The pomegranate (rumman) is one of the oldest known fruits and is mentioned in the Qur'an as a fruit from those in Paradise.
"In them both (gardens) will be fruits, and date palms and pomegranates" (55:68)
The word 'pomegranate' is the Latin combination of the words pomum, meaning 'apple' and granatum meaning 'grainy' or 'seeded'.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamins B and C, and many antioxidants. Pomegranate juice has three times the amount of polyphenols that are found in green tea. Polyphenols are antioxidants that in theory may protect against cancer and heart disease.
Ibn al-Qayyim in his book "The Prophetic Medicine" mentioned two types of pomegranate: sweet and sour. Some of the health benefits he mentioned for a sweet pomegranate are that it is good for the stomach, throat, chest and lungs, it can help a cough, and is excellent nourishment for the body. Sour pomegranate can be beneficial for an inflamed stomach, cuts short diarrhoea, and can prevent vomiting.
Modern research has linked the pomegranate with the following health benefits:
- Supports cardiovascular health; a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that patients who drank pomegranate juice daily had improved heart function.
- Help support a healthy immune system;
- Help support normal blood pressure levels;
- Help maintain healthy joint function;
- Assist in maintaining oral/dental health;
- Can inhibit cancer cell growth;
The sources for some of the studies conducted into the health benefits of pomegranates can be found in the references given at the end of the article.
Although extracting the seeds from the pomegranates can be tricky and time-consuming, it is well worth the effort, considering the great health benefits. They can be enjoyed whole in savory or sweet dishes, or the juice can be extracted to make a refreshing drink.
References for further information
- Adams LS, Seeram NR Aggarwal BB, Takada Y, Sand D, Heber D. Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 8;54(3):980-985.
- Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):195-198.
- Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hofman A, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Hayek T, Fuhrman B. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2002;28(2-3):49-62.
- Azadzoi KM, Schulman RN, Aviram M, Siroky MB. Oxidative stress in arteriogenic erectile dysfunction: prophylactic role of antioxidants. J Urol. 2005 Jul;174(1): 386-393.
- De M, Krishna De A, Banerjee AB. Antimicrobial screening of some Indian spices. Phytother Res. 1999 Nov; 13(7):616-623.
- Jeune MA, Kumi-Diaka J, Brown J. Anticancer activities of pomegranate extracts and genistein in human breast cancer cells. I Med Food. 2005;8(4):469-475.
- Loren DJ, Seeram NP, Schulman RN, Holtzman DM. Maternal dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice is neuroprotective in an animal model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Pediatr Res. 2005 June;57(6):858-864.
- Malik A, Afaq F, Sarfaraz S, Adhami VM, Syed DN, Hukhtar H. Pomegranate fruit juice for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of prostate cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Oct 11;102(41):14813-14818.
- Mori-Okamoto J, Otawara-Hamamoto Y, Yamato H, Yoshimura H. Pomegranate extract improves a depressive state and bone properties in menopausal syndrome model ovariectomized mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 May;92(1):93-101.
- Pantuck AJ, Leppert JT, Zomorodian N, Aronson W, Hong J, Barnard RJ, Seeram N, Liker H, Wang H, Elashoff R, Heber D, Aviram M, Ignarro L, Belldegrun A. Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. Clin cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-4026.
- Sumner MD, Elliott-Eller M, Weidner G, Daubenmier JJ, Chew MH, Marlin R, Raisin CJ, Ornish D. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on myocardial perfusion in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2005 Sep 15;96(6):810-813.