You may have heard the craze about how superfruits like blueberries and acai berries can help speed up your weight loss.
But pomegranates are the latest player on the stage, and are causing quite a stir in the health community.
This unique fruit originated in Northern India and is known to offer a range of nutritional benefits. Pomegranate contains powerful antioxidants and is touted for its anti-cancer properties, as well as its ability to improve skin health and even boost your sex life.
What is Pomegranate?
Pomegranate is a fruit that’s famously known as a celebratory or lucky fruit in cultures such as the Middle East or Asia. Once you cut one open, you may be slightly surprised by its interior — clusters of seeds with a ruby-red exterior. Don’t be fooled – it tastes even better than it looks!
Pomegranate juice is not a new face on the block, but it’s highly underrated in comparison to other fruits in the grocery store. It’s not just a pretty red fruit with zero substance, though! Known to contain a high level of antioxidants that help naturally control your appetite, it can be a go-to fruit for weight loss.
Is Pomegranate Fattening? Nutritional Information for Pomegranate
The nutritional value of pomegranate depends on those of the seeds, known as arils. So if you want to know the calorie content of a pomegranate, your real question is: how many calories are in pomegranate seeds?
Overall, there are 128 calories in a medium-sized pomegranate (about three and a half inches across) and 235 calories in a larger fruit of about four inches across.
Pomegranate is generally considered a low energy density food, so overall pomegranate isn’t fattening.
Most of the calories come from the carbs in pomegranate, with a medium-sized fruit containing 29 grams of carbohydrates. Only 18 of the 128 calories come from fat.
But are pomegranate seeds high in sugar?
Each fruit contains 21 grams of sugar, but these are natural fruit sugars so you aren’t limited in the same way you are with added sugars.
Can you eat the pomegranate seeds?
The fiber from a pomegranate is contained within the central, white section of the seed, and you get about 6 grams of fiber from a medium-sized fruit. This is a quarter of your daily fiber recommendation, so eating the arils whole is recommended.
Is Pomegranate Juice Good for You?
The nutritional value of a pomegranate changes a little bit if you consume pomegranate juice, but it is still good for you overall.
A cup of pomegranate juice contains 135 calories, with 33 grams of carbs, 32 grams of sugar and no fiber, because this is generally strained out of the final mix. Juicing the pomegranate yourself is the best option, because store-bought pomegranate juice will likely contain added sugars and possibly other things like sodium. If you buy pomegranate juice mixed with other fruit juices, the nutritional value will change even more, probably resulting in more calories and sugar per cup.
Pomegranate Benefits for Weight Loss
Science has been working to answer the question: is pomegranate juice good for you when it comes to weight loss?
Researchers are saying pomegranates have the ability to aid in weight loss based on studies that showed people drinking a liter of pomegranate juice a day experienced less hunger than their counterparts who were given placebos.
The studies were done by researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Volunteers were given pomegranate supplement tablets for three weeks and then sat down to a meal where they were given a glass of pomegranate juice to drink before. The volunteers who had been taking the supplements and drank the juice ate 20 percent less than those who had not. They also reported that the meal tasted better and made them feel more satisfied.
In conclusion, the group being given the pomegranate supplements and juice felt 21 percent less of a desire to eat and 12 percent less hungry than the placebo group.
Researchers say this is likely due to the polyphenols found in pomegranates which act as an appetite suppressant.
Further studies will need to be done, however, to fully confirm this theory. Regardless of why it works…it works.
While there is no single magic key to weight loss, there are definitely things you can do and foods you can eat (or drink, in this case) that can significantly speed up your journey to a healthier, slimmer you.
Besides helping you to lose weight faster, drinking pomegranate juice will boost your immune system with its powerful antioxidants and give you clearer, younger-looking skin.
Of course, you can’t simply drink your way to a skinny waistline. You will have to continue nourishing your body with wholesome foods as well.
Pomegranate Juice Benefits
There are numerous ways in which you can enjoy your pomegranate — either eating each aril one by one while watching reruns of Vanderpump Rules (substitute for popcorn?), with a spoon like a scoop of sorbet or as a refreshing juice.
Pomegranate juice benefits score high on every dieter’s list. Here are four pomegranate juice benefits that should have you seriously considering adding this fruit onto your grocery list for next time.
1. Your remedy after drunken nights.
Pomegranate juice is great for the morning after because of its nutrient-rich concoction that can help bring you back to reality.
After a drunken night out, waking up to cold pizza, smeared makeup, and videos of yourself dancing, your body is in need of a serious case of purification — quick and fast! By juicing your very own pomegranate juice, you can enjoy a refreshing cold drink without the added sugars that you would find in the stores.
In case you want to equate this to a spiritual experience during your yoga and meditation sequence, you can imagine the pomegranate juice as the equivalent to freeing your body of the damage you caused from the night before.
2. The pomegranate seeds contain everything you need.
This one will come in handy if you’re less than two weeks away from a big event like attending a wedding or anything that requires stepping in front of the camera.
Think twice next time before you instinctually start throwing away pomegranate seeds. They’re actually a key player, containing all of the fiber content you need to make sure that your digestive system is running smoothly. Since this is still on the down-low, consider yourself the trendsetter among your group of girlfriends!
If the idea of swallowing actual seeds still freaks you out, try putting the pomegranate seeds into a bender to turn them into juice. Don’t strain the juice other you’ll substantially reduce the fiber content and you won’t gain all of the benefits of pomegranate seeds.
