Content

Introduction

Introduction

The pomegranate, the fruit of the pomegranate (a name with which the same fruit is often indicated), is an autumn / winter fruit, very rich in nutrients that give it beneficial properties for health.

Composition

Composition

The fruits of the pomegranate are rich in vitamin and provitamin A and in vitamin C.

The edible part of the pomegranate fruit, which represents more or less 50% of the total, is made up of 40% of internal grains (arils) and 10% of seeds.

The arils contain 80% of water, 16% of total sugars (mainly fructose and glucose), 2% of fibers consisting mainly of pectin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, and polyphenols, mainly anthocyanins which are those responsible for most of the protective activities including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ones.

The seeds also contain interesting nutrients: between 12 and 20% of the total weight is represented by the oil which contains about 70% of punicic acid, a fatty acid very similar to alpha linolenic acid which belongs to the omega-3 family. . Furthermore, the seeds contain most of the fiber, other vitamins and polyphenols. Therefore, by eliminating the seeds, a lot of nutrients are lost.

The other 50% of the total weight of the fruit corresponds to the peel which includes both the hard outer part and the inner white part that wraps the beans. The peel is also an important source of nutrients such as phenolic compounds (flavonoids, ellagitannins, proanthocyanidins), minerals (especially potassium, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium) and fiber.

Decoctions and infusions obtained using the bark are particularly rich in tannins and can have anti-haemorrhagic and anti-diarrheal activity.

Chemical composition per 100 grams of pomegranate:

  • leaves to eat (edible): 59%
  • water (grams, g): 80.5
  • proteins (g): 0.5
  • lipids (g): 0.2
  • cholesterol (milligrams, mg): 0
  • available carbohydrates (g): 15.9
  • starch (g): 0
  • soluble sugars (g): 15.9
  • total fiber (g): 2.2
  • soluble fiber (g): 0.26
  • insoluble fiber (g): 1.98
  • power (kilocalories): 63
  • power (kilojoule, kJ): 265
  • sodium (mg): 7
  • potassium (mg): 290
  • iron (mg): 0.3
  • football (mg): traces
  • phosphorus (mg): 10
  • thiamine (mg): 0.09
  • riboflavin (mg): 0.09
  • niacin (mg): 0.2
  • vitamin A retinol eq. (micrograms, µg): 15
  • C vitamin (mg): 8
Functions

Functions

Due to its nutrient composition, several beneficial properties have been attributed to the pomegranate.

The substances contained in it help to counteract the inflammatory states that underlie the development of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Polyphenols and, more precisely, the class of anthocyanins, in fact, seem capable of reducing oxidative and inflammatory processes, especially by increasing the body's internal antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and inhibiting various pro-inflammatory factors.

Regular consumption of pomegranate juice could, therefore, be helpful in several cases:

  • cardiovascular disease, more precisely hypertension and dyslipidemia. In fact, it promotes the reduction of blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Enriching a diet with pomegranate polyphenols can help prevent, or delay, the alterations in the blood vessel wall (endothelial dysfunction) which are among the first signs of atherosclerosis. It can also promote the effectiveness of antihypertensive therapies in "lowering blood pressure (arterial pressure)
  • diabetes, some studies on people at risk of diabetes, or already diabetic, have shown that some substances extracted from pomegranate seeds and peel are associated with a reduction in fasting glycaemia (blood sugar levels) and appear to be able to exercise a anti-diabetic action, for example by increasing the sensitivity of the response to insulin action. In particular, the consumption of foods containing anthocyanins, of which pomegranate juice is also rich, are associated with a reduced risk of onset of type diabetes 2
  • colds, flu, the vitamin C contained in the pomegranate fruit could stimulate the activity of the immune system and, therefore, have a protective activity in the forms of flu
Nutritional indications

Nutritional indications

The content of polyphenols, which are among the main responsible for the beneficial properties of the pomegranate, varies greatly depending on whether only the grains or the whole fruit are used.

The grains can be consumed directly but, since the translucent pulp adheres firmly to the seed, in order to be able to swallow it, it is also necessary to swallow the seed, small and woody. For this reason, most consumers prefer to drink the juice.

However, by eating the grains, you can take in a greater amount of water-soluble dietary fiber; by chewing them until the small woody seed inside the pulp breaks, you can also absorb important fatty acids, such as oleic acid, linoleic acid and lipoic acid.

The juice is not as sweet as the grains because in the act of pressing it also acts on the white part of the berry, releasing some compounds such as tannins, mucilages and other antioxidant compounds.

Since most of the phenolic compounds found in pomegranate are found in the peel and inner white part, commercial juices, which are made through a process in which whole fruits are squeezed, contain abundant levels of phenolic substances such as punicalagin, gallic acid and ellagic.

Furthermore, in the juice, especially the homemade one, perhaps using a simple juicer, the amount of fiber is much lower.

The residual solid material (marc), obtained after commercial pressing, consisting of peel, white part (mesocarp) and seed tissues, still has a considerable amount of polyphenols (20.1%).

Indications, contraindications and warnings

Indications, contraindications and warnings

For the pomegranate there is no scientific evidence of drug interaction; however, it is always a good idea not to consume one type of food excessively, because the fundamental principle to follow in order to eat properly is to vary the foods in the diet as much as possible.

Furthermore, by eating whole grains very often, the seeds contained in them could cause intestinal problems, especially if in the presence of diverticula.

However, consider food as gods "natural drugs"It is very difficult as well as partly wrong. The pomegranate contains substances that are potentially beneficial for the body, but it is always good not to abuse them nor to use them, on their own initiative, as a" therapy "for some particular condition, especially where it is necessary to follow the doctor's prescriptions and take medications.

Bibliography

Bibliography

Humanitas Research Hospital. pomegranate

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