Pomegranate Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Pomegranate

Red pomegranate
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A pomegranate is a ruby red fruit with juicy seeds—called arils—that can be added to salads, cocktails, and even meat or pasta-based entrees. This versatile fruit and its juice provides important vitamins and minerals and can also boost your fiber intake. Pomegranate calories and carb counts vary slightly depending on the fruit that you buy, but adding it to your meals is a smart choice if you want to stay healthy.

Nutrition Facts

Pomegranate Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 fruit (3-3/8" across)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 128 
Calories from Fat 18 
Total Fat   2g 
Saturated Fat    <1g  0%
Polyunsaturated Fat  <1g 
Monounsaturated Fat  <1g    
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium  5mg0%
Potassium 363mg8%
Carbohydrates 29g22%
Dietary Fiber 6g25%
Sugars 21g 
Protein 3g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 2% · Iron 3%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbs in Pomegranate

Pomegranate calories come primarily from carbohydrate. But the number of carbs and calories in pomegranate will depend on the size of the fruit that you buy.

For example, a medium fruit that is just over three inches across provides 128 calories and 29 grams of carbohydrate, according to USDA data (shown). But a larger four-inch fruit provides about 235 calories and almost 53 grams of carbohydrate.

There are two types of carbohydrate in pomegranate. You'll get 21 grams of sugar if you consume a medium-sized fruit.

You'll also benefit from six grams of fiber, or 25 percent of your recommended daily intake if you consume a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Also, carb counts, sugars, and calories are different if you consume pomegranate juice. One cup of pomegranate juice provides 135 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrate, 32 grams of sugar, and zero grams of fiber, according to USDA data.

But if you consume a pomegranate juice cocktail (which is pomegranate juice blended with other fruit juices) you will likely consume more calories, more carbs, and more sugar.

The estimated glycemic load (GL) of pomegranate is 18. Glycemic load is an estimated glycemic index that takes into account the serving size of a given food or beverage. It is considered to be more helpful than just using glycemic index for people who are choosing foods based on their effects on blood glucose.

Fats in Pomegranate

There is a small amount of fat in pomegranate. There is less than one gram each of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat in a whole fruit. But these small amounts are not likely to make a significant difference in your diet unless you consume a very large amount of this food.

Protein in Pomegranate

Pomegranate provides a small amount of protein. A medium-sized fruit provides 3 grams of protein. You'll get nearly 5 grams of protein from a larger fruit. Pomegranate juice provides almost no protein (0.4 grams).

Micronutrients in Pomegranate

Whole fresh pomegranate contains important vitamins and minerals. For example, if you eat a pomegranate you'll benefit from 16 mg of vitamin C, or 21 percent of your total recommended daily intake if you consume a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

You'll also 28 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with blood clotting functions in the body.

A medium pomegranate also provides 15 percent of your daily recommended intake of folate, 27 percent of your recommended intake of copper, 9 percent of your recommended intake of both thiamin and vitamin B6. The fruit also boosts your intake of potassium by 363 milligrams or about 8 percent of your daily recommended intake.

If you drink pomegranate juice, you'll still benefit from a healthy dose of vitamin K, folate, and (some) copper, but the juice provides no vitamin C, according to USDA sources.

Health Benefits

People who enjoy fresh pomegranate may gain certain health and beauty benefits when they include the food in their diets.

For example, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is essential for good bone structure, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It also aids in the absorption of iron and promotes wound healing. However, some beauty sites promote benefits of this micronutrient that go beyond what has been proven by scientific studies, for instance, stating that the antioxidant activity of vitamin C can minimize signs of aging and prevent disease.

According to the National Institutes of Health, "ongoing research is examining whether vitamin C, by limiting the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant activity, might help prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases in which oxidative stress plays a causal role."

Vitamin C must be consumed in the diet because our bodies are unable to make it. So eating foods high in vitamin C—like pomegranate— is good for your health, regardless of whether or not it helps reduce wrinkles or keeps your body free from disease.

You'll also get a healthy boost of fiber when you consume pomegranate. Most of us don't get enough fiber in our diets each day. Fiber helps to boost satiety, improves digestive health, and may help to lower blood cholesterol.

Common Questions

How should I select the best fresh pomegranate?

A fresh ripe pomegranate should feel heavy when it is ready to eat. The skin should feel firm and it should have a bright red to deep red color. Pomegranates that have started to turn brown are likely past their prime.

Experts say that the fruit's skin should have a leathery appearance. Abrasions to the fruit do not affect its quality (and you don't eat the skin anyway, so there's no need to discard the fruit if it has marks).

Keep in mind that you won't find pomegranates in the market all year long. The fruit is in season during late summer into early winter.

Should I eat all of the pomegranate? What about pomegranate seeds?

Pomegranate "seeds" are actually called arils. These juicy round jewels are packed with flavor. Inside each aril is a white seed that you can either eat or spit out, it's up to you, although the seeds provide fiber.

Regarding the rest of the fruit, most people prefer not to eat the skin or the white fleshy part that surrounds the arils. Both parts are often described as bitter.

What is the best way to store a pomegranate?

Keep your pomegranates intact (whole) until you are ready to eat the arils. A whole fruit will keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator (in plastic bags) for up to three months. However, the arils are only good for about three days once they are removed from the fruit. Keep fresh arils refrigerated.

Is fresh pomegranate healthier than pomegranate juice?

In general, consuming whole fresh fruit is better for your body than drinking fruit juice. Even though you gain (some) vitamins and minerals when you drink juice, you don't get fiber. Fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugar so your blood glucose doesn't spike after drinking. Fiber also provides other health benefits, so health experts generally advise choosing whole fruit over fruit juices.

Cooking and Preparation Tips

Many people are intimidated by whole pomegranates because removing the seeds can be a chore. But once you have a preferred method down, it becomes easy to do quickly.

There are several different ways to de-seed a pomegranate, but the simplest method is to simply cut the fruit into quarters and immerse the pieces in a large bowl of water. Massage the fruit to remove the seeds and place them in a separate smaller bowl. Then throw away the bowl of water along with the unusable skin and pomegranate meat. This method also helps prevent staining that may occur if you get juice from the seeds on your clothing.

If you want to make pomegranate juice from the arils, simply toss them into a blender and blend. Once the arils have been liquefied, strain to remove any roughage.

Once you've got your pomegranate arils, sprinkle them in yogurt, on a salad, or into your sparkling water. You can also try them in a recipe.

Allergies and Interactions

Certain medications for high cholesterol  (commonly called statins) may interact with pomegranate juice. Both pomegranate juice and grapefruit juice have a similar effect on the body, so medications that interact with grapefruit juice may also interact with the juice from pomegranates. If you are on medication, speak with your healthcare provider before including the fruit in your diet to stay safe.

Pomegranate allergies are not common, but studies have shown that they are possible. Symptoms may include itching, swelling, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect that you may be allergic to pomegranate, see an allergy specialist to get a proper diagnosis.

Sources:

Allergenic Food and Allergens. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Macchia, L., Giliberti, L., Lotti, A., Rossi, M.-P., Kourtis, G., Damiani, E., … Caiaffa, M. (2013). Allergy to pomegranate and artichoke, novel food allergens of the Mediterranean diet. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 3(Suppl 3), P75. doi: 10.1186/2045-7022-3-s3-p75

Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Fact Sheet for Professionals.

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