Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice

What is Pomegranate Juice?

Pomegranate juice : introduction

The pomegranate juice (or better, pomegranate ) is a drink obtained from the liquid extraction, by cold pressing , of the pomegranate fruit ( P. granatum ).

Equipped with excellent nutritional properties, pomegranate juice is considered a real “cure-all”. Energizing, due to the notable sugar content, and source of minerals , vitamins and other antioxidants, pomegranate juice is suitable for most diets. It is considered the antioxidant drink par excellence, even if, as often happens, marketing has contributed to distorting how much truth there may be on the subject.

To obtain a good pomegranate juice it is necessary to use the dedicated cold squeezer (manual); some use the juicer. On the other hand, we must not confuse the pomegranate juice with the extract and the centrifuged, drinks respectively obtained with different appliances (extractor and centrifuge).

Insights: Generalities on the pomegranate and the pomegranate

The pomegranate (in English “pomegranate”) is a tree belonging to the Lythraceae family that grows up to 5-8 m in height . In the northern hemisphere, therefore also in Italy, it produces typically autumn fruits (from September to February); in the southern hemisphere it bears fruit in spring (March to May).

The pomegranate is native to the area extending from present-day Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to Northern India. It has been widespread and cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region since ancient times . It was introduced by the Spanish colonies in America only in the second half of the 16th century and in California in the second half of the 1700s. Today it is widely distributed throughout the Middle East and in the Caucasus region, in Northern and tropical Africa, in Southern Asia, in Central Asia, in the drier parts of Southeast Asia and in parts of the Mediterranean Basin . It is cultivatedalso in parts of Arizona and California. In the 20th and 21st centuries it has become very common in European commercial markets and, more generally, in the Western Hemisphere.

The edible part of the pomegranate is the set of arils (small internal seeds individually wrapped, and separated, in fleshy receptacles); these, which could be identified as “fruit pulp”, are used raw and cooked, as an independent food, for the extraction of juices, garnishing dishes, fermentation of alcoholic beverages , etc.

For more information on the pomegranate and the pomegranate it is advisable to read the dedicated article: Melograno.

Nutritional properties

Introduction on the composition of pomegranate juice

Establishing the nutritional characteristics of pomegranate juice is not easy. While the chemical profile of whole pomegranate arils is now completely defined, no one has yet analyzed that of the juice in detail. The extraction of liquids is in fact a process that completely separates the “edible part” from the “non-edible”, also discarding a part of the residues normally classified among dietary fibers .

Pomegranate juice is, in some ways, more concentrated and nutritious than whole pomegranate arils. Nonetheless it is almost totally deprived of all non – digestible components . Some of these are woody and do not constitute a desirable nutritional factor; others, on the other hand, promote the health of the colon and the trophism of the intestinal bacterial flora .

Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that among the various nutritional components of the pomegranate, some are contained within the seed. By chewing them as a whole food, after shelling them, we would have the possibility of extracting a certainly relevant percentage (as happens, for example, for grapes ) . On the other hand it is not clear in what quantity, by squeezing the fruit half at a time thanks to a hybrid device between a citrus juicer and a press , these spread in the juice.

The pomegranate is edible up to 59%. This means that to obtain a portion of juice (about 125 ml) we should use a pomegranate weighing approximately 210 g. However, the accuracy of this calculation needs to be thought through. Pomegranate fruits are indeed very different from each other and sometimes the yield is significantly higher or lower.

General nutritional characteristics of pomegranate juice

The pomegranate juice is obtained from the processing of a product belonging to the VII fundamental group of foods ( foods rich in fructose and vitamin C).

It has a significant energy intake , composed almost entirely of carbohydrates; quantitatively less relevant percentages of lipids and proteins follow . The glucids of pomegranate juice are simple, soluble, made up of fructose. Proteins, of low biological value , do not contain essential amino acids in the right quantities and proportions; it is also possible that, with the exception of the free amino acids , most of the peptides contained in the pomegranate arils remain in the squeezing waste. The breakdown of fatty acids, hence their potential impact on themetabolism , and we limit ourselves to specifying that their presence is still important for the absorption of other fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins and phytosterols .

Pomegranate juice does not provide significant concentrations of fiber . Cholesterol is absent , replaced by plant sterols , gluten , lactose and histamine ( the latter three often responsible for food intolerance ).

As far as minerals are concerned, pomegranate juice is considered an excellent source of potassium . With regard to vitamins, however, the levels of water-soluble folate (of group B ), vitamin C or ascorbic acid and fat-soluble K (antihemorrhagic function) stand out.

Antioxidant phytocomplex of pomegranate juice

Pomegranate is rich in vitamin C, a water-soluble molecule with antioxidant power and essential for the immune system , for collagen synthesis, etc. However, ascorbic acid is not the only nutritional factor useful in the fight against free radicals contained in pomegranate juice.

Normally absent in chemical-nutritional tables, antioxidant polyphenols are instead the substances that have given pomegranate juice its reputation as an antioxidant phytocomplex. Among the various elements we mention:

  • Hydrolysable tannins: called punicalagins or ellagitannins, they are formed from the union of ellagic acid with gallic acid and a molecule of carbohydrates. They are currently undergoing scientific testing for any health benefits. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that most of their beneficial effects are due to the transformation of ellagitannins into urolithins (metabolites) by the intestinal bacterial flora
  • Red anthocyanins (contained in the pulp, are more concentrated in the ripe fruit): the most abundant are delphinidin, cyanidin and pelargonidin glycosides . However, exploited in advertising campaigns, pomegranate anthocyanins have not been scientifically proven to exert therapeutic effects such as anti-tumor and anti-aging effects. For this reason, the FDA has sanctioned certain industrial producers of pomegranate juice for spreading unfounded and therefore illegal claims on the subject.

