Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Fresh made Pomegranate juice
HandmadePictures / Getty Images

The pomegranate is a bright red fruit that comes from a small tree (Punica granatum) grown around the world. Once considered exotic, the fruit is now immensely popular and can be commonly found in grocery stores.

One pomegranate delivers nearly 30mg of vitamin C, which is 33% to 40% of the daily required amount for adults. But people generally don't consume a whole pomegranate as much of it is described as bitter. People do, however, consume the seeds or drink pomegranate juice to gain health benefits.

Pomegranate has been used medicinally for centuries dating back to 1500 BC when it was described in writings as a treatment for tapeworm and other parasites. Now, people drink the juice or eat the seeds to manage conditions ranging from chronic obstructive lung disease to high blood pressure. There is some scientific evidence to support certain health benefits. But there are safety concerns, as well.

Health Benefits

There has been substantial research on the health benefits of pomegranate and pomegranate juice. While some studies focus on the seeds, many others investigate the health benefits of pomegranate juice

One rodent study however compared the benefits of the seeds to the benefits of consuming juice. Researchers concluded that the juice of the fruit is responsible for many of the health benefits, including its cholesterol-lowering properties and it's potential as an anti-inflammatory.

Here is what scientists know about pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice so far.

Heart Health

Pomegranate juice may be able to lower blood pressure and improve other risk factors for blood pressure, says a research review published in Advanced Biomedical Research. Authors of the 2014 study analyzed data from rodent, in vitro, and a smaller number of human studies. They concluded that drinking pomegranate juice improved blood pressure, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels.

And other studies have reported similar findings. A research review published in a 2018 issue of the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology reviewed more recent evidence. Study authors concluded that pomegranate juice may provide benefits to those with hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.

But experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are only cautiously optimistic, stating that more research is needed before we can say for sure that the fruit can reduce signs of heart disease.

Inflammation

Pomegranate juice may help ward off infections, says the NIH, referencing a 2012 study in which dialysis patients had fewer hospitalizations for infections and fewer signs of inflammation, compared with patients who got the placebo.

Additionally, a scientific commentary published in the journal Nutrients suggested that pomegranate may be helpful in the management of conditions including inflammatory bowel disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Study authors added, however, that larger and more well-defined human trials are needed.

Dental Plaque

There is limited evidence, cited by the National Institutes of Health, suggesting that pomegranate juice may help control dental plaque. In the small study, 30 human subjects were assigned to use either a pomegranate dental rinse, an antiseptic dental rinse, or water for four days.

At the end of the study, researchers found that the pomegranate solution performed just as well as the antiseptic solution with no adverse effects. Also, the pomegranate juice inhibited the growth of pathogens that have been shown to contribute to periodontitis.

There is ongoing research into some of the other health benefits of pomegranate, including its use in cancer prevention, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, diabetes, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, and other conditions. But it is too soon to tell if the juice can provide a benefit in the treatment or management of these conditions.

Possible Side Effects

Pomegranate juice is likely safe for most people when consumed in typical amounts. But there are certain people who should exercise caution.

People who are allergic to pomegranate may experience itching, swelling, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Also, the root, stem, and peel of the pomegranate are possibly unsafe when consumed in large amounts.

Also, there is concern in the medical community about drug interactions in people who consume pomegranate juice. Based on the limited evidence about the potential drug interactions, it is essential that you talk with your doctor if you are taking medication and are considering drinking pomegranate juice.

Cholesterol Medications

A case report published in the September 1, 2006, issue of the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that pomegranate may interact with common medications.

A 48-year-old man was taking ezetimibe (Zetia) 10 mg a day and rosuvastatin (Crestor) 5 mg every other day for 17 months. Both medications are used for high cholesterol.

He began drinking pomegranate juice (200 ml twice weekly) and three weeks later he was admitted to emergency with thigh pain and an elevated serum creatine kinase level. Both are symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition that causes the breakdown of muscle fibers and may lead to kidney failure.

Rosuvastatin belongs to a group of medicines called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or ‘statins’. Grapefruit juice is known to increase the risk of statin-induced myopathy, but up until now, there was little information about whether pomegranate juice might also increase the risk.

Pomegranate juice and grapefruit juice, are both known to block the cytochrome P450 3A4 enzyme systems in the intestines. By inhibiting these enzymes, the juices may increase blood levels of many medications.

Other Potential Pomegranate-Drug Interactions

Pomegranate juice may interact with other medications. Speak to your healthcare provider before consuming pomegranate juice if you take:

  • Antiarrhythmics: Amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), quinidine
  • Calcium channel blockers: Felodipine (Plendil), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular)
  • Statins: Atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Immunosuppressants: Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral), tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Protease inhibitors: Saquinavir (Fortovase)

The drugs ezetimibe and rosuvastatin are not thought to be broken down by cytochrome P450 3A4.

Pomegranate juice may also interact with medications that are not on this list.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

You'll find pomegranate at most grocery stores. Pomegranate juice is usually shelved in the same area (produce aisles) as the fruit.

Many consumers look for juice that is organic to avoid potential exposure to harmful chemicals. Also, it is smart to check the label of the brand that you buy to see if other juices or sweeteners are added.

Lastly, consider whether or not you want juice that has been pasteurized. Pasteurization kills harmful bacteria, but it may also kill other compounds in the juice. For this reason, some consumers choose to make their own fresh juice.

To make pomegranate juice at home, simply use the fruit's arils—the juicy round jewels that contain a white seed. Remove from arils from fruit, toss them into a blender, and blend. Once the arils have been liquefied, strain to remove any roughage.

Common Questions

What should you look for if you choose to buy a whole pomegranate?

A ripe pomegranate should feel heavy. The skin should feel firm and it should have a bright red to deep red color with leathery skin. Pomegranates that have started to turn brown are likely past their prime. Abrasions on the skin do not affect its quality.

The fruit is in season during late summer into early winter.

What is the best way to store a whole pomegranate?

Keep the pomegranate whole and at room temperature until you are ready to eat the arils. You can also refrigerate the fruit where it can stay fresh for up to three months. The arils are only good for about three days once they are removed from the fruit. Keep fresh arils refrigerated.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.