General Health

Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

The vibrant red color makes pomegranate seeds look like beautiful jewels. And in a way they are. But, for our quality of life, of course!

Pomegranate seeds are popular across the globe, and you’re probably thinking about giving them a try.

If you’ve ever seen this fruit or opened it, you probably wondered can you eat pomegranate seeds. Can you? What benefits to expect? In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these seeds.

Potential benefits

The pomegranate tree, or Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing shrub from the Lythraceae family. The fruit is round, reddish-brown, and has a hard and smooth exterior. Seeds are red and vibrant. Pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits in the world. 

This fruit originated in the area extending from Iran to northern India. People have cultivated pomegranates throughout the Mediterranean region since ancient times. Traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda relied on pomegranate, like other fruits and herbs, to prevent or manage various health problems. 

Indeed, pomegranate seed is safe for consumption. The seeds can improve your health in many ways. Below we are going to discuss the benefits of pomegranate seeds. 

1) Nutrients

Did you know that pomegranates are considered berries? Although the skin is inedible, seeds are delicious. Each seed is surrounded by red, juicy, and sweet covering called pomegranate aril. Seeds and juicy aril are edible and deliver a wide range of nutrients to your body.

Half a cup of pomegranate arils (87g) contains a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, including:

  • Fiber: 3.5g

  • Protein: 1.5g

  • Vitamin C: 8.9mg (15% of RDI or recommended daily intake)

  • Vitamin E: 0.5mg (3% of RDI)

  • Vitamin K: 14.3mcg (18% of RDI)

  • Folate: 33.1mcg (8% of RDI)

  • Potassium: 205mg (6% of RDI)

2) Fiber

Pomegranate is a decent source of dietary fiber. With half a cup, you get 3.5g, meaning 7g of fiber is in one cup. Eating pomegranate seeds is a great way to get more fiber and experience all benefits it provides. 

The body needs fiber for many functions, such as:

  • Normal bowel movements

  • Digestive health support 

  • Healthy cholesterol levels 

  • Regulation of blood sugar levels

  • Weight-loss support and maintenance

  • Longer life 

Fiber creates a feeling of fullness. You don’t get hungry too quickly. This means that you also don’t overeat or crave unhealthy snacks. That’s how fiber helps you slim down and maintain your weight loss. If you’ve ever wondered why weight loss tips always suggest we need to eat fiber, now you know. Healthy eating is vital for healthy gut and weight, and pomegranates fit in perfectly. 

3) Antioxidants

A great deal of health benefits of eating pomegranate lies in punicalagin, an extremely powerful antioxidant. These antioxidants are mainly prevalent in juice and peel. Thanks to these polyphenol compounds, pomegranate may have a higher antioxidant potential than red wine and green tea.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress and damage it would cause. Evidence shows that antioxidants from pomegranate protect health in many ways.

For example, they could aid in the management of prostate cancer. Antioxidants inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Antioxidants from pomegranate play a role in preventing and managing breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and colon cancer

Additionally, antioxidants protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Pomegranate juice, made from the seed, of course, can reduce systolic blood pressure. Also, the consumption of pomegranate seeds and juice can reduce LDL cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol, which harms the heart and cardiovascular system. Drinking pomegranate juice can do wonders for your health. 

Antioxidants are also beneficial for your skin. They neutralize free radicals and prevent them from impairing skin elasticity, collagen levels, and more. That’s why many beauty and skincare products contain antioxidants, including those from pomegranates. 

The rich antioxidant content of fresh pomegranate seeds can promote osteoarthritis management and reduce the onset and incidence of collagen-induced arthritis. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, these antioxidants decrease the severity of the condition and joint inflammation.

4) Fatty acids

The primary fatty acid in pomegranate arils is punicic acid. 

Punicic acid (PA) is polyunsaturated acid, which is categorized as conjugated linoleic acid. This fatty acid is powerful. Studies confirm it possesses various biological properties, including anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, antiproliferative, and anticarcinogenic effects. 

More precisely, pomegranate extract can help you lose weight and manage pre prevent diabetes because of PA. Punicic acid decreases blood sugar levels, improves glucose-normalizing ability, and suppresses obesity-related inflammation.

When you combine PA, antioxidants, and many nutrients, it’s easy to understand why pomegranate seeds are so good for you. Many consider pomegranate as a superfood. Now you know why!

Punicic acid can also lower inflammation. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is a contributing risk factor for many health problems, especially autoimmune conditions. 

