Roomman (رمّان ) is the Arabic word for pomegranate.
It has been mentioned three times in the Quran:
1. It is He Who sends down water (rain) from the sky, and with it We bring forth vegetation of all kinds, and out of it We bring forth green stalks, from which We bring forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date-palm and its spathe come forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily! In these things there are signs for people who believe. [6:99]
2. And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date-palms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakât, according to God’s Orders 1/10th or 1/20th) on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance). [6:141]
3. In them (both) will be fruits, and date- palms and pomegranates. [55:68]
Pomegranates, another fruit mentioned in the Qur’an, contain a plentiful supply of potassium as well as such minerals as phosphorus, calcium, iron, and sodium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C. Acting together with sodium, potassium regulates the body’s water equilibrium and ensures that the heart beats normally. By maintaining the body’s potassium-sodium balance, it also helps the nervous and muscular senses to function regularly, prevents edema, and decreases the amount of sugar circulating in the blood. Pomegranates revive tired muscles and enable them to move easily, and also strengthen the heart.
➬ Nutrients and phytochemicals
Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5(pantothenic acid), potassium and polyphenols, such as tannins and flavonoids.
Pomegranates are listed as high-fiber in some charts of nutritional value. That fiber, however, is entirely contained in the edible seeds which also supply unsaturated oils. People who choose to discard the seeds forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seed fiber, oils and micronutrients.
The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid binds with acarbohydrate. Punicalagins are tannins with free-radical scavenging properties in laboratory experiments and with potential human effects. Punicalagins are absorbed into the human body and may have dietary value as antioxidants, but conclusive proof of efficacy in humans has not yet been shown. During intestinal metabolism by bacteria, ellagitannins and punicalagins are converted to urolithins which have unknown biological activity in vivo.
Other phytochemicals include polyphenolic catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins, such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, andpelargonidin. The ORAC (antioxidant capacity) of pomegranate juice was measured at 2,860 units per 100 grams.
Many food and dietary supplement makers use pomegranate phenolic extracts as ingredients in their products instead of the juice. One of these extracts is ellagic acid, which may become bioavailable only after parent molecule punicalagins are metabolized. However, ingested ellagic acid from pomegranate juice does not accumulate in the blood in significant quantities and is rapidly excreted. Accordingly, ellagic acid from pomegranate juice does not appear to be biologically important in vivo.
➬ Potential health benefits
In preliminary laboratory research and clinical trials, juice of the pomegranate may be effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation. In an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, researchers detailed an experiment in which healthy adult men and unhealthy mice consumed pomegranate juice daily. After two weeks, the healthy men experienced increased antioxidant levels, which resulted in a ninety percent drop in LDL cholestoral oxidation. In the mice, “oxidation of LDL by peritoneal macrophages was reduced by up to 90% after pomegranate juice consumption…”.
In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme. Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.
Despite some positive research data, manufacturers and marketers of pomegranate juice have liberally used evolving research results for product promotion, especially for putativeantioxidant health benefits. In February 2010, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to one such manufacturer, POM Wonderful, for using published literature to make illegal claims of unproven antioxidant and anti-disease benefits.
➬ Clinical trial rationale and activity
Metabolites of pomegranate juice ellagitannins localize specifically in the prostate gland, colon, and intestinal tissues of mice, leading to clinical studies of pomegranate juice or fruit extracts for efficacy against several diseases.
In 2010, 23 clinical trials were registered with the National Institutes of Health to examine effects of pomegranate extracts or juice consumption on diseases shown below:
• prostate cancers
• prostatic hyperplasia
• rhinovirus infection (completed, July 2008)
• common cold (completed, June, 2007)
• oxidative stress in diabetic hemodialysis
• coronary artery disease
• infant brain injury
• hemodialysis for kidney disease