Pomegranate seeds are nutrient-dense snacks that may take a bit more work to enjoy, but the health benefits are well worth the effort.
What are Pomegranate Seeds?
Pomegranate seeds are the seeds found in the pomegranate fruit, which comes from the Punica granatum tree. Unlike many other fruits, in which the seeds are either discarded or only used as a secondary by-product, the pomegranate seeds are the only edible part of this fruit. The fruit is made of two parts, the tough outer rind, and the white inner membrane, or pith. When you split open a pomegranate, there will be between 250 and 1400 pomegranate seeds inside, each encased in an aril and a single edible seed.
Eating these seeds delivers a refreshing burst of tart flavor, as well as an impressive range of nutrients. Pomegranates originated in the Middle East and spread to the Mediterranean region, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, although now this fruit is widely distributed and grown around the world.
Pomegranate Seeds Nutrition
Pomegranate seeds, encased in an aril that contains juice, are low in calories, high in vitamins, dietary fiber, and phytochemicals. The hundreds of seeds in each pomegranate fruit contain folate, manganese, phosphorous, iron, potassium, copper, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E. In a 100-gram serving of these seeds, there are only about 85 calories, making it a great addition to a weight loss diet. A single serving also provides more than 10% of your dietary fiber needs for the day, along with various polyphenolic compounds, tannins, volatile acids, and antioxidants that can affect your health in a variety of ways.
Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds
Packed with unique antioxidants, the seeds of the pomegranate are able to prevent wrinkles and age spots while keeping your skin youthful and tight as you age.
Some of the tannins and phenolic compounds in these seeds are known to reduce the immune response to inflammatory triggers, helping to reduce pain and irritation.
Antioxidants present in these seeds have been linked to boosting cognition and lowering your risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Reduce Cardiovascular Issues
The hypotensive effects of these seeds are well-known, while the dietary fiber can help to lower cholesterol. Both of these factors combine to protect overall heart health and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Being relatively low in calories and fat, but full of fiber, water, and B vitamins, these seeds can fill you up and speed up the metabolism to increase weight loss efforts.
How to Store Pomegranate Seeds?
If you buy a pomegranate and want to store it for an extended period of time, or have opened one of these fruits and want to save the seeds, there are a few best practices, including storage in the refrigerator.
You can store whole pomegranates in the crisper of your refrigerator for 3-4 weeks before they start to lose potency and flavor. If the fruit has already been opened, place the seeds in an airtight plastic bag, removing the air first, and then store them in the freezer.
Side Effects of Pomegranate Seeds
While there are many benefits of these seeds, there are some potential side effects, including dangerously low blood pressure, complications with gastrointestinal effects, and potential allergic reactions. The majority of these complications are due to eating an excessive amount of these seeds, so moderation is strongly recommended. However, if you experience any moderate or severe allergic reactions, discontinue the use of this fruit immediately.