15 Interesting Facts About Pomegranates You Should Know

15 Interesting Facts About Pomegranates You Should Know

Pomegranates are one of the world’s unique and nutritious fruits. This crimson red fruit has a long and storied history, and modern research continues to uncover new health benefits.

Below are 15 fascinating facts about pomegranates that will give you a deeper appreciation for this superfruit. Read on to learn about their origins, growing conditions, nutritional value, health benefits, culinary uses, and cultural symbolism.


1. Native to Iran and Northern India

The pomegranate is native to Iran and northern India. Pomegranates have been cultivated throughout parts of Asia, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East for several millennia. The fruit is well adapted to hot, dry climates.

Evidence indicates pomegranates were domesticated as early as 3000 BC. Some of the earliest written texts mentioning pomegranates come from Ancient Egypt, where they symbolized prosperity.

2. Packed with Antioxidants

Pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals and inflammation.

The antioxidant levels in pomegranate juice are three times higher than those found in green tea and red wine. The most abundant antioxidants are:

  • Punicalagins: Responsible for over 50% of the antioxidant capability in pomegranates.
  • Anthocyanins: Give pomegranates their vibrant red color and offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Vitamin C: A critical nutrient and antioxidant that boosts the immune system. One pomegranate provides 40% of the daily recommended intake.

Consuming pomegranate antioxidants can help prevent chronic illnesses and reduce oxidative stress in the body.

3. Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to powerful antioxidants, pomegranates contain many essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin K plays a key role in bone and heart health.
  • Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps the body make red blood cells and is especially important for women who are pregnant.
  • Small amounts of vitamins C, E, and various B vitamins.

Pomegranates also have some calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. The edible seeds are fiber-rich, granting health benefits for the digestive system.

4. May Improve Heart Health


Regularly consuming pomegranate may benefit heart health in various ways.

The antioxidants help prevent LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing, which can lead to dangerous plaque buildup in arteries. Studies show drinking pomegranate juice daily lowers cholesterol levels and naturally reduces blood pressure.

Pomegranates also contain biochemicals that help reduce inflammation in the body. Ongoing inflammation plays a key role in the development of heart disease. Animal research indicates pomegranate juice may help fight hardening of the arteries.

Overall, the fruit’s nutrient profile appears protective against various cardiovascular diseases. However, more research is still needed, especially large human-controlled trials.

5. Potential Anti-Cancer Effects

Laboratory studies and small human trials have observed anticancer effects from pomegranate compounds against certain types of cancer cells, especially prostate, breast, and colon cancers.

Two proposed mechanisms of pomegranate against cancer are:

  • Antioxidants: Punicalagins and anthocyanins protect cells from DNA mutation that can cause uncontrolled growth.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Chronic inflammation is linked to some cancer development pathways.

Larger scale human trials are needed to conclusively determine pomegranate’s impact on cancer prevention and treatment. But current evidence is promising.

6. May Improve Memory

Consuming pomegranate juice daily may help improve memory, according to research.

In one study, older adults with memory deficits saw significant verbal and visual memory improvements after drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a month. Researchers believe this is due to increased blood flow to the brain induced by the antioxidants.

Another study found pomegranate juice increased blood flow to the brain by 30% in healthy adults. Enhanced blood flow may help delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

7. Anti-Microbial Effects

The seeds and peel of pomegranates have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties when ingested or applied topically on the skin.

Pomegranate peel contains an array of potent biochemical compounds that combat harmful microbes and viruses. Research indicates pomegranate peel extracts may help fight against:

  • Influenza
  • Candida yeast
  • Staph infections
  • Common cold viruses

Pomegranate seed oil offers additional antimicrobial benefits when applied to skin.

8. May Improve Arthritis Symptoms


Studies suggest pomegranate juice may help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The anti-inflammatory antioxidants are believed to be responsible for the fruit’s ability to block enzymes that damage joints and cause pain and swelling.

Drinking a few ounces of pomegranate juice daily may help relieve arthritis inflammation and slow cartilage deterioration. Early research is promising.

9. Safeguards Skin Health

Pomegranates contain compounds that help protect skin from sun damage. Consuming the fruit or applying its oil topically helps block UV damage that causes wrinkles and increases cancer risk.

The antioxidants also promote the regeneration of the outer skin layer to reveal younger, smoother-looking skin. Pomegranate seed oil absorbs deeply into the skin to hydrate and improve elasticity.

10. Excellent Source of Dietary Fiber

A single pomegranate provides about 7 grams of dietary fiber, accounting for up to 20% of the recommended daily value.