Note : The phenolic content of pomegranate juice is negatively influenced by industrial processing techniques, especially pasteurization .

Pomegranate peel: a concentrate of polyphenols

Compared to the pulp, the pomegranate peel, while not edible, contains up to three times the total amount of polyphenols ( condensed tannins , catechins , gallocatechins and prodelphinidins) compared to the pulp of the seeds. It is no coincidence that the pomegranate peel is used, on an industrial level, for the production of food supplements and preservatives .

Since pomegranate juice is obtained, as we have said, by squeezing the two halves of the whole fruit one at a time, it is possible that this also contains a part of the antioxidants of the peel. However, it must be emphasized that the juice extraction method tends to be imperfect, not totally effective, since during the crushing the liquids from the pulp impregnate the peel which acts like a “sponge”, retaining a part of the nutritional factors inside (the residue of the processing is in fact red in color due to the retention of anthocyanins of the pulp in the peel).

On balance, the nutritional concentration of nutrients and polyphenols of pomegranate juice, compared to a centrifuged or aril extract, may not be so beneficial.

Pomegranate juice in the diet

Pomegranate juice is to be totally avoided only in case of allergy . It lends itself to most diets; however, we must not forget that it is a sweet drink in all respects. The discrete energy quantity conferred by sugars can interfere with the nutritional balance in the nutritional pattern of the obese , diabetic (type 2 mellitus) and hypertriglyceridemic.

Especially in the diet of children , pomegranate juice can be an excellent alternative to carbonated drinks and commercial fruit juices . However, it is essential to produce or buy it fresh, unpackaged, and drink it instantly to keep its nutritional characteristics intact. The abundance of water and potassium lends itself to the diet of sportsmen and those suffering from primary arterial hypertension . Abundance in folate , on the other hand, is an excellent claim to be able to include it among the nutritional habits, perhaps as a snack , of the pregnant woman.

Pomegranate juice is relevant to vegetarian , vegan and raw food habits . It is not forbidden by any religion or philosophy.

The average portion of pomegranate juice is 100-150 ml (85-125 kcal ).

Editorial board
Nutritional values ​​for 100 g of pomegranate pulp
Edible part 59%
Nutrients Amount’ Percent US Adults*
Power 83 calories
Carbohydrates 13.67g
Sugars 13.67g
Dietary fibers 4.0 g
Fats 1.17g
Protein 1.67g
Thiamine or Vitamin B1 0.067 mg (6%)
Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 0.053 mg (4%)
Niacin or Vitamin PP 0.293 mg (2%)
Pantothenic Acid or Vitamin B5 0.377 mg (8%)
Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 0.075 mg (6%)
folate 38µg (10%)
Choline 7.6 mg (2%)
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid 10.2 mg (12%)
Vitamin A or RAE 15µg (2%)
Vitamin E or Tocopherols 0.6 mg (4%)
Vitamin K (Antihaemorrhagic) 16.4µg (16%)
Soccer 10 mg (1%)
Iron 0.3 mg (2%)
Magnesium 12 mg (3%)
Manganese 0.119 mg (6%)
Phosphorus 36 mg (5%)
Potassium 236 mg (5%)
Sodium 3 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.35 mg (4%)
Waterfall 80.5 g

* Approximate on US recommendations for the adult population.

Squeeze Pomegranate

Differences between pomegranate squeezer, extract, centrifuged and juice

The pomegranate squeezer is a tool designed to obtain pomegranate juice. Pressed, extracted, centrifuged and juice are not synonymous. Although insignificant, the four products may show some differences:

  1. Pomegranate juice: obtained from squeezing the whole pomegranate, therefore not only the arils but also the peel; the fruit must first be cut in half on the transversal plane. It is obtained by means of a manual pomegranate squeezer
  2. Pomegranate extract: obtained by extracting the juice from the arils previously shelled from the whole fruit. It is obtained by means of an electric – electronic extractor
  3. Pomegranate centrifuge: obtained by centrifugation from the minced arils, previously shelled from the whole fruit. It is obtained by means of an electric – electronic centrifuge
  4. Pomegranate juice: apparently synonymous with the previous three, it is instead the most suitable noun to indicate the commercial product, sold above all in briks or in plastic or glass bottles.

Types and description of pomegranate squeezers

There are different types of pomegranate prizes. As always, the market offers dozens of solutions that adapt to the different needs of consumers. The innumerable products could basically be divided into two macro-groups: manual pomegranate squeezers and electric – electronic pomegranate squeezers.

Not everyone agrees on differentiating citrus juicers from pomegranate squeezers. In fact, these tools show very similar characteristics to each other. The simplest manual ones are made of plastic and equipped with a protuberance, mounted on a filter that blocks solid residues, by means of which the half pomegranate is skewered, crushed and squeezed; the juice is forfeited by a tank at the base. The average price of the instrument is €15.

The more advanced manual pomegranate squeezers, on the other hand, while working on the same principle, are generally metallic, articulated, adopt various levers and guide mechanisms to increase the squeezing force while decreasing the effort; they are more expensive but also more effective and efficient. The average price varies according to the materials, from €25 to €150

An intermediate category between the two previous ones is that of the manual press, also used to squeeze different foods. The average price is between 25-80 €.

Electric-electronic pomegranate squeezers are very rare, instead replaced by extractors and centrifuges. The price varies greatly (from €50 to €250) based on the technology, brand, additional functions, etc.



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