.
Pomegranates contain polyphenols called ellagitannins. Emerging in vitro science explored how pomegranate extract suggests that ellagitannins may promote the right balance of beneficial bacteria populations in your gut.
Drinking an 8-ounce glass of pomegranate juice every day for a month increased verbal memory performance and functional brain activity in MRI testing while performing study-related tasks in older adults with age-related memory complaints in a small, preliminary 2013 study from UCLA.
The scientific information provided in this article is preliminary and promising, though further research is needed to validate the results within larger populations and to determine the cause and effect relationships between pomegranate juice and extract and its impact on nitric oxide, exercise, gut health, and memory.