Evolved Food: Pomegranate

Updated: Jan 28



Pomegranates are experiencing a rebirth in terms of popularity in recent times. Just trawl the shelves of any health food shops and you are bound to find pomegranate extracts, supplements and the actual fruit. This resurgence is long overdue as their benefits have been known for millennia; they have even been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. The little garnet gems are juicy and tart, and are the perfect addition to many dishes. The hype around pomegranates is due to them being rich in antioxidants such as ellagitannins, anthocyanins and flavonoids.


History


It is widely believed that the pomegranate was one of the first cultivated fruits based on excavations of the Early Bronze Age dating as far back as 3500BC. Originating in the Middle East and the Himalayas, it spread throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe in the pre-Christian era. Since then, the importance of the pomegranate is evident in almost every historical culture and religion with depictions appearing in Egyptian art, Roman mosaics and Buddhist temples (1).


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Health Benefits


Antioxidant


Punicalagin - a type of ellagitannin - is the most abundant polyphenol by molecular weight and is responsible for the majority of pomegranates’ antioxidant activity. The health benefits attributed to punicalagin include a reduction in risk of certain cancers such as prostate and breast, and reduced inflammation (2) (3).


Heart Protective


The ellagatannins present in pomegranates are hydrolysed in the gut to produce ellagic acid and further processed by the microbiota to produce urolithin A which has been linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (4).


Anti-inflammatory


The anti-inflammatory actions of pomegranates are largely down to the presence of punicalagin which studies have shown can reduce inflammation, especially in the digestive tract (5). The importance of gut inflammation is being explored as scientists look to better understand the connection between gut health and the brain with studies showing a link to gut inflammation and depression (6).


Joint Health


Extracts from pomegranates have been shown to inhibit the breakdown of cartilage in vitro and protect against cartilage breakdown in patients with osteoarthritis (7) (8).



Our Recommendations


Aim to consume a small handful of pomegranate every few days. They are high in sugar so be aware if you are trying to limit your intake of sugar and carbs. The high sugar content makes them a great addition to your meals around intense workouts if you are healthy, lean and muscular enough to afford this type of carb in your diet. Try adding them to an antioxidant rich salad or fry them with Brussels sprouts or broccoli.


Pomegranate supplements are also available and tend to be made from the rind of the fruit - the rind contains more polyphenols than the seeds themselves - as the rind tends to be too bitter to consume.


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Nutritional Content [per 1/2 cup (87g) pomegranate] (source)


Calories - 72Kcal


Total Carbohydrates - 16.3g

Dietary Fibre - 3.5g

Sugars - 11.9g


Total Fat - 1g

Saturated Fat - 0.1g

Monounsaturated Fat - 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat - 0.1g


Protein - 1.5g


Vitamin K - 18%

Vitamin C - 15%

Vitamin B9 - 8%

Copper - 7%

Potassium - 6%

Manganese - 5%



Summary


Pomegranates are a great source of important antioxidants and other health promoting compounds. From reducing inflammation to protecting your joints, they make a great addition to many meals, and supplements made from their bitter rinds could be beneficial to your health.



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS



John Maitland


John Maitland is the co-founder of 'The Evolved Way.’ A personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience, he has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.



Samson Hodin


Co-founder of 'The Evolved Way', and experienced personal trainer, Samson practices what he preaches. His own healthy lifestyle, which informs this site, is based on understanding the right way to eat and exercise, not excluding of course going out and enjoying life knowing you can still feel and look good.


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Articles and information on this website may only be copied, reprinted, or redistributed with written permission. The entire contents of this website and articles featured are based upon the opinions of John Maitland and Samson Hodin, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective authors, who may retain copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, nor is it intended to treat or cure any medical condition. It is intended as a sharing of ideas, knowledge and information from the personal research and experience of John Maitland and Samson Hodin, and the community. John Maitland and Samson Hodin are both fully qualified personal trainers. We will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this site; however, it is impossible to review all messages immediately. All messages expressed on the website, including comments posted to blog entries, represent the views of the author exclusively and we are not responsible for the content of any message.