Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

Pomegranates are a delicious fruit and a great, healthy snack. However, they’re full of seeds – in fact, pomegranate seeds comprise 3% of the fruit’s weight!

Many people choose to take the seeds out before consuming pomegranates as the seeds are hard and fibrous.

However, they’re enclosed in arils, which are sweet and juicy and cover the seed entirely. Plus, they’re full of nutrients and offer many health benefits.

In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of pomegranate seeds so that you can add a new healthy snack to your diet!

The nutrients in pomegranate seeds are split between the arils and the seeds themselves. While the arils contain most of the nutrients, pomegranate seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E and magnesium (1). 

Vitamin E can help prevent coronary heart disease and inflammation while improving the immune system and eye health. It can also reduce the chances of some types of cancers (2).

Magnesium is important for healthy bone formation. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and improves anxiety (3).

Pomegranate seeds are also an excellent source of fibre – after all, that’s why they’re so fibrous in texture. In fact, flour made from pomegranate seeds is composed of 50% of fibre (1).

Cellulose and lignin are the main fibres found in these seeds. They are both insoluble and therefore pass through your body easily. These dietary fibres will improve your gut health by maintaining a healthy balance of good gut bacteria. They will also combat constipation.

However, keep in mind that excessive consumption of pomegranate seeds may lead to intestinal blockages. This risk is higher for those who suffer from chronic constipation (4).

Pomegranate seeds also contain antioxidants such as polyphenols and phenolic acids, including flavonoids, tannins and lignans (1). However, the arils contain higher concentrations of these antioxidants.

These antioxidants will defend your body from the damage that free radicals cause. They can also prevent chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers (5). 

Lastly, pomegranate seeds contain unique fatty acids such as punicic acid. Up to 20% of these seeds are composed of fatty acids (1).

Studies about the effect of punicic acid on rats and mice show very promising results. It can reduce inflammation, promote weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity (6). However, not much about the effect of this fatty acid on humans has been researched.

Essentially, pomegranate seeds can definitely be consumed with an almost negligible risk to your body’s health. Not to be confused with the arils, the juicy part that pomegranates are known for, the seeds themselves are safe for consumption and can impart great benefits on your health.

Basically, these seeds are full of nutrients that will protect you from heart disease, some types of cancers, diabetes and constipation. They also improve bone and eye health and may have anti-inflammatory and weight loss properties. They’re certainly a great food to eat!

References:

  1. Vučić, V., Grabež, M., Trchounian, A. and Arsić, A. (2019). Composition and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate: A Review. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 25(16), pp.1817-1827.
  2. Olatunya, A. M., Omojola, A., Akinpelu, K., & Akintayo, E. T. (2019). Vitamin E, Phospholipid, and Phytosterol Contents of Parkia biglobosa and Citrullus colocynthis Seeds and Their Potential Applications to Human Health. Preventive nutrition and food science, 24(3), 338–343. doi:10.3746/pnf.2019.24.3.338
  3. Rosanoff, A., Dai, Q., & Shapses, S. A. (2016). Essential Nutrient Interactions: Does Low or Suboptimal Magnesium Status Interact with Vitamin D and/or Calcium Status?. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 7(1), 25–43. doi:10.3945/an.115.008631
  4. Holscher H. D. (2017). Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut microbes, 8(2), 172–184. doi:10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756
  5. Pandey, K. B., & Rizvi, S. I. (2009). Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2(5), 270–278. doi:10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498
  6. Boussetta, T., Raad, H., Lettéron, P., Gougerot-Pocidalo, M. A., Marie, J. C., Driss, F., & El-Benna, J. (2009). Punicic acid a conjugated linolenic acid inhibits TNFalpha-induced neutrophil hyperactivation and protects from experimental colon inflammation in rats. PloS one, 4(7), e6458. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006458