Pomegranate – Properties and health benefits / medicinal uses

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In this article, we will be looking at the properties and health benefits / medicinal uses of Pomegranate.

Botanical name: Punica granatum L.
Other names: Grenade, Chinese apple, Dalima.

Pomegranate is the fruit of the pomegranate tree, Punica granatum L., an evergreen plant which belongs to the botanical family Punicaceae, and reaches a height of about 4 meters. The pomegranate fruit is composed of many sacs which are filled with a flavorful pulp that varies in color from red to pink.
pomegranate-fruit-seeds

Properties of Pomegranate

The contents of pomegranate are divided into two, the nutritional component and the non-nutritional component.
Nutritional component:
● Pomegranate contains high carbohydrate which is higher than most fruits. It represents about 15.6% of its total content.

● It also contains significant amounts of proteins, which represents about 1% of its total content. This is quite a reasonable amount since it is a fresh fruit.

● Fats in pomegranate are negligible. The total fat content of pomegranate is less than 0.3% of its weight.

● Pomegranate is significantly rich in vitamins such as vitamin E, C, and some B group vitamins. Important mineral lacking in pomegranate is pro-vitamin A, which is also known as beta-carotene.

● Some minerals such as copper, iron, and potassium, are contained in pomegranate in abundant amounts.

Non-nutritive component:
● Pomegranate contains citric acids and some organic acids which helps gives it its characteristic bitter-sweet taste. The presence of these acids also plays a role in the restoration of the intestinal bacterial flora.

● Another important substance present in pomegranate in small amount are the tannins. Tannins have an anti-inflammatory as well as an astringent effect on the mucosa of the digestive tract. These tannins are usually found in the membranes that separate the seed sacs.

● An important substance also found in pomegranate is the Pelletierine. This substance is an alkanoid which helps get rid of intestinal parasites.

● Anthocyanins are present in pomegranate as well. They mainly act as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptics. Other functions of these pigments are stopping of aging process and cancerous degeneration, which is due to its antioxidant effect.

The above components of pomegranate gives it the following properties, it acts as a /an:
► Depurant
► Anti-inflammatory
► Remineralizer
► Alkalizer
► Astringent
► Vermifuge (eliminate intestinal parasites)
.

Health benefits / medicinal uses of Pomegranate

The health benefits / medicinal uses of pomegranate are quite numerous, and are due to its rich composition. The nutritional component coupled with the non-nutritional components gives pomegranate its medicinal values. Below are some of its indications:

Anemia (Iron deficiency) – The consumption of pomegranate is highly recommended in cases of anemia caused by Iron deficiency. This is because it contains both copper and iron, the copper as a trace element facilitates the absorption of Iron into the blood.

Intestinal disorders – The astringent and anti-inflammatory effect of pomegranate on the digestive tract makes its consumption highly recommended in cases of infectious diarrhea caused by colitis. Its consumption is also of immense benefits in cases of:
► Excess gas (flatulence)
► Crohn’s disease
► Intestinal cramps.
Its consumption in the following cases have been proved to be effective, as great results where obtained after treatment with pomegranate.

Hypertension – The fact that a high potassium and low sodium content is essential in treatment of hypertension, makes pomegranate a suitable food for hypertension patients. It contains high potassium content and virtually no sodium, thus, certifying the above fact.

Excess stomach acid – The astringent effect of pomegranate is responsible for this action. When there is an excess stomach acid, the consumption of pomegranate will be of immense benefit, as it will help reduce the production of gastric juice (which contains stomach acid that helps digest food materials), as well as reduce inflammation in the stomach.

Metabolic disorders – When it comes to metabolic disorders, pomegranates are not left out due to their depurant and alkalizing effects. Their consumption is highly recommended in cases of:
► Excess uric acid
► Obesity
► Gout.

Arteriosclerosis – The richness of pomegranates in flavonoids as well as in antioxidants, helps stop the aging process of the arteries, which when blocked leads to arteriosclerosis. The consumption of pomegranate is highly recommended in the following cases:
Heart attack prevention
► Reduced blood flow, and
► Cardiac health in general.

Eating Pomegranates

Pomegranates are among the fruits that are best stored and easily used. In cases of storing pomegranate for later use, a cool dry place is recommended; like this, they can store for more than five months.
When eating pomegranates, the hard residue that remains in the mouth should not be swallowed since it is indigestible. Moreover, the membranes that separate the sacs can be removed in order to eliminate the bitter taste; that is only if its effect in eliminating intestinal parasites is not needed anymore.
Pomegranates are also easily used to extract a juice. Its juice is very flavorful and nutritionally intact.

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abbati
abbati
Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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