11 health benefits of pomegranate peel you probably never knew about

Pomegranates can be seen growing in many countries because of their ability to stand the heat and cold, decorative value, industrial usefulness, and, more importantly, health-giving properties. The health benefits of pomegranate peels might even inspire you to start eating them, not to mention that they have a good taste! 

So, what’s the deal with pomegranate? How can this fruit help you extend your longevity? Basically, pomegranates provide a wide range of health benefits for those who consume them. However, here’s more surprising, pomegranate peels are equally amazing as their fruit in giving you overall body wellness. 

What is a pomegranate?

Urolithin A (UA) is a biological compound produced by gut bacteria via the consumption of complex polyphenols from pomegranates, berries and nuts [1].

Pomegranates are considered drought-tolerant plants, which means they are well-adapted to hot climates, like in Southwestern Asia and California’s San Joaquin Valley. They grow mostly in the warm temperatures of subtropical regions and in some tropical areas. This plant belongs to the Punica L. genus of the Punicaceae family that originated in Iran, India, China and the Mediterranean region. Today, pomegranates can even be cultivated in North and tropical Africa, North and South America and the Caucasus–making it a plant or fruit that can be consumed all around the world [1]. 

Moreover, in terms of their medicinal properties, pomegranates can give a lot of health-beneficial advantages. Their ability to improve your health is mostly associated with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties. Pomegranate peel has lots to offer to keep your health on track. 

Health benefits of pomegranate peel

Here are eleven of the major health benefits of pomegranate peel. 

1. Fight acne, pimples and rashes

As mentioned above, pomegranate peel is known to contain anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties; hence, it can be effectively used to treat skin problems like acne, pimples and rashes. The pomegranate peels are rich in antioxidants that aid in keeping bacteria and other infections at bay. 

Some evidence further suggests that you can use pomegranate peels to remove dead skin cells from your face, especially when you use them in the form of a face pack or facial scrub. However, take note that this claim needs more studies to truly understand its effects. 

2. Detoxify your body

As pomegranate peel is high in antioxidant content, it can combat toxic agents and detoxify your body. In an animal research study conducted on mice, the researchers discovered that the aqueous extract from pomegranate peel might promote detoxification. Furthermore, its peel is essentially useful in fighting the various toxins that are harmful to the body. 

3. Prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging

Pomegranate peel can prevent the breakdown of collagen in the skin while promoting cell growth, making it helpful in delaying the signs of aging and wrinkles effectively. When you are over-exposed to the sun and pollution, you may start premature aging. Several research studies indicate that pomegranate peel extract, when mixed with seed oil, can enrich procollagen synthesis, stop the enzymes that break down collagen and effectively enhance skin cell growth. 

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Researchers from Hallym University in Korea studied human skin cells and hairless mice. They found that the ellagic acid content of pomegranate peel extracts may reduce wrinkles [2]. In short, pomegranate peel may help keep the skin looking younger.

4. Acts as a natural moisturiser

Digging deeper into the ellagic acid content of pomegranate peel. There are several studies suggesting that it can also naturally moisturise the skin cells so they won’t dry out. Additionally, pomegranate peel can hydrate and protect your skin from environmental toxins and restore its pH balance–the main reason they are added as an ingredient in skincare products as part of their moisturising effect. Pomegranate peel is simply good for your skin as it keeps it soft and supple.

5. Lower the risk of cancer

Pomegranate contains rich antioxidants and flavonoids, which both are known to fight free radicals before they can damage your healthy cells. Furthermore, pomegranates show potential in effectively preventing prostate, breast, lung and colon cancers. Several preclinical animal studies found that eating pomegranate can hinder the growth of tumours in the lungs, skin, colon and prostate.

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Furthermore, pomegranate has high amounts of punicalagin, which refers to a polyphenol that is linked to anti-cancer properties in some test-tube studies [3]. In another study, the pomegranate peel extract was shown to have a promising result in treating prostate cancer because it can eradicate cancer cells [4]. Also, pomegranates have an anti-proliferative effect that can help slow or stop the spread of cancer cells in breast, oral and colon cancer cells. In addition, pomegranate peel may be beneficial for liver cancer with its liver-protecting properties, thanks to its high antioxidant content. 

