It’s pomegranate season! If you’re looking for ideas on what to do with these fall and winter fruits, how about putting them in a green smoothie?
Pomegranates add a rich flavor that blends especially well with chocolate (cacao), apple, pear and other seasonal fruits. They also supply an extra dose of disease-preventing antioxidants.
Pomegranate Health Benefits and Nutrition
Pomegranates are a great source of vitamin C, B5, potassium, fiber and antioxidants. Studies suggest that regular consumption of pomegranates or its juice may reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce high blood pressure and inhibit viral infections.
A medium-sized pomegranate will have about 105 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbohydrates and about 16% RDA of vitamin C.
7 Scientific Health Reasons To Use Pomegranate Juice In Green Smoothies
Here are seven scientific health reasons to use pomegranates or pomegranate juice in your next green smoothie:
1 – Pomegranates Are Nutritional Superfruits: One cup (250ml) of pomegranate juice provides up to 33% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin E. You’ll also get all B vitamins (except B12) including folate (13% RDA), vitamin B5 (30% RDA) and vitamin B6 (20% RDA). Pomegranate juice also contains 9% RDA of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and 10% RDA of vitamin K.
As for minerals, one cup of pomegranate juice provides 1.2 milligrams of iron, 13% RDA of potassium and 19% RDA of copper.
2 – Pomegranate Juice May Support Brain Health: The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may protect the brain against damage from free radicals. The polyphenols in antioxidant-rich fruits like pomegranate have been shown to be neuroprotective. Oxidative stress on the brain has been looked at as a potential cause or contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
A December 2006 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease showed that supplementing pomegranate juice in the diets of mice found that not only did they perform better in cognitive tasks (like water mazes), they also had “significantly less amyloid deposition in the hippocampus”.
Amyloid plaque is generally associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
3 – Pomegranate & Prostate Cancer: Naturally occurring ellagitannins in pomegranates produce urolithins when digested. Scientists think that these urolithins may fight prostate cancer, or at least provide some benefit to prostate cancer patients. A team of researches presented their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry after discovering that urolithins slowed down prostate tumor growth in mice that consumed pomegranate juice.
Human studies have shown similar results. A 2006 study published in Clinical Cancer Research found that prostate cancer patients who drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily had a slower progression of prostate cancer. They found that mean PSA (prostate-specific antigen) doubling time significantly increased with treatment. Prior to the study, the average doubling time of PSA in human test subjects was 15 months, and it increased to 54 months at the end of the study.
Elevated PSA levels are typically associated with prostate cancer. The amount of time it takes for PSA levels to double indicates how fast the disease is progressing.
4 – Pomegranate & Breast Cancer: The ellagitannins in pomegranates have shown promising potential in prostate cancer in men, but women with breast cancer may also benefit from the phytochemicals in this fruit.
A study published in Cancer Prevention Research found that urolithins (produced from ellagitannins) inhibited the growth of estrogen-responsive breast cancer cells.
While this was an “in vitro” study, meaning that the compounds from pomegranate were applied to breast cancer cells outside of the body, there will likely be future studies looking into the link between eating pomegranates, or drinking its juice, and its effects on breast cancer.
5 – May Protect Against Colon Cancer: Colon cancer is another condition that that may benefit from pomegranate ellagitannins. According to a 2010 article published in the American Chemical Society journal, ellagitannins in pomegranates may inhibit cancer cell proliferation in the colon.
6 – May Help Men With Erectile Dysfunction: A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research showed a link between the consumption of commercial pomegranate juice and an improvement in mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. According to the article, pomegranate juice “enhances endothelial nitric oxide levels and directly impacts atherosclerotic changes associated with erectile dysfunction”.
Of the 53 men between the ages of 21 and 70 that completed the study, 42 reported improvement in their erectile function. Of the 42, 25 reported improvement after drinking the pomegranate juice. While this study is not “statistically significant”, it offers a tantalizing direction for further study in treating mild to moderate ED with pomegranate juice supplementation.
7 – May Lower Blood Pressure & Promote Cardiovascular Health: A 2001 study published in the journal Athlerosclerosis showed a 5% reduction in systollic blood pressure as well as a 36% decrease in serum ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) levels after ingestion of pomegranate juice. According to the researchers, pomegranate juice “can offer a wide protection against cardiovascular diseases which could be related to its inhibitory effect on oxidative stress and on serum ACE activity”.
