10 Benefits of Pomegranate Juice for Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods available on the market. In fact, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom has started to consider them a superfood. (1). This is because pomegranates have been found to deliver all kinds of benefits from the more conventional benefits of fruits because it contains different vitamins and minerals with unique health properties, like improving heart health, strengthening bones and even showing a beneficial effect on prostate cancer. However, many still question these benefits when comparing pomegranates and pomegranate juice against other fruits and their juice variants.
Drinking pomegranate juice offers an easy and quick way to take in the beneficial nutrients in pomegranates without compromising on nutritional value and may even offer some unique benefits of its own.
Below, the benefits of pomegranate juice, whether it’s better to consume pomegranates as juice or as whole fruits, and these will be reviewed and compared to other fruit juices to see which is the most powerful fruit juice for health, wellness and disease prevention.
10 Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
1. Pomegranate Juice Can Reduce the Negative Effects of Cholesterol
Interesting research from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that patients with heart disease who drank just 50 milliliters of pomegranate juice were able to reduce plaque build up in their arteries after 1 year. This also helped reduce blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. (2)
This list of heart-based benefits makes pomegranate juice an ideal choice for those looking for a heart-healthy fruity drink.
2. Pomegranate Juice May Help Improve Exercise Performance
As well as being a good choice for heart disease patients pomegranate juice could also be beneficial for athletes or recreational exercisers. Pomegranates contain dietary nitrates, which are chemicals that help dilate the blood vessels in the body. This then increases the amount of blood and nutrients that can be delivered to the muscles.
As such, multiple studies have shown that supplementing with nitrate rich foods can improve endurance and strength exercise (3), making it a key ingredient in many pre-workout supplements and formulas.
So, while pomegranate juice has clear benefit for those looking to improve heart health, it may also have a place for those looking to add a few more miles to their run, or a few more kilograms to their lifts.
3. Pomegranate Juice Can Help Improve Memory and Brain Function
The heart is not the only organ that pomegranate juice can benefit. The brain is also benefitted from only 250 milliliters per day, with one study showing an improvement in memory in elderly individuals complaining of memory problems. (4) It was also shown to improve brainwave activity and brain functioning.
As well as this, it has shown to have a protective effect on the brain, with a higher intake of pomegranate being associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
Along with the beneficial effect exercise can have on the brain (5), pomegranate juice offers a drink that can both improve workout performance and possibly augment the benefit it has on mental health and function.
4. Pomegranate Juice May Help Protect Against Arthritis
Along with the heart-healthy fats that pomegranates, and pomegranate juice, has, it also contains enzymes that have the ability to block damage to joints caused by arthritis. (6) This could have a long-term beneficial effect on joints and help prevent the occurrence of osteoarthritis due to either age or excessive joint-intensive work.
This, along with the above benefits, makes pomegranate juice an ideal beverage for elderly or middle-aged individuals that are concerned about their joint health and want a natural way to help protect them.
5. Pomegranate Juice May Be Beneficial For Erectile Dysfunction
Pomegranate juice has been shown to increase genital blood flow and erectile control and response in studies and has even been investigated as a potential treatment for men suffering with erectile dysfunction, showing a beneficial effect. (7,8)
With most erectile dysfunction drugs often being expensive and difficult to acquire, pomegranate juice may offer a cheaper and more private means of improving erectile dysfunction and overall libido and sexual health.
6. Pomegranate Juice Is High In Iron And Can Help Prevent And Treat Anaemia
Anaemia is an illness that affects the amount of red blood cells the body can produce. This usually causes constant fatigue and low mood. The usual treatment for this is iron supplementation in the diet. (9)
Pomegranate juice is unusually high in iron for a fruit juice, meaning it can be used as a treatment to help reduce the effects of anaemia. (10) This allows for a more natural way of increasing iron in the diet to help prevent the occurrence of anaemia in those that are at risk of developing the disease and in treating the fatigue anaemia causes.
7. Pomegranate Juice Is A Natural Diuretic and Aids Digestion
For those who have difficulty urinating, or for athletes or others needing to lose water-weight quickly, pomegranate juice acts as a natural diuretic and has been shown to increase urine flow and volume. (11)
This can also help ease urinary infections and aid elderly individuals who can have a problem urinating regularly. Making pomegranate juice a good addition to their diet.
It is also high in fiber, which will help the absorption of nutrients into the body and help regulate bowel movements. This is one of the reasons that pomegranate juice is a popular treatment for diarrhoea. (12)
8. Pomegranate Juice May Protect Against Some Cancers
Some of the nutrients in pomegranates have been shown in research to help improve prostate cancer recovery when used alongside conventional treatments like radiation therapy. (13) Other research has also shown that when some of the nutrients from pomegranate were extracted and used on cancer cells in laboratories, they were able to inhibit the growth of the cells. (14)
These findings provide evidence that pomegranate juice could be a useful beverage when trying to prevent prostate or breast cancer.
9. Pomegranate Juice Can Improve Blood Sugar Levels And Help Manage Diabetes
As well as providing benefit to the heart and blood vessels, there is also evidence that pomegranate juice could benefit overall health by helping to keep blood sugar in check. In one study, pomegranate juice showed no elevation in blood sugar when taken in the diet. (15)
This makes pomegranate juice an ideal alternative to sugary drinks, particularly for diabetics, who need to manage their blood sugar levels. There is also emerging evidence that pomegranates may have ‘anti-diabetic’ properties that may prove beneficial in treating diabetes, but more studies on this are needed.
10. Pomegranate Juice Can Help Strengthen Bones
Whether it is due to the calcium content in the pomegranate or the host of other healthy micronutrients, research has shown that pomegranates can be effective in helping to strengthen and maintain healthy bones. (16)
This helps strengthen the case for including pomegranate juice into the diet as, along with milk, it is one of the few beverages that has been shown to have a beneficial effect on bones and joints.
Pomegranate Juice Vs. Other Fruit Juices
Now that the above benefits have been discussed, it’s important to compare how pomegranate juice compares to other popular fruit juices in terms of health benefits. This way, the best choice of juice can be made to ensure the maximum amount of health benefits can be attained at the minimum amount of cost.
Orange juice is the most popular fruit juices that’s commercially available. In terms of nutrients, while orange juice usually has higher Vitamin C and B Vitamin content per serving, pomegranate juice contains both higher fiber and higher sodium and Vitamin K as well as a slightly higher Vitamin E amount.
Cranberry juice is also a popular choice for health enthusiasts, and contains some benefits of its own, with high levels of Vitamin C and a natural diuretic as well. (17) However, cranberries do not seem to exhibit the positive effect on joints or cancer that pomegranates have.
Apple juice and pomegranate juice is one exception in terms of comparison in that the two juices have actually been compared in scientific research. (18) In this study from the Journal of Nutritional Research, scientists found that pomegranate juice was superior to apple juice in improving anti-oxidants and their function in the body in elderly individuals. Also, when looking at the whole fruit variants, it’s important to consider that pomegranates also have over twice the amount of fiber as apple’s. (19)
When looking at the above it is easy to see how pomegranate juice is considered one of the healthiest fruit juices available, providing a superior micronutrient profile than nearly every other fruit juice available. (20)
With many unique benefits, there is a strong argument to be made for the inclusion of pomegranate juice into the diet of health conscious dieters, athletes and even elderly individuals looking to improve their physical and mental health.
To make sure the above benefits are obtained, try to take in around 500 milliliters of pomegranate juice per day consistently as this is high enough to have been shown to deliver all of the above benefits. This can be taken on it’s own, with a meal, or, for athletes, right before a workout.