Pomegranate Dieting

Introduction and background

The pomegranate, with its distinctive scarlet rind (pericarp) and vibrantly colored seed cases (arils), is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world. This exotic fruit features prominently in religious texts and mythological tales and has been revered through the ages for its medicinal properties. The fruit comes from a small, bush-like tree that is native to an area spanning Iran to the Himalayas in northern India, and has been cultivated extensively in the subtropical regions of Asia and Africa, as well as in California. The pomegranate, once considered rare and exotic, is now finding a place in many U.S. supermarkets. The tiny red sacs inside the pomegranate yield a tart, delicious juice high in nutritional value. Because of its sugar content, it is not advisable to base a diet mostly on pomegranate juice. However, if used properly, pomegranate juice can help with weight loss.


What’s so special in pomegranate?

Pomegranate preparations contain a wealth of bioactive compounds. Aside from being a good source of vitamins (B1, B2, C and niacin) and minerals (particularly potassium), pomegranates are rich in anthocyanins and hydrolyzed tannins. The anthocyanins delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin are the polyphenolic flavonoid pigments responsible for the deep colors and antioxidant capabilities of blueberries, cranberries, and grapes. Pomegranates are an especially potent source of the hydrolyzed tannins punicalagin, ellagic acid, and gallic acid.

While these compounds are potent antioxidants in their own right, they have also been extensively studied for their properties supporting healthy cell maintenance. Numerous clinical studies of these three compounds have illustrated their detoxification ability, DNA protection, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, and liver protection. And while it may seem counterintuitive, commercially processed pomegranate preparations actually contain more of these beneficial polyphenols than fresh pomegranate. Several recent experimental and clinical studies support the therapeutic value of pomegranate preparations and derivatives, especially for the cardiovascular system.

In a clinical study of ten human subjects, pomegranate juice polyphenols lowered the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) by 36%. ACE inhibition has been postulated to improve cardiovascular health by a number of mechanisms, including the inhibition of platelet aggregation and reduction of lipid peroxidation. In laboratory studies of human endothelial cells, pomegranate flavonoids increased the production of prostacyclin, a potent vasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation and cell adhesion.

Laboratory studies of pomegranate juice and seed extracts showed that they are inhibitors of lipoxygenase, the enzyme that catalyses the formation of leukotrienes and may play a role in arterial plaque formation and inflammation. A two-week study of healthy male volunteers consuming pomegranate juice demonstrated a significant reduction of low density lipoprotein (LDL) aggregation and retention. In the same study, pomegranate juice increased the activity of paraoxonase, an enzyme that may protect against lipid oxidative damage. Similar results were seen in a mouse model, with pomegranate tannins increasing the cellular release of cholesterol by 39% (the cholesterol could be disposed of as it was no longer being stored) and lowering LDL oxidation by 31%.

One animal study published showed that pomegranate juice may reduce the buildup of harmful proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease by half. In laboratory tests of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC; a standard for antioxidant capacity established by the FDA), fresh pomegranate fruit and juice preparations surpassed the antioxidant activities of green tea, red wine, cranberry, blueberry, and grape juices, all of which have been venerated for their free-radical defensive properties.

Pomegranate polyphenols have been shown in the laboratory to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the formation of the new blood vessels (angiogenesis), which supports the fruit’s role in maintaining healthy cell replication. Evidence is also accumulating to support the benefits of pomegranate juice in supporting immune, prostate and cognitive health.


Pomegranate juice and weight loss

Pomegranate juice, like all fresh juices, is cleansing for your liver and digestive system. However, those looking to lose weight should focus mainly on vegetable juices, which are lower in sugar. Try mixing one part fresh pomegranate juice with two parts vegetable juice, like spinach, carrot or celery. The strong, sweeter taste of the pomegranate juice will overpower the vegetable taste, helping you get more vegetables in your diet. The American Heart Association reports that obesity is one of the risk factors for heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. While pomegranate juice alone may not directly induce weight loss, it is an ideal choice for overweight or obese individuals trying to lose weight, as they are also at risk for these heart problems.



Pomegranate juice is an important nutrient for dieting, anti-aging and other health. Antioxidants and other nutrients in pomegranate juice have been shown to support appetite suppression, cardiovascular, immune, prostate and cognitive health. Anyone that has ever tried to lose weight knows that it is an uphill battle. Incorporating the fruit pomegranate into your diet will make that battle a little less difficult. In addition to exercising and eating a clean diet, adding pomegranate to your diet will surely help you lose the pounds easier as it is brimming with CLA, antioxidants and polyphenols, all of which help you burn fat and boost your metabolism.