A small study published in the August 2006 issue of Athlerosclerosis investigated the effects of pomegranate juice consumption in patients with type 2 diabetes. The researchers concluded that pomegranate juice consumption “by diabetic patients did not worsen the diabetic parameters, but rather resulted in anti-oxidative effects on serum and macrophages, which could contribute to attenuation of atherosclerosis development in these patients”.
And yet another study of pomegranate juice supplementation among patients with kidney failure who were on dialysis found that regular consumption of pomegranate juice may provide some protective effect against cardiovascular complications that may result from the disease.
How To Use Pomegranate In A Green Smoothie
The easiest way to use pomegranate in a green smoothie recipe is to use the juice as the liquid portion in recipes, instead of water. I prefer to juice my own pomegranates rather than use pasteurized, bottled juice found in the store. Freshly squeezed juice has greater nutritional value and it is fresher.
To juice the pomegranate, simply empty the seeds in a strainer and smash them with a spoon. Make sure you place a metal bowl under the strainer. Pomegranate juice stains, so be careful!
How To De-Seed A Pomegranate
Step One: Cut your pomegranate in half using a sharp knife.
Step Two: Using a metal or wooden spoon, firmly smack the outside skin of the pomegranate. Make sure you hit all around the sides and top.
If any of the white part (pith) falls into your bowl, simply pick it out.
Pomegranate blends well with red grapes and other berries for flavor combination. Apple, pear, and banana make a creamy base for a pomegranate green smoothie.
Green Smoothie Recipes With Pomegranate
Antioxidant Blast Green Smoothie With Pomegranate
Pomegranate-Orange Green Smoothie Recipe
Since this green smoothie has both water-rich oranges and pomegranate, you might not need any additional liquid, depending on your blender. If you do, I would start with about 2 ounces.
I used a Bartlett pear as it’s a slightly larger and sweeter pear. You can use any large pear you can find. Pears are a great source of fiber, and provides a “creamy” base for this smoothie.
- 1 Bartlett pear, cored
- 2 oranges, peeled and deseeded
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (about 1/2 a pomegranate)
- 3 large collard leaves (or use kale, spinach, bok choy), stems removed
- 2 ounces (59ml) of water (if needed)
Calories: 355 | Fat: 2g | Protein: 8g | Carbohydrates: 84g | Calcium: 33% | Iron: 1.5mg | Vitamin A: 44% | Vitamin C: 294%
Pomegranate-Apple with Carrot and Spinach Smoothie
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 Fuji apple, cored
- 1/2 carrot
- 2 large handfuls of raw baby spinach
- Add ice to chill if desired
Calories: 295 | Fat: 0.7g | Protein: 5g | Carbohydrates: 73g | Calcium: 10% | Iron:3.2mg | Vitamin A: 89% | Vitamin C: 61%
Pomegranate-Mango Green Smoothie Recipe with Coconut
Chocolate and pomegranate are delicious together. Add mango and coconut and you have a heavenly blend of sweet and tropical!
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 mango, peeled and pitted
- 1 scoop chocolate-flavored protein powder, or use 1 scoop plain protein powder + 1 tsp. cacao powder.
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Calories: 332 | Fat: 5g | Protein: 16g | Carbohydrates: 61g | Calcium: 17% | Iron: 3.4mg | Vitamin A: 89% | Vitamin C: 168%
Pomegranate-Pluot Green Smoothie
This green smoothie if very tasty and creamy. I like how the flavors of pomegranate and pluot mingle in this late summer/early fall blend.
Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots. They are not a genetically modified (GM) food. Instead, they are a hybridized using traditional farming techniques. If you can’t find pluots in your farmers market or grocery store, you can replace them with plums in this recipe.
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1 large pluot (or sweet black plum), pitted
- 1/4 cucumber, cut into pieces
- 1 small head romaine lettuce
- 8 ounces of filtered water
Calories: 321 | Fat: 2g | Protein: 8g | Carbohydrates: 75g | Calcium: 13% | Iron: 3.8mg | Vitamin A: 1175% | Vitamin C: 136%
Pomegranate-Cherry Smoothie Recipe
- 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate juice
- 2 cups frozen cherries
- 2 organic bananas
- 3 cups chard or other leafy green (optional)
- 4 ounces of filtered water (optional if needed)
Calories: 480 | Fat: 1g | Protein: 6g | Carbohydrates: 121g | Calcium: 5% | Iron: 2.3mg | Vitamin A: 16% | Vitamin C: 56%
How To Select And Store Pomegranates
Pomegranates are in season during the fall and winter months. Look for pomegranates that are heavy for their size. The color should be deep red or reddish brown.
Store pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks. Pomegranate arils can be frozen.
Browse more green smoothie recipes.