Is it OK to swallow pomegranate seeds?

Pomegranates are a delicious fruit that contain hundreds of edible seeds called arils. While many people enjoy eating just the juicy red arils, some may wonder if it’s safe to swallow the small white seeds inside them. Here’s a quick overview of whether it’s OK to swallow pomegranate seeds.

Are pomegranate seeds toxic?

No, pomegranate seeds are not toxic or poisonous. Both the juicy arils and the tiny white seeds inside them are completely edible and safe to swallow. Pomegranate seeds are actually highly nutritious, containing fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that may provide health benefits. There is no need to spit out or avoid swallowing pomegranate seeds.

Do pomegranate seeds cause digestive issues?

Swallowing pomegranate seeds generally does not cause digestive problems or stomach discomfort for most people. The seeds and arils contain fiber, which has prebiotic properties to support healthy digestion. However, anyone with a digestive condition like irritable bowel syndrome may want to be cautious with high-fiber foods, including pomegranates, as they could trigger symptoms like gas or bloating. Starting with small amounts is recommended.

Can pomegranate seeds get lodged in the throat?

It’s unlikely for pomegranate seeds to get stuck in the throat when swallowing. The seeds are very small, typically less than 5mm wide. However, it’s still a good idea to thoroughly chew pomegranate arils before swallowing to break down the seeds. Someone with difficulty swallowing or a narrowing of the esophagus should exercise caution when eating seeds of any kind.

Do pomegranate seeds pass through digestion intact?

In most cases, pomegranate seeds get broken down during the digestive process and do not pass through the body whole and intact. The seeds have a crunchy texture but are soft enough to chew and digest. However, in rare instances, a few seeds may get through undigested, which is harmless. Keeping hydrated and maintaining a regular bowel routine can help minimize this.

Can kids or toddlers choke on pomegranate seeds?

There’s a low risk of young children or toddlers choking on pomegranate seeds since they are very small and soft. However, it’s best to supervise young kids when eating pomegranates and remove any white pith to prevent choking. Crushing, blending or juicing pomegranate arils can make them safer and easier to swallow for little ones. Not giving whole pomegranates or loose seeds to children under age 4 is recommended.

Do pomegranate seeds impact dental work?

Pomegranate seeds are unlikely to damage dental work like fillings, crowns or braces. The seeds are small and soft enough that thorough chewing breaks them down before swallowing. Avoid biting into whole pomegranate seeds with force for best results. For those with dental concerns, simply avoid the seeds and enjoy only the surrounding juicy arils.

Can you be allergic to pomegranate seeds?

It’s rare, but some people may be allergic to pomegranates, including the seeds. An allergy is more likely related to the arils rather than the seeds themselves. Symptoms of a pomegranate allergy can include itching, swelling, hives, upset stomach or difficulty breathing. Anyone with a known fruit allergy should exercise caution when trying pomegranates for the first time.

Nutritional Profile of Pomegranate Seeds

Here is the nutritional profile of pomegranate seeds per 100g serving:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 83
Total fat 1.2g
Saturated fat 0.1g
Protein 1.7g
Carbs 18.7g
Sugar 13.7g
Fiber 4g
Calcium 10mg
Iron 0.3mg
Magnesium 12mg
Phosphorus 36mg
Potassium 236mg
Vitamin C 10.2mg

As you can see, pomegranate seeds are packed with important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content are especially noteworthy.

Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds

Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits associated with eating pomegranate seeds:

High in Antioxidants

Pomegranate seeds contain polyphenol antioxidants like punicalagins and anthocyanins that can help neutralize harmful free radicals and protect your body’s cells from damage. The antioxidant levels are significantly higher than other fruits.

May Improve Heart Health

Studies suggest pomegranate seeds may have benefits for heart health by improving blood flow, reducing plaque in arteries, lowering blood pressure and decreasing LDL “bad” cholesterol. The effects appear most significant in those with existing heart conditions.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The antioxidants in pomegranate seeds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve joint pain, improve symptoms of arthritis and protect against chronic inflammation involved in diseases like cancer and diabetes.

May Lower Cancer Risk

Research indicates that pomegranate seeds contain compounds with anti-tumor effects in laboratory studies. While human studies are limited, pomegranate intake may help reduce risk factors for certain cancers like prostate and breast cancer.

Good Source of Fiber

Pomegranate seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, providing 7 grams per 100g serving. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and bowel movements, helps manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels and contributes to feelings of fullness.

Supports Gut Health

The fiber and polyphenols in pomegranate seeds act as prebiotics that feed healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome. A diverse microbiome is essential for optimal digestion, metabolism, immunity and overall health.

Risks of Eating Pomegranate Seeds

For most people, eating pomegranate seeds is perfectly safe with few risks. However, some things to keep in mind include:

– Allergic reactions – Rare but possible if you have a fruit allergy. Discontinue use if any symptoms develop.

– Choking hazard – Use caution in young children under age 4 who may choke on hard seeds. Supervise and monitor kids during consumption.

– Drug interactions – Pomegranate can interact with blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Consult your doctor first if taking these.

– Digestive issues – May cause gas, bloating or diarrhea in those with conditions like IBS. Start with small amounts to assess tolerance.

– Dental damage – Avoid biting down with force on whole seeds to minimize any risks of damaging dental work.

– Pregnancy – Generally considered safe but check with your doctor first as a precaution.

As long as you don’t have any specific food allergies or intolerances, eating pomegranate seeds should not pose any major risks or side effects for healthy adults. Only a doctor can advise if pomegranate is appropriate for your individual health status and needs.

Tips for Eating Pomegranate Seeds

Here are some helpful tips for enjoying pomegranate seeds:

– Carefully remove seeds from the pomegranate, removing any bitter white pith which can cause choking.

– Chew seeds thoroughly before swallowing to crush and break down.

– Drink water while eating to help swallow seeds and fiber.

– Start with a small serving to see how seeds are tolerated.

– Add seeds as a topping on yogurt, cereals, salads or desserts.

– Blend seeds into smoothies, juices or sauces.

– Avoid giving whole pomegranates or loose seeds to young children under 4.

– Supervise young kids and have them take small bites of crushed seeds.

– Consult your dentist if concerned about damage to dental work.


Pomegranate seeds are nutritious, antioxidant-rich portions of the fruit that are perfectly edible and safe to swallow. Chewing the small crunchy seeds thoroughly before swallowing reduces the risk of any issues. For most people, eating pomegranate seeds may even provide some health benefits without posing many risks. However, it’s always a smart idea to consume any new foods in moderation to assess your personal tolerance. If you have any concerns about eating pomegranate seeds, consult a healthcare professional.

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