If you think of the produce section as a treasure trove of healthy jewels, ruby-colored pomegranates are prized gems, but they’re often overlooked for bigger, more popular prizes. It’s easy to see why: they are a bit confusing. Even healthy eaters struggle with knowing how to cut a pomegranate or what the heck to do with it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the fruit, pomegranates are red fruits traditionally grown in the Mediterranean region (the land of so many healthy foods). Inside, it’s full of seeds called arils, which are the main edible part of the fruit. Pomegranates are super sweet, with a slightly tart taste.
In addition to being eaten whole, enjoying the fruit in its juiced form is one of the most popular ways to consume it. You’ll often find pomegranate juice right in the refrigerated section of the produce area at the store. You can also make it yourself using fresh pomegranates by seeding the pomegranates and then blending the seeds and pulp using a blender until the consistency is smooth.
Besides being a sweet sip, there are also many benefits to pomegranate juice. Here, registered dietitian and Verywell general manager Rachel Berman, RD, explains the benefits as well as any side effects to be aware of. Plus, ideas for creative ways to sip on it at home.
9 pomegranate juice benefits that make it a delicious and healthy drink:
1. pomegranate juice is high in antioxidants.
Berman says that one of the differences between consuming pomegranate juice versus the fruit in its whole form as that you’re losing out on some of the nutrients, including fiber and vitamin A. But pomegranate’s high antioxidant content isn’t lost at all when you enjoy it as a beverage. “Pomegranate juice is a rich source of punicalagins, which are powerful antioxidants,” she says. Punicalagins have been linked to helping reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, according to scientific studies.
2. It may improve brain health
One scientific study of adults with mild memory complaints found that participants who consumed pomegranate juice did better on memory tests than those who didn’t. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that the antioxidants help with blood flow to the brain, which is good for cognitive function. Another study on rats found that consuming pomegranate juice was linked to reducing inflammatory markers in the brain, suggesting another link between the juice and brain health.
3. it helps reduce inflammation
Another pomegranate juice benefit thanks to its high antioxidant content is that it can help reduce inflammation, fighting free radicals in the body that can cause damage to your body’s cells. This is connected to everything from rejuvenating skin to warding off chronic diseases, including cognitive impairment.
4. It offers some Immune-Boosting Vitamin C
Berman says that while store-bought pomegranate juice tends to have lost some of the fruit’s vitamin C content (eight ounces typically has 0.25 milligrams of vitamin C, while a cup of the fruit itself has 18 milligrams of vitamin C), if you make your own, much of it can be retained through the pulp. This means that sipping fresh pomegranate juice can potentially help boost your immune system, in conjunction with other healthy habits, of course. For extra immunity benefits, add a bit of ginger and turmeric.
Looking for other healthy, immune-boosting foods? Check out the video below:
5. pomegranate juice is good for your skin
The combined powers of the punicalagins and vitamin C make pomegranate juice a pretty fantastic beauty beverage. Vitamin C helps with collagen production, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. And because punicalagins help fight free radicals, it helps rejuvenate the skin.
6. it helps promote good sleep
While you’ll reap the benefits of pomegranate juice any time of the day, its magnesium content (17 milligrams a serving) makes it a particularly good pre-bedtime drink as magnesium is linked to promoting good sleep.
7. it helps with muscle recovery from workouts
The high magnesium content in pomegranate juice also makes is a great post-workout recovery drink. Scientific studies have linked magnesium consumption with helping muscles better repair from the wear and tear of strenuous workouts.
8. Pomegranate juice Has potassium
One serving of pomegranate juice has 214 milligrams of potassium, part of the 3,500 milligrams you want to aim to get a day. Potassium is an important nutrient for heart health, connected to lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps keep sodium levels balanced.
9. consuming pomegranate juice regularly Is Good for heart health
Is there anything this stuff can’t do? Pomegranate juice is linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure if consumed regularly. This is likely because of those all-so powerful antioxidants, which can potentially reduce the amount of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol in the body.
Are there any side effects of consuming pomegranate juice?
Because pomegranate juice is so sweet, many healthy eaters may wonder if the sugar content impacts the health benefits. (It has about 31 grams per eight ounces, depending on the brand.) Berman’s verdict: Don’t obsess over it. “Sugar in fruit is totally natural and nothing to be concerned about in moderation,” she says. But it’s a high dose in one serving, so just be aware of what other sources of sugar you’re consuming that day.
While the sugar content is nothing to worry too much about, there are other factors to keep in mind when consuming pomegranate juice. Like with any food, some people could be allergic. Signs of this typically include itching, swelling, a running nose, and trouble breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after drinking pom juice, it’s best to steer clear.
If you plan to make pomegranate juice a regular part of your wellness routine but are taking any other medications or supplements, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first—just to be safe.
Fun ways to get the pomegranate juice benefits
1. Use it as a base for a healthy-ish cocktail
Cranberry juice may have been your mixer of choice in college, but pomegranate juice can be used in similar ways. Combine it with saffron, orange juice, lime juice, and your liquor of choice for a drink that’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
A nice icy glass of apple-pom on a crisp day is downright refreshing. All your need to make this mocktail is a pomegranate and two red apples. The key to getting the most health benefits while enjoying this drink is to buy the fruits fresh instead of the short-cut of mixing together bottled pomegranate juice and apple juice. Not only do many bottled apple juices contain added sugar, but you’ll also be missing out on the benefits from the fruit, like the vitamin C, that Berman pointed out are in a higher concentration when you make fresh juice over store bought. The benefits—and the taste—of the end result will be worth the effort.
Pomegranates are often used in Moroccan cooking, and pomegranate juice is widely enjoyed in Morocco as well. Make yourself a drink inspired by the region by combining pomegranate juice, orange blossom water, orange juice, lemon juice, and a touch of honey. The vibrant pink color makes it a fun drink to serve to friends, too.
Here are three more inflammation-fighting beverages that are just as delicious as they are good for you. And here’s how to read a kombucha label to make sure you’re really buying one that’s healthy.