3. A glass of pomegranate juice a day helps to keep the doctors away.
It’s time to get your friends and family in on the secret, too! Consider pomegranate juice your next family-friendly picnic beverage. Pomegranate juice is rich in nutrients, helping to ensure that your body and heart functions are all working properly, as well as fighting heart disease and having anti-cancer properties.
Tomorrow morning, when you start juicing, throw in an extra pomegranate in there or two, for extra servings for the whole family. Your little ones will like this a lot better than cough medicine — trust!
4. Your all-in-one natural diet suppressant.
Don’t opt for over-the-counter diet pills with ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Pomegranate juice health benefits also include serving as your all-natural appetite suppressant because it contains polyphenols. Perfect mid-day treat at the office to help you curb your cravings!
If work is keeping you glued to your computer, make sure your pomegranate juice stays chilled throughout the day with an insulated stainless steel bottle (in pink, of course!) that’ll keep your drink cold for up to 20 hours.
11 Ways to Eat More Pomegranate
The only downside of using pomegranate for weight loss is that it can be hard to know how to incorporate more of it into your diet. Of course you can just eat the fruit as it comes, but you’re hoping to get a substantial amount of it into your day-to-day diet, you need to get a little bit more creative. There isn’t a specific amount you need to eat to lose weight, but if you make it a regular part of your diet, you’ll start to see the benefits. And luckily, there are plenty of inventive ways you can eat (or drink!) more pomegranate.
- Add it to oatmeal or cereals. A scoop of arils in your morning oatmeal or cereal increases the anti-oxidant load and adds some healthy sweetness to your morning bowl. About a quarter cup is a good amount, but go with more or less if you prefer.
- Add to Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is a great healthy snack, but it can be a little dull on its own. This is a great place to incorporate some pomegranate into your diet.
- Add it to salads. There are tons of salads that can be improved with some pomegranate arils. They work especially well alongside strong-flavored greens like spinach or kale. Walnuts work really well alongside your pomegranate topping too.
- Add it to meat or make a chutney. Whether it’s pomegranate-braised ribs or added to roast chicken as part of a chutney, you can even get the benefits of pomegranate seeds as part of a meaty dish.
- Use it as a pizza topping. Pomegranate arils work well on a range of pizzas, but one delicious example is a butternut squash, kale and fontina pizza sprinkled with pomegranate.
- Use it in marinades. The juice from the seeds can make a delicious marinade for chicken, pork or shrimp.
- Incorporate into punches and cocktails. Pomegranate works well with a huge range of punches and cocktails, including margaritas and red ryder punch
- Use the peel for tea or mix pomegranate juice with green tea. You can make your own pomegranate tea with peel to enjoy some of the pomegranate peel benefits for weight loss, with a recipe using dried peel available here. You can also use green tea with pomegranate for weight loss with recipes like this one.
- Add it to peanut butter. Put a healthy spin on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by adding peanut butter and arils to a sandwich.
- Add pomegranate to desserts. The sweetness of pomegranate makes it a perfect addition to many desserts, including cheesecakes and mousses.
- Make smoothies. You don’t always have to push the boat out: a simple pomegranate smoothie can be a great way to incorporate the fruit into your daily diet.
Other Fruits That Are Good for Weight Loss
This post has spent some time expounding on the benefits of pomegranate seeds when it comes to weight loss, but it should go without saying that pomegranates are far from the only fruit that can help you lose weight. In fact, most fruits are packed with nutrients and low in calories, so you have plenty of options to keep your diet vibrant and nutritionally diverse.
- Apples: It’s best to eat apples whole (not juiced) to lose weight, but plenty of evidence shows they aid weight loss, including a huge one with over 120,000 participants.
- Grapefruit: Grapefruits are loaded with vitamin C but very low in calories (just 39 for half a grapefruit). A study in obese people found improved cholesterol and a 7 percent decrease in weight after 12 weeks of eating grapefruit (or drinking juice) before meals.
- Kiwi: Kiwis are nutrient dense, and a study of people eating two kiwis per day showed a reduction in blood pressure and a 1.2 inch reduction in waist size after 12 weeks.
- Melons: One cup of melon is only about 50 calories, but they’re loaded with anti-oxidants, fiber and potassium. Their high water content in particular makes them very weight loss friendly.
- Oranges: Oranges are low in calories but very filling, making them ideal for weight loss. It’s best to eat the whole fruit rather than drink orange juice though.
- Stone fruits. Stone fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and apricots tend to be both rich in nutrients and low in calories, making them a great choice for weight loss.
- Bananas. Bananas may be high in sugar and in calories (for a fruit), but they are rich in nutrients and have a low to medium glycemic index, which makes them great for people with diabetes in particular.
- Berries. Berries are generally low in calories and rich in nutrients. For example, a cup of strawberries is less than 50 calories. Research shows that eating a 65 calorie serving of berries before a meal reduces your food consumption, compared to a control group who ate the same number of calories as candy.
- Avocados. Avocados are fatty and quite high in calories, at 160 calories per half an avocado, but they increase feelings of fullness, improve cholesterol and reduce appetite. People who eat avocados generally weigh less than people who don’t.
- Passion fruit. Passion fruits are small, but each one is only 17 calories, but they’re really high in fiber, and so they help you feel full for longer and help control your appetite.
Has pomegranate for weight loss worked for you?
Have you tried re-creating your own pomegranate juice? Have you tried the fruit, itself? Or have you had better luck losing weight with other fruits? Share your thoughts below in the comments!