Pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit bearing shrub or small tree.
The name pomegranate is derived from ancient Latin where pomum meaning ‘apple’ and granatum meaning ‘seeded’.
It is native to Iran and northeast Turkey.
Pomegranates have been used as a traditional medicine besides for their taste.
Pomegranates have been mentioned in ancient writings for their health benefits.
It has been described even in scripts dated 1500 BC to cure certain diseases that are caused by tapeworms and intestinal parasites.
100 g of pomegranate has:
- Carbohydrates : 18.7g
- Fats : 1.2g
- Dietary fiber : 4g
- Sugars : 13.7g
- Sodium : 3mg
- Calcium :10mg
- Potassium : 236mg
- Protein : 1.7g
Let’s have a look at how exactly pomegranate helps in promoting weight loss and its management.
Why pomegranate can help in weight loss
Pomegranate shows strong anti-tumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
These properties are due to the presence of tannins, anthocyanin and high level of flavonoids and polyphenols.
These constituents play a major role in imparting weight loss property to pomegranate.
1. Pomegranate stimulates fat reduction and prevent insulin resistance
Pomegranate is a rich source of punicic acid.
A study conducted Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands demonstrated that obese and insulin resistant mice after feeding with pomegranate seed oil for 12 weeks showed lower body weight, significant decrease in body fat and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity.
A research study was conducted at The Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, China to investigate the anti-obesity effects of pomegranate leaf extract (PLE).
Obese mice were treated with this extract for 5 weeks. It was observed that obesity and hyperlipidaemia were inhibited by the PLE. Scientists concluded that PLE can be a novel appetite suppressant too.
Another study conducted to investigate the benefits of pomegranate seed oil (PSO) on hyperlipidaemic subjects showed that PSO has favourable effects on the lipid profiles.
Insulin resistance is associated with weight gain and obesity.
Pomegranate is a good source of anthocyanins. A scientific study demonstrated that anthocyanins reduce dyslipidaemia, enhances antioxidant capacity and prevents insulin resistance in diabetic patients.
A review conducted in the King Saud University, Saudi Arabia mentions pomegranate as a preventive agent against obesity. This is mainly because of the tannin, anthocyanin, antioxidants and flavonoid content in them.
What it means? Pomegranate through various mechanisms is found to promote fat reduction and prevents insulin resistance thereby averting the risk of obesity.
2. Pomegranate enhances satiety, appetite control and prevent over-eating
Dietary fiber has a great physiological effect on satiation because of its properties of bulk addition and viscosity impartment.
These fibers prolong the intestinal phase of digestion and absorption. This provides a good time for macronutrients to trigger the signals of satiation and thus prevent in over eating. This property of dietary fiber is highly beneficial in weight management.
Pomegranate is a great source of dietary fiber. They consist of around 11.3g per fruit providing 45% of the daily need of dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber withdraws water and holds on to it. This results in expanding of dietary fiber in stomach enhancing the satiety. As a result, food is absorbed slowly preventing the intake of unnecessary calories.
What it means? Pomegranate is a great source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber enhances satiation, appetite control and thus helps in controlling body weight.
3. Pomegranate is a low calorie food
It is essential to have a diet regime low on calories to achieve a better control on weight.
Pomegranate contains 83 calories in 100 g of serving. It is absolutely free of cholesterol and saturated fats. Compare this with 100 gms of pizza which has close to 260 calories or a Big Mac which has 250+ calories.
Researchers have proved that pomegranate positively helps in breaking down cholesterol. This helps in losing weight since high cholesterol content in the body can lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plague.
Fruits like pomegranate are low energy density food.
Energy density is the number of calories in a specific amount of food. Low energy density foods help to satisfy hunger at a low total intake of calories.
These foods work wonders in weight management as the net amount of calorie intake remains low even if the total bulk of food consumed is high.
Thus these foods can be consumed frequently without worrying about the total calorie intake.
What it means? Pomegranates are a low energy density food. Thus, they help to satiate huger with low total calorie intake. This property of pomegranates works wonders in weight management.
4. Pomegranate prevents oxidative stress prevalent in obesity
Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species and body’s ability to counteract the harmful effects through their neutralization.
Reports show that oxidative stress can lead Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease; myocardial infarction, ADHD, cancer and heart failure.
It is observed that a high fat diet which is prevalent in obese people is responsible for building up oxidative stresses.
Lipid peroxidation involves oxidative degradation of lipids leading to the generation of free radicals that damage cells.
A study conducted in the Hamdard University, New Delhi, India showed that oral administration of pomegranates for 21 days resulted in significant reduction in fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglycerides and tissue lipid peroxidation levels. Thus pomegranate extract can be used in the treatment of hyper lipid peroxidation levels.
A study conducted in the Oklahoma State University, USA concluded that pomegranate polyphenols help to lower lipid peroxidation in the type 2 diabetes people.
What it means? Oxidative stress can cause serious chronic disorders. High fat diet most commonly observed in obese people is one of the major culprits in inducing oxidative stress. Scientific studies have proved that pomegranates are effective in preventing high fat diet induced oxidative stress.
How to have pomegranate?
It is recommended to consume pomegranate as a fruit rather than drinking juice as essential dietary fiber is removed while preparing the juice.
Also, if you take “ready to drink juice” available in market, the high sugar content will supply high calories defeating the purpose of consuming pomegranates to aid in weight loss.
Pomegranate is one of the healthiest foods.
A single pomegranate supplies a plethora of antioxidants, anthocyanins, tannins, dietary fiber and flavonoids.
These constituents help to burn fat, enhance satiety, prevent oxidative stress and stimulate weight loss.
Besides, pomegranates are a low calorie food. Thus, they are excellent hunger busters as they satisfy hunger at a low calorie intake.
Care should be taken to consume pomegranate fruit rather than marketed pomegranate juices as these juices as many maybe nothing but concentrated sugar syrups and have low therapeutic usage.
Eat pomegranate daily and achieve a better control on your weight!