Pomegranate juice has become an increasingly popular beverage in recent years due to its many potential health benefits. Some of the key nutrients found in pomegranate juice include vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It also contains powerful plant compounds like polyphenols that are thought to act as antioxidants in the body. This has led many people to drink pomegranate juice believing it may help reduce inflammation, protect against chronic diseases, and more.
However, some people may wonder if there are any downsides to drinking pomegranate juice in the evening close to bedtime. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the potential effects of drinking pomegranate juice at night and whether or not it’s recommended.
Benefits of Drinking Pomegranate Juice
There are several evidence-based health benefits associated with drinking pomegranate juice:
High in Antioxidants
Pomegranates contain powerful antioxidant compounds called polyphenols. Research shows that pomegranate polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and neuroprotective effects in the body.
One study in 19 older adults found that drinking 8 ounces (240 ml) of pomegranate juice daily for four weeks significantly reduced oxidative stress caused by free radicals by 32%.
May Lower Blood Pressure
Drinking pomegranate juice on a regular basis may help lower blood pressure levels.
One study had participants drink 5 ounces (150 ml) of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks. They experienced significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
Another study found similar results, with systolic blood pressure dropping an average of 5% after drinking 1.7 ounces (50 ml) of pomegranate juice per day for four weeks.
The plant compounds in pomegranate juice, particularly punicalagins and punicic acid, are believed to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Test-tube studies have found reductions in inflammatory activity and markers in colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer cells following treatment with pomegranate extract.
Some human studies have also reported reductions in markers of inflammation after participants drank pomegranate juice daily.
May Improve Memory
Some evidence shows that drinking pomegranate juice may improve memory and cognitive function.
One study had older adults with memory complaints drink 8 ounces (237 ml) of pomegranate juice or a placebo drink every day for four weeks. The pomegranate juice group had significantly improved markers of verbal and visual memory.
Another study found that 28 days of pomegranate juice increased plasma antioxidant levels by 100% and verbal memory by 20% in elderly subjects with memory decline.
May Lower Heart Disease Risk
Pomegranate juice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may help lower the risk of heart disease.
One review reported that daily consumption may protect against atherosclerosis — the narrowing of arteries caused by plaque buildup — which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Another study found that drinking 2.5 ounces (75 ml) of pomegranate juice daily for three months reduced several risk factors for atherosclerosis, including blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Could Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Early research indicates pomegranate juice may aid in treating erectile dysfunction (ED) in men.
One study in 53 men with ED found that drinking 5 ounces (150 ml) of pomegranate juice each day for four weeks significantly improved erectile function.
Downsides of Drinking Pomegranate Juice at Night
Although pomegranate juice has many benefits, there are a few downsides associated with drinking it in the evening, especially close to bedtime:
High in Natural Sugar
Pomegranate juice is relatively high in natural sugar. An 8-ounce (240-ml) glass contains around 24–31 grams of sugar, depending on whether it’s 100% juice or diluted.
Consuming sugar too close to bedtime could lead to poor sleep quality, especially for those sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels.
May Interfere With Sleep
One of the main downsides of drinking pomegranate juice before bed is that it contains vitamins and minerals that may give you a boost of energy close to bedtime, making it harder to fall asleep.
In particular, pomegranate juice provides vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Consuming high amounts of these nutrients near bedtime may lead to difficulty falling asleep, more nighttime awakenings, and less deep sleep.
Increased Nighttime Urination
Drinking a lot of fluid in the evening is likely to result in more trips to the bathroom during the night.
This applies to pomegranate juice as well, especially since it acts as a mild diuretic. The high water and potassium content causes you to urinate more.
Frequent urination can disturb sleep and prevent you from reaching the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep.
May Cause Stomach Discomfort
Some people report increased bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort from drinking pomegranate juice. This appears to be more common when drinking juice on an empty stomach.
Drinking pomegranate juice at night may increase the risk of digestive issues that disrupt sleep quality and lead to suboptimal rest.
Pomegranates contain salicylates, natural plant compounds that may trigger symptoms in those with sensitivities.
Salicylate sensitivity can cause allergy-like symptoms, including hives, headaches, breathing issues, and digestive problems. These side effects could negatively impact sleep if experienced at night after drinking pomegranate juice.
Not Recommended for Those With Insomnia
People with insomnia or other sleep disorders are generally advised to avoid drinking fluids with stimulant properties close to bedtime as it can exacerbate sleep issues.
Since pomegranate juice contains nutrients linked to energy and alertness, it’s best to avoid it in the evening for those sensitive to disruptions in sleep quality.
Tips for Drinking Pomegranate Juice at Night
If you choose to enjoy pomegranate juice in the evening, here are some tips to mitigate potential downsides:
– Drink it at least 1–2 hours before bed to allow time for digestion and bathroom trips before laying down.
– Have a small glass, around 4–6 ounces (118–118 ml), to limit sugar and fluid intake before bed.
– Dilute juice with water or club soda to cut down on sugar.
– Avoid drinking on an empty stomach to minimize indigestion issues.
– Stick to 100% pomegranate juice and avoid added sugars or juices with pomegranate blends.
– If you have salicylate sensitivity, start with a very small amount of juice diluted with water to assess tolerance.
– If you experience any stomach discomfort, gas, insomnia, or nausea after drinking in the evening, avoid consuming before bed.
The Bottom Line
Pomegranate juice offers important health benefits thanks to its content of polyphenol antioxidants and micronutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and folate. However, drinking pomegranate juice at night may make it harder to fall asleep and decrease sleep quality due to its effects on energy, urination, digestion, and blood sugar control.
Those with insomnia or other sleep disorders may be particularly susceptible to sleep disruptions. To minimize any potential downsides, limit portion sizes of pomegranate juice in the evening, avoid drinking on an empty stomach, and allow 1–2 hours before laying down after consuming. Diluting juice with water and opting for 100% juice blends over those with added sugars can also help mitigate adverse effects.
As with any food or drink, it’s best to pay attention to your individual tolerance and avoid items that seem to cause discomfort or disturb your sleep patterns. Focus on healthy sleep hygiene practices like limiting caffeine and establishing a consistent bedtime routine to ensure you wake up feeling rested, whether or not you enjoy pomegranate juice in the evenings.
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