This fatty acid is good for the heart too. Evidence confirms that punicic acid supports HDL or good cholesterol levels, lowers triglycerides, and prevents or aids the management of heart disease.

Let’s sum up all the significant health benefits of pomegranate seeds. 

All these benefits are a result of rich nutrient content, antioxidants, and punicic acid. They include:

How to get the most out of pomegranates

Pomegranate fruit and the seeds are incredibly good for you. Although peel is inedible, people dry it and save to make tea. Tea is a good source of antioxidants too. 

To get the most out of pomegranates, you need to learn how to choose them. The goal is to pick a ripe, delicious, and nutritious fresh pomegranate. 

The best time to get pomegranates is in the fall, starting in September. Pomegranates stay in season for a short period only, usually until December or January. Always strive to keep an eye on pomegranate season. That way, you’ll get all the wonderful nutrients they contain. 

Besides buying in season, you need to know what to look for in a perfect pomegranate. 

First, look for the right shape. However, generally, round pomegranates should be slightly flattened with angular sides.

Once you find the right shape, take a look at the skin. Keep in mind that their color ranges from red to brownish. Light red pomegranate isn’t necessarily less delicious. The color is all about your preferences. Some people prefer light red while others dark, deep red pomegranates. 

When it comes to the skin, color isn’t a huge factor, but smoothness is. Perfect pomegranate has smooth skin.

Yet another important thing to do is to check how heavy pomegranate is. The heavier the fruit, the juicier it is. If you want ripe pomegranate will full and juicy seeds, then buy a heavier one.

The trickiest part for many people is deseeding. Many of us struggle to deseed pomegranates and remove the white membrane. Most people have their unique methods. If you’re inexperienced, this will help you out:

  • Score pomegranate around the middle. Cut shallow enough that you don’t cut seeds inside, but deep enough to pierce the skin

  • Pull apart two halves

  • Submerge both halves of pomegranate in a bowl of water

  • Turn the halves upside down and hammer or whack the skin with sturdy object or spoon

  • Scoop floating pith out of water 

  • Drain the water, and you’re ready to eat seeds 

You can always get pomegranate deseeder and simplify the process. 

Pomegranate seed recipes

Pomegranate seeds are delicious and versatile. You can eat them alone or incorporate them into different recipes and ingredients. Take a look at some of the most amazing recipes below.

Winter fruit salad

Everyone loves fruit salad, but it doesn’t have to be reserved for summer. You can make a perfect fruit salad in winter and boost your immune system at the same time. It’s easy! See the recipe for pomegranate salad below.

Ingredients:

  • Clementine (peeled, separated) – 5

  • Pears (cored, sliced) – 2

  • Apples (cored, sliced) – 2

  • Pomegranate (seeded) – 1

  • Kiwi (peeled, sliced) – 4

  • Honey – 3tbsp

  • Lime juice (fresh) – 2tbsp

  • Lemon juice (fresh) – 2tbsp

Instructions:

  • Take a large mixing bowl and combine all fruits

  • Take a measuring cup and stir together honey, lime juice, and lemon juice. Stir until honey dissolves 

  • Drizzle honey dressing over salad and toss to coat everything

Roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts

You’ve probably never thought of combining pomegranate seeds with roasted Brussels sprouts. Nothing is stopping you now. Brussels sprouts and pomegranate are a perfect match. Get the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts (trimmed, halved) – 1 ¼ lb

  • Canola oil – 2tbsp

  • Pomegranate molasses – 3tbsp

  • Pomegranate seeds – from 1 fruit

  • Hazelnuts (chopped, toasted) – ½ cup

  • Lime zest – from 1 fruit

  • Orange zest – 1tbsp

  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)

  • Put Brussels sprouts in a roasting pan and toss with canola oil, salt, and pepper

  • Roast Brussels sprouts in the oven until light golden brown, for about 45 minutes

  • Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl

  • Add pomegranate molasses, seeds, hazelnuts, and lime and orange zests to sprouts in the bowl

  • Season with salt and pepper if necessary

TIP: you can also add kale if you like.

Pomegranate smoothie

Not only are smoothies delicious, but they are beneficial for your health. Pomegranate smoothie keeps you full and enriches the body with various nutrients.

