Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

Pomegranate season is upon us yet again, and to celebrate, we want to explore the many health benefits of this ruby-red jewel of a fruit.

“One cup of pomegranate arils contains about seven grams of fiber and three grams of protein,” nutritionist Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN tells Well+Good. “Additionally, one cup offers 30 percent of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for vitamin C and over 35 percent of the RDI for vitamin K. Pomegranates also contain folate and potassium, which can both help maintain healthy blood pressure.”

The following seven benefits will certainly secure pomegranates a spot in your fruit bowl.

Improve exercise capacity

According to a licensed naturopathic doctor and founder of Los Angeles Integrative Health Kate Denniston, ND, “pomegranates are precursors to nitric oxide, a molecule in blood that helps open up blood vessels and enhance blood flow to tissues in the body,” which makes pomegranate seeds a great pre-workout snack to fuel your body. “This increase in blood flow helps bring oxygen and other nutrients to muscles while working out,” she adds. “One study showed that ingestion of pomegranate before workouts decreased running fatigue.”

Help reduce PMS

Even though the seeds tend to steal the show, they aren’t the only part of the pomegranate you should consume. The white part surrounding the seeds contains lignans, which help normalize the effects of estrogen in our bodies and can help normalize period flow and reduce symptoms of PMS.

Support mood and mental health

For those of us who don’t like yogurt but still want the benefit of healthy gut bacteria, pomegranates offer a great alternative. “Studies have shown that polyphenols in pomegranate increase the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus, two very important strains for mood and mental health,” says Dr. Denniston.

It May help improve memory

A study involving heart surgery patients at Loma Linda University demonstrated a link between taking pomegranate capsules and memory loss prevention after heart surgery. Participants in the study who consumed the pomegranate capsules experienced an improvement in their memory retention compared to their memory retention pre-surgery.

Are high in antioxidants

Pomegranates owe a lot of their health benefits to punicalagin, a compound that is made up of potent antioxidants that are found mostly in the juice and peel. Pomegranates juice is higher in antioxidants than red wine and green tea, so it can help combat free radicals.

Reduce inflammation and fight disease

The high punicalagin content also gives pomegranates its anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help protect you against cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep blood vessels healthy

Dr. Denniston also praises punicalagin’s anti-inflammatory properties for protecting blood vessels from damage. “Pomegranate seeds also support the synthesis and activity of nitric oxide, which is a substance that helps protect blood vessel lining against atherosclerosis, or ‘plaque’ and inhibits proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells or stiffening of arteries,” she adds.

If you’re unsure of how to pick the best pomegranate, check out this article.

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