Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran
Pomegranate as a functional food and nutraceutical source has gained widespread popularity. Pomegranate and its juice and extracts are currently being widely offered, with or without scientific support, to consumers as a new superfood with numerous health promoting effects. Therefore, due to the explosion of interest in pomegranate as a therapeutic source, the aim of the present work was to investigate the functional effects of pomegranate. This was a review study. Due to the extensive studies of pomegranate, the most cited papers were elicited from ScienceDirect, Springer, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases using the keywords pomegranate, pharmacological, therapeutic, functional compounds, microorganism, bioactivity, and cancer. The antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties of pomegranate have been reported. Moreover, cardiovascular health improvement, diabetes prevention and management, menopausal symptoms relief, hormone balance, increased libido in both genders, skin nourishment including antiwrinkle effects, and protection against Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis were reported in various studies. The majority of these health effects have been attributed to its high polyphenolic content and the unique fatty acid profile of its seeds. It should be noted that functional properties of pomegranate products have been mostly studied in vitro, but to a very limited degree in vivo or human clinical trials. Although there is not sufficient evidence for the health effects of pomegranate, some preliminary evidence that show promising results against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer have been reported in human clinical trials.