Ingredients: 

  • Pears (sliced) – 1 cup

  • Banana – 1

  • Pomegranate arils – ¼ cup

  • Strawberries – 2 cups

  • Ginger (minced) – 2tsp

  • Ice cubes – 1 cup

  • Fresh pomegranate juice – 1 cup

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients in the blender

  • Blend for 90 seconds or until mixture is smooth

  • Pour into two glasses and enjoy

Avocado cups with pomegranate salsa verde

Pomegranate seeds are easy to combine with different meals and ingredients. Avocados and snacks aren’t the exceptions. Here’s a great recipe for a healthful snack. 

Ingredients: 

  • Cilantro (chopped) – ¼ cup

  • Mint (chopped) – ¼ cup

  • Olive oil – 1tbsp

  • Pomegranate seeds – 2tbsp

  • Lemon juice – 1tbsp

  • Lemon peel (chopped) – 1tbsp

  • Avocados (ripe, halved, pitted) – 4

  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients except avocados, salt, and pepper into a bowl 

  • Whisk thoroughly

  • Scoop the mixture into halved avocados 

  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper 

Fruit kefir salad

Here’s yet another fruit salad you’ll want to try this winter. Your loved ones will adore it. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Kefir – 2 ½ cups

  • Mint (leaves picked) – 1 bunch

  • Lime juice – from 2 fruits

  • Cantaloupe (sliced into bite-size pieces) – 1 cup

  • Honeydew (sliced into bite-size pieces) – 1 cup

  • Persimmon (diced) – ½ cup

  • Pomegranate seeds – from 1 fruit

  • Kiwi (peeled, sliced) – 2 

  • Mango (pitted, peeled, diced) – 1 

  • Toasted sesame oil – ¼ cups + 2tbsp

  • Sea salt – a pinch

Instructions:

  • In a bowl combine kefir, mint, and lime juice

  • Pour the mixture into a large platter

  • Mix all the fruit and ¼ cup of sesame oil into the bowl where kefir was 

  • Start arranging fruit on top of the kefir mixture on the platter

  • Drizzle the fruit salad with the remainder of sesame oil (2tbsp) and sprinkle with mint leaves and sea salt 

TIP: if you don’t like the “regular” kefir, you can use coconut flavor. You can also use yogurt instead of kefir.

Pomegranate mocktail 

Mocktails are a great way to have fun, drink something delicious, and avoid consuming alcohol. You’ll love this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pomegranate seeds – 3tbsp

  • Mint – big bunch

  • Limes (quartered) – 2 fruits + slices for garnish

  • Pomegranate juice – 4 cups (1l)

  • Lemonade – 2 cups (500ml)

Instructions:

  • A day ahead, divide pomegranate seeds between the holes in the ice cube tray

  • Top up seeds with water and freeze

  • Divide the mint: one half for serving and the other half should go in a large jug 

  • Add lime quarters into the jug too

  • Bash mint and lime, so they release flavors. You can use a rolling pin to do so

  • Add pomegranate juice and lemonade into the jug

  • Put ice cubs with pomegranate seeds into each glass 

  • Pour ice cubs with pomegranate mix

  • Garnish with mint and lime slices

Conclusion

Pomegranate seeds are safe to eat. They are both delicious and healthful. Consumption of pom seeds delivers vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, punicic acid, and other useful nutrients.

Pomegranate seeds support weight loss and protect us from various health problems. They are easy to combine with other ingredients and meals. Experiment and make your unique desserts and meals with pomegranate seeds. You and your family will love them.

Sources

  1. Pomegranates, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories, Nutrition Data https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2038/2
  2. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983
  3. Gil, M. I., Tomás-Barberán, F. A., Hess-Pierce, B., Holcroft, D. M., & Kader, A. A. (2000). Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry48(10), 4581–4589. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf000404a
  4. Zarfeshany, A., Asgary, S., & Javanmard, S. H. (2014). Potent health effects of pomegranate. Advanced biomedical research3, 100. https://doi.org/10.4103/2277-9175.129371
  5. Aruna P, Venkataramanamma D, Kumar Singh A, Singh RP. (2015). Health benefits of punicic acid: a review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 15(1):16-27. https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12171
  6. Hontecillas, R., O’Shea, M., Einerhand, A., Diguardo, M., & Bassaganya-Riera, J. (2009). Activation of PPAR gamma and alpha by punicic acid ameliorates glucose tolerance and suppresses obesity-related inflammation. Journal of the American College of Nutrition28(2), 184–195. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2009.10719770
  7. Mirmiran, P., Fazeli, M. R., Asghari, G., Shafiee, A., & Azizi, F. (2010). Effect of pomegranate seed oil on hyperlipidaemic subjects: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. The British journal of nutrition104(3), 402–406. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114510000504

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