Pomegranate, a fruit native to the Middle East, has gained widespread popularity as a functional food and nutraceutical source. The health effects of the whole fruit, as well as its juices and extracts, have been studied in relation to a variety of chronic diseases. Promising results against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer have been reported from human clinical trials. The in vitro antioxidant activity of pomegranate has been attributed to its high polyphenolic content, specifically punicalagins, punicalins, gallagic acid, and ellagic acid. These compounds are metabolized during digestion to ellagic acid and urolithins, suggesting that the bioactive compounds that provide in vivo antioxidant activity may not be the same as those present in the whole food. Anthocyanins and the unique fatty acid profile of the seed oil may also play a role in pomegranate's health effects. A more complete characterization of pomegranate components and their physiological fate may provide mechanistic insight into the potential health benefits observed in clinical trials.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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