Can you eat the hard part of a pomegranate seed?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat the hard part of a pomegranate seed?” and discuss what are the benefits of eating the hard part of a pomegranate seed.
Can you eat the hard part of a pomegranate seed?
Yes, you can eat the hard part of a pomegranate seed. The seeds are theoretically not to be eaten and considered a waste material. However, it can be ingested. The seed of the pomegranate fruit is located inside the arils.
The edible part of the pomegranate fruit (50%) consists of 40% arils and 10% seeds. The fresh juice contains 85% water, 10% total sugars, 1.5% pectin, ascorbic acid and polyphenolic flavonoids (2).
What is the composition of the hard part of a pomegranate seed?
The composition of dried part of pomegranate seed transformed to a powdered form is 15.66% protein, 18.24% lipid, 52.22% dietary fiber (6).
In addition, it contains antioxidants and high concentrations of conjugated fatty acids such as conjugated linolenic acid.
What are the benefits of eating the hard part of a pomegranate seed?
Although considered a by-product of the pomegranate and being discarded by many, the hard part of the pomegranate seeds have many health benefits. The seeds are sources of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants; phenolic acids and oils (1).
The hard part of pomegranate seeds is a source of many antioxidant compounds, including anthocyanins, phenolics and flavonols.
Antioxidants work to prevent this damage by providing electrons to the free radicals, thus stabilizing them and protecting the cell components from the harmful impact of these free radicals (2). Oxidative damage (oxidation) to the cells is partly responsible for the effects of aging and certain diseases.
In addition, the hard part of pomegranate seeds is rich in oil, including palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic acid, in addition to four isomers of linolenic acid and 9-cis, 11-trans, 13-cis, octadecatrienoic acid the most important of which is known as punicic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid classified as conjugated linolenic acid.
The ingestion of punicic acid in pomegranate seed can inhibit or reduce the incidence of multiple forms of colon cancers. It is also reported to have antidiabetic properties and to be protective against skin cancer.
The seeds also contain fibers. A diet rich in dietary fibers is reported to have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels, the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease and ease constipation (6).
What are the risks of eating the hard part of a pomegranate seed?
The risk related to the excessive intake of the hard part of pomegranate seeds is to experience a phytobezoar, which, in a severe case, can lead to gastric obstruction and the need of a surgery (5).
Pomegranate seed contains lignin, cellulose and polysaccharides and therefore, are only partially digested by the human digestive system (6).
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 the hard part of pomegranate seeds with inadequate chewing is a risk factor, as they contain a high-fiber content, which is not digested.
How to include the hard part of pomegranates in your diet?
You can include the hard part of pomegranate in bakery products. After being extracted from their juice, the hard part of pomegranate seeds may be grounded and added to cakes, breads and to meatloafs (6).
A study showed that the incorporation of up to 10% of pomegranate seed powder in the production of bread was able to improve the amounts of antioxidants, fibers and phytochemicals of the bread, making it a functional food, that is, a food with improved health benefits.
Other FAQs about Pomegranate that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat the hard part of a pomegranate seed?” and we discussed what are the benefits of eating the hard part of a pomegranate seed.
- Valero-Mendoza, A. G., et al. The whole pomegranate (Punica granatum. L), biological properties and important findings: A review. Food Chem Adv, 2022, 100153.
- Suman, Mahaveer, and Prerak Bhatnagar. A review on proactive pomegranate one of the healthiest foods. Int J Chem Stud, 2019, 7, 189-194.
- Elyatem, Salaheddin M., and Adel A. Kader. Post-harvest physiology and storage behaviour of pomegranate fruits. Scientia Horticulturae, 1984, 24, 287-298.
- Dhumal, S. S., et al. Recent advances and the developments in the pomegranate processing and utilization: a review. J Agric Crop Sci, 2014, 1, 1-17.
- Akrami, Majid, and Mohammad Reza Sasani. Dietary habits affect quality of life: bowel obstruction caused by phytobezoar. Iran J Public Health, 2016, 45, 1080.
- Gül, Hülya, and Hicran Şen. Effects of pomegranate seed flour on dough rheology and bread quality. CyTA-J Food, 2017, 15, 622-628.