6. Diabetes control

Among the many health benefits of pomegranate is its ability to control diabetes. When people with type 2 diabetes started drinking pomegranate juice, they showed significant improvement in insulin resistance. Plus, this fruit can also aid in weight management for diabetic people. Experts suggest that consistent taking of pomegranate supplements of about 1,000mg of pomegranate peel extract can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels within a 30-day study.

7. Improve brain function

Generally, oxidative stress is a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. As pomegranate peels contain high antioxidants, they might help improve the quality of life of patients suffering from the disease. Numerous animal studies using pomegranate peel supplementation have shown amazing results in bettering brain function. However, more research in human studies is still needed for this claim. 

8. Protect against heart disease

Pomegranate peel’s rich antioxidants are highly capable of protecting LDL cholesterol against oxidation. Their peels also contain vasculoprotective effects that prevent the development of heart issues. This health benefit is important as LDL cholesterol oxidation found in your body can generally lead to oxidative stress–a primary contributing factor in almost all heart diseases and other ailments. 

Consequently, pomegranate peels are jam-packed with powerful antioxidants that can aid in fighting dangerous and life-threatening cardiovascular diseases. It also decreases cholesterol levels, reduces stress and improves heart health. They further reduce oxidative stress and lower blood pressure as well. 

9. Improve dental hygiene

Additionally, pomegranate peels are useful in tooth powders and toothpaste as well. These peels are known to have anti-bacterial and anticaries effects that can aid in dealing with a host of dental problems, such as gingivitis, dental plaque, caries and mouth ulcers. 

10. Boost bone health

Another health benefit of pomegranate peels is their ability to reduce bone density loss. Studies have shown that consuming concoctions made of pomegranate peels are effective in boosting bone health and preventing the onset of osteoporosis after the menopausal stage. As pomegranate is rich in tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, the consumption of their extract, which can also be seen in dietary supplements, has a beneficial effect on bone health. 

11. Help treat rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis refers to an autoimmune condition that involves inflammation in the body’s joints. With pomegranates’ antioxidant properties, they can play a role in reducing the severity of the disease [5]. In another study, the researchers discovered a substance found in pomegranate peel, known as punicalagin, can hinder joint inflammation and cartilage damage in arthritic mice. 

How to peel a pomegranate?

The best form to consume pomegranate peel is through pulverising or in powder type, which you can purchase or make at home. In making your own pomegranate powder, you can follow the basic steps below:

  1. Use a sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate.
  2. From top to bottom, score the skin of the pomegranate. Create at least four total incisions to have four equal sections. Remember that you should only cut through the skin and stop when you hit the white part.
  3. Then, place the pomegranate in water and start to break it apart, including the incisions you made to separate the four sections.
  4. Pull out the seeds away from the pomegranate skin. Generally, these seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the skin or pit will float to the top.
  5. Before you strain it, you must skim the top of the water and then remove any excess skin and pulp.

Uses of powdered pomegranate peel 

There are many uses for powdered pomegranate peel. For instance, you can use it to make a face mask by mixing the powder with water until it becomes a paste. Another is making a cup of tea by steeping the pomegranate peel powder in hot water–a perfect alternative for your morning coffee. 

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However, do note that our bodies respond differently; hence, what is working for others may not work for you, and worse, you may acquire adverse effects. Typically, pomegranates are safe to eat, but some people may experience negative side effects. Although allergic reactions from pomegranates are rare, they could still happen [6].

Hence, it is better to consult your physician before adding pomegranate to your diet, especially for people who have severe allergies or are on medication. For people who have preexisting allergies to plants, you must observe yourself for any allergic reactions upon consuming pomegranate. On the other hand, pomegranates can interrupt or affect drugs and medications, so you may want to avoid or limit consuming pomegranates.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9218663
[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20113347/ 
[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28709945/ 
[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28724216/ 
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/ 
[6] https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-pomegranates 

Photograph: Ekaterina_Minaeva/Shutterstock
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