I'm A Holistic Derm: This Is My Top Food For Glowing Skin & A Balanced Gut
Plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies earn the skin-supporting stamp of approval, but if board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., had to pick a favorite? She fixes on pomegranate: "Pomegranate seeds are an absolute superfood for the skin,"* she says over TikTok.
You may greet the word "superfood" with an eye roll—there's no real definition of the title, after all, as it's more of a marketing term. But if any fruit deserves the crown, it's the mighty pomegranate: As Bowe explains, the nutrient-packed fruit supports your skin and gut from multiple angles.*
What makes pomegranate seeds so good for skin?
First and foremost: "They contain a substance called ellagic acid, which is a type of polyphenol," Bowe says. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that protect your body's cells (yes, including skin cells) from free radicals, which can lead to premature aging in the skin.*
These pomegranate polyphenols "help protect your skin even from sun exposure, as well—there are clinical studies supporting that,"* notes Bowe. Take this randomized controlled trial, for instance, which found that pomegranate extract increased skin's resilience against UVB rays; or this double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which found that taking pomegranate extract orally could help with common sun-induced pigmentation.*
Finally? Pomegranate seeds are great for gut health—which, thanks to the gut-skin axis, means they're inherently great for skin as well.* According to Bowe, the tart fruit is a good source of prebiotic fiber, "balancing the microbiome in the gut and the skin." Pomegranate also promotes the growth of Akkermansia muciniphila, a good gut bacteria integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., calls "one of [his] favorite microbes" in a recent mbg podcast episode. That A. muciniphila bacteria then creates the postbiotic urolithin A (UA), which is associated with enhanced mitochondrial function and energy production.*
Science jargon aside, these gut bacteria and their outputs have some pretty powerful health benefits—and it all starts with pomegranate.*
Pomegranates are a common derm-favorite fruit, as the seeds are bursting with skin- and gut-health benefits—consider it yet another reason to indulge in the sweet, antioxidant-rich snack.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.