Pomegranate seeds get their bright red color from fiber-rich pigments called arils.

This high fiber content benefits digestion by promoting regularity, improving gut microbiota, and providing a feeling of fullness that prevents overeating. It may also help lower cholesterol.

11. Used in Ayurvedic Medicine

Pomegranates have many uses in Ayurvedic medicine due to their wide array of nutrients and plant compounds.

Some traditional Ayurvedic applications of pomegranate include:

  • Juice for increasing body energy and relieving exhaustion.
  • Peel and fruit topically to promote smooth, youthful skin.
  • Seeds for stimulating digestion and alleviating diarrhea.

Practitioners also use every part of the fruit to combat parasitic infections.

12. Ancient Symbol of Fertility and Abundance

Throughout history, pomegranates have been viewed as a symbol of fertility, bounty, prosperity and ambition.

  • Ancient Greeks placed pomegranates on the tombs of unmarried Greek girls as a tribute to the fertility goddess, ensuring the woman would still marry and bear children in the afterlife.
  • Pomegranates were popular decorations at Jewish weddings, representing hopes for large families.
  • In China, pomegranates symbolize wealth and status.

13. Featured in Greek Mythology


Pomegranates were frequently referenced in Greek mythology. One famous story involves Hades and his abduction of Persephone.

When Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds in the underworld, it bound her to stay with Hades for six months every year. Her annual return to the earth in springtime represents the renewal of life.

This myth is an explanation for the changing of the seasons – Persephone’s departure reflects winter barrenness, and her homecoming signals the fruitfulness of spring.

14. Many Varieties are Grown Today

Over 500 cultivars of pomegranate exist today. The diversity results in many different flavors, colors, and seed types.

Popular varieties include:

  • Wonderful: The most common commercial variety in the U.S. Large, deep red fruit with juicy, bittersweet flavor.
  • Grenada: Native to Spain, produces very sweet, juicy, red arils. Thrives in hot, dry climates.
  • Early Foothill: Medium-sized fruit that matures early. Grown in California.
  • Green Globe: Originated in Iran, bears pale yellow-green fruit. Soft seeds with sweet, tangy juice.

15. Also Used to Make Wine

The juice and seeds of pomegranates can be fermented into wine. Pomegranate wine has a rich, fruity taste and deep red color.

Countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia, and Turkey have long traditions of producing pomegranate wine. The wine is commonly made into a distilled spirit called pomegranate vodka or arak.

Some California winemakers have started experimenting with pomegranate blends. The fruit helps contribute vivid crimson hues and berry notes to red wine blends.

Key Takeaways

  • Pomegranates are packed with beneficial plant compounds like anthocyanins and punicalagins that provide powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Consuming pomegranates may help protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, memory loss, and bacterial infections.
  • Pomegranates contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber important for health.
  • The juice, seeds, and peel all have therapeutic benefits – whether ingested or applied on the skin.
  • Many ancient civilizations revered pomegranates as symbols of fertility, ambition, and prosperity.
  • Over 500 varieties of pomegranate exist, providing a wide diversity of flavors, colors, seed textures, and plant growth habits.

Pomegranates are truly a nutritional powerhouse and timeless, iconic fruit full of intrigue and versatility. Incorporate them into your diet to harness their unique health-protective compounds.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are pomegranates good for you?

Yes, pomegranates are very nutritious and offer many potential health benefits. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Research suggests they may help protect against chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

How do you eat a pomegranate?

Cut open the pomegranate and separate the individual seeds from the white membrane. The juicy red seeds are called arils. You can eat arils whole, add them to salads, yogurt, or cereal, juice them, or use for cooking and baking.

What’s the difference between pomegranate juice and grenadine?

Grenadine is a syrup made from pomegranate juice mixed with sugar and water. It has a very sweet flavor. Pure pomegranate juice has no added sugar, just crushed pomegranate seeds, and has a tart, winy taste

Are pomegranates good for skin?

Yes, pomegranates contain antioxidants and oils that nourish, protect, and hydrate the skin. The juice and oil help defend against UV damage and wrinkles. Applying them topically promotes healthy, youthful looking skin.

When is pomegranate season?

In the Northern hemisphere, pomegranates are in season from September through January, with peak season in October and November. In the Southern hemisphere, the season falls between February and May.

How do you pick a good pomegranate?

Choose pomegranates that feel heavy for their size with smooth, bright skin free of blemishes. Pomegranates do not continue ripening after picking, so harvest time matters. The best indication of freshness and flavor is the sound of the seeds when you shake it – look for a crisp water-like sound.

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