Can You Eat Pomegranate Seeds?
By Atli Arnarson BSc, PhD — Updated on June 24, 2019
Benefits & risks
How to cut
Pomegranates are a beautiful, red fruit filled with seeds.
In fact, the term “granate” is derived from the Medieval Latin “granatum,” meaning “many-seeded” or “containing grains.”
The seeds comprise around 3% of the weight of a pomegranate. Each seed is encased in a sweet and juicy covering known as an aril.
While the seeds themselves are hard and fibrous, you might be missing out on some health benefits if you discarded them.
This article tells you everything you need to know about pomegranate seeds.
Potential benefits and risks
Eating pomegranate or drinking its juice has been linked to several health benefits.
Pomegranate seeds may have value, too.
Many of the nutrients in pomegranates come from the arils, but the seeds themselves provide a few nutrients as well.
Studies show they’re particularly high in vitamin E and magnesium (1Trusted Source, 2).
Pomegranate seeds are rich in fiber. According to one study, flour made from these seeds boasts about 50% fiber (3).
The main types of fiber in pomegranate seeds are cellulose and lignin (4).
Both cellulose and lignin are insoluble and pass through your digestive system largely unchanged. Interestingly, they’re the main constituents of wood (5Trusted Source).
The seeds are safe for most people to eat, although excessive intake may cause intestinal blockage in rare cases. This risk is greater for people with chronic constipation (6Trusted Source).
Like all fruit components, pomegranate seeds contain antioxidants. However, they’re not as rich in antioxidants as the arils (1Trusted Source).
The seeds contain various phenolic acids and polyphenols, including flavonoids, tannins, and lignans (7, 8).
Unique fatty acids
Pomegranate seeds comprise around 12–20% seed oil. This oil mainly consists of punicic acid, a polyunsaturated fat (1Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Studies in rats and mice suggest that punicic acid may reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote weight loss (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
While these preliminary results are promising, human research is needed.
Pomegranate seeds are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and fatty acids that may benefit your health. They are also a good source of vitamin E and magnesium.
The bottom line
Pomegranate seeds are different from the arils, which are the sweet, juice-filled pulps that this fruit is known for.
The seeds themselves appear to be perfectly edible.
They are a good source of antioxidants, insoluble fiber, and punicic acid. Animal studies suggest that this unique acid provides anti-inflammatory effects.
While no evidence indicates that pomegranate seeds are unhealthy, a very high intake may increase the risk of intestinal blockage in people with severe, chronic constipation.
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