Can you eat the entire pomegranate seed?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat the entire pomegranate seed?” and discuss what are the benefits of eating whole pomegranate seeds.

Can you eat the entire pomegranate seed?

Yes, you can eat the entire pomegranate seed. Actually, the arils (the seeds and the fluids that surround them) are what you should be eating. Both arils and seeds have important but distinct properties to health.

According to studies, the edible portion comprises 50% of the total weight and the remaining 50% corresponds to the peel. In turn, the edible portion consists of juice (78% w/w) and seeds (22% w/w). 

What is the nutritional value of Pomegranate? 

There are many nutrients in pomegranate arils and seeds, making them an excellent supplement to the daily amount of fruit suggested by the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations, of ingesting 1-2 cups of fruits per day (2). 

The following nutrients and benefits are available in only a half-cup serving (6):

  • 72 calories
  • 27 g carbohydrates
  • 89 g sugar
  • 5 g fiber 
  • 9 mg Vitamin C 
  • 3 mcg Vitamin K3
  • 33 mcg of folate

What are the health benefits of eating pomegranates?

The health benefits of eating pomegranate are several and have been studied extensively, and as a consequence, many products made of pomegranate have emerged in the market, such as supplements, juices, powders and extracts. 

Pomegranates, in all their forms, may provide the following health advantages, according to research (1,3):

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease. Pomegranates may be able to decrease cholesterol levels, which in turn may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Inflammatory-fighting qualities. Many prevalent illnesses, including cancer and diabetes, may be protected by the fruit’s high vitamin C concentration, which may have anti-inflammatory properties (7). Pomegranate contains other anti-inflammatory compounds as well.
  • Helps decrease blood pressure. Pomegranate antioxidants may help decrease high blood pressure, which is good for the heart, arteries, and brain.
  • Erectile dysfunction treatment (ED). Nearly half of the participants in research who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day saw an improvement in their erections.
  • Certain cancers, such as prostate cancer, may be prevented. Pomegranate juice may delay the spread of prostate cancer cells, according to studies.

Are there any risks of eating pomegranate whole?

Yes, the risk related to the excessive intake of pomegranate seeds is to experience a phytobezoar, which, in a severe case, can lead to gastric obstruction and the need of a surgery (8).

Bezoars are masses produced by accumulation of undigested material such as fruit, hair, and milk in the gastrointestinal tract more frequently in the stomach. Phytobezoar is a bezoar consisting of fruit and vegetable fibers and can lead to small bowel obstruction. 

Ingesting an increased amount of pomegranate seed with inadequate chewing is a risk factor, as they contain a high-fiber content, which is not digested.

Is Pomegranate good for weight loss?

Yes, pomegranate may be helpful in controlling obesity, according to studies.

In the pomegranate, the effects of xanthigen, a constituent in the seed oil, was studied for its thermogenic effects in obese non-diabetic female volunteers with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

The study reported that xanthigen promoted weight loss and decreased the body and liver fat content in obese non-diabetic women and also found that xanthigen increased resting energy expenditure, suggesting that it may be a promising food supplement in the management of obesity (4).

How to choose and store Pomegranate?

Choose a heavy pomegranate free from sunburn, growth cracks, cuts, bruises and decay. The coloration of the pomegranate peel varies from yellow, green, and pink, which in turn can go to intense red and dark purple (1). 

You should store it in a cold, dry location. Keep the pomegranate out of direct sunlight. You may also keep it in the fridge for up to two months, if necessary. However, studies showed that the storage at 5°C or lower resulted in chilling injury to the fruits (5).

Keep the arils or juice in the refrigerator for up to five days after you remove the peel. The arils may be stored in the freezer for up to a year if you aren’t ready to consume them yet.

How can you use Pomegranate?

In addition to the raw consumption of pomegranate pur or with other fruits, the addition to cereals, ice cream and salads, you can make  juices, jams, and jellies of pomegranate.

Alcoholic beverages are made of this fruit, and its extract can be added to yogurts and shakes. The seeds can be grinded and incorporated in the preparation of cakes, breads and meatballs (1).

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat the entire pomegranate seed?” and we discussed what are the benefits of eating whole pomegranate seeds.

Reference

  1. Valero-Mendoza, A. G., et al. The whole pomegranate (Punica granatum. L), biological properties and important findings: A review. Food Chem Adv, 2022, 100153.  
  2. Clemens, Roger, et al. Squeezing fact from fiction about 100% fruit juice. Adv Nutr, 2015, 6, 236S-243S.
  3. Suman, Mahaveer, and Prerak Bhatnagar. A review on proactive pomegranate one of the healthiest foods. Int J Chem Stud, 2019, 7, 189-194.
  4. Al-Muammar, May Nasser, and Fozia Khan. Obesity: the preventive role of the pomegranate (Punica granatum). Nutr, 2012, 28, 595-604.
  5. Elyatem, Salaheddin M., and Adel A. Kader. Post-harvest physiology and storage behaviour of pomegranate fruits. Scientia Horticulturae, 1984, 24, 287-298.
  6. Pomegranate. Food data base. United States Department of Agriculture.
  7. Vitamin C. National Institute of Health.
  8. Akrami, Majid, and Mohammad Reza Sasani. Dietary habits affect quality of life: bowel obstruction caused by phytobezoar. Iran J Public Health, 2016, 45, 1080.