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Natures super food!
Pomegranates have been cherished for their exquisite beauty, flavor, color, and health benefits for centuries. From their distinctive crown to their ruby red arils, pomegranates are royalty amongst fruit. They are symbolic of prosperity and abundance in virtually every civilization. Fortunately, this treasure’s versatility and possibilities are as abundant as the juicy arils bursting forth from within.
Pomegranates are a super food that provides a concentrated source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect your heart, brain and body. The edible capsule around the seeds also provides vitamin B6, Vitamin C and lots of potassium.
How does it work?
Pomegranate contains a variety of chemicals that might have antioxidant effects. Some preliminary research suggests that chemicals in pomegranate juice might slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and possibly fight cancer cells. But it is not known if pomegranate has these effects when people drink the juice.
The following is only a small selection of a plethora of research that has been conducted and is continuing to be carried out on the medicinal potential of Pomegranates:
High Blood Pressure
A 2013 pilot clinical trial presented evidence that acute blood pressure was improved with a single dose of pomegranate juice in certain individuals with high blood pressure. The group stated, “The hypotensive properties of PJ [pomegranate juice] could be ascribed to the promising antioxidant properties of phytochemicals present in this complex juice.”
The same group also conducted a trail on the effects of a 2-week intake of pomegranate juice. According to their findings, the results implied a significant reduction in blood pressure, confirming results of previous studies. The group also was able to attribute results of two previous trails that did not find significant reductions in blood pressure as due to differences in inclusion criteria of the individuals selected for those studies.
They also note, “…evidence has indicated that diets rich in natural antioxidants are associated with a reduced risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular events.” In the group’s conclusion of their study they remark that while their study should not be interpreted as proof, it is motivational for further large-scale investigations. “Consumption of pomegranate juice could be considered in the context of both dietary and pharmacological interventions for hypertension.” (1)
A 2006 study “hypothesized that PFE [pomegranate fruit extract] may afford chemopreventive as well as cancer-chemotherapeutic effects against lung cancer.” The study was conducted in the laboratory and the researchers state, “Based on the present study it is tempting to suggest that PFE and its associated antioxidants have strong potential for development as a chemopreventive and possibly as a chemotherapeutic agent against lung cancer. Thus, these could be important observations that may be useful for devising strategies for the management of lung cancer.” They concluded in depth studies were warranted as their research demonstrated the lung cancer cells were highly sensitive and growth inhibited by pomegranate juice extract. (2)
The consumption of products containing extracts of pomegranate by arthritis patients has been increasing. However, the effectiveness of using pomegranate juice and extract for anti-inflammatory and joint damage suppression is not fully known. A 2008 laboratory study was designed to evaluate a standardized preparation of pomegranate extract on rheumatoid arthritis.
Results of the study ‘potently’ delayed the onset and reduced the incidence of the laboratory induced rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers were able to conclude, “[pomegranate extract] or compounds derived from it may be a useful approach for the prevention of onset and severity of inflammatory arthritis.” (3)
(1)Asgary, Sedigheh, et al. "Clinical investigation of the acute effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure and endothelial function in hypertensive individuals." ARYA Atheroscler 9.6 (2013): 326-331.
(2)Khan, Naghma, et al. "Pomegranate fruit extract inhibits prosurvival pathways in human A549 lung carcinoma cells and tumor growth in athymic nude mice." Carcinogenesis 28.1 (2006): 163-173.
(3)Shukla, Meenakshi, et al. "Consumption of hydrolyzable tannins-rich pomegranate extract suppresses inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis." Nutrition 24.7 (2008): 733-743.
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Holland, D., Hatib, K., Bar-Yàakov, I., 2009. “Pomegranate: botany, horticulture, breeding”. Horticultural Reviews. Vol. 35, 127–191.
Cheryl Ward, “Pomegranates in Eastern Mediterranean Contexts during the Late Bronze Age,” World Archaeology 34.3 (February 2003): 529-541.
Top 10 Ways To Enjoy Pomegranates:
10. Dairy Delight. Add pomegranate seeds to vanilla yogurt for a powerful flavor boost and added fiber.
9. A Sweet Dip. Juice the seeds and reduce them with a little sugar and some spices for a new kind of dipping sauce for grilled shrimp or chicken.
8. Top Off Your Morning. Top oatmeal or cold cereal with pomegranate seeds for a flavorful change of pace.
7. Refresh. Pomegranate juice is a very refreshing beverage. Drink it on its own or add it to tea or ginger ale for a boost of color, flavor and nutrition.
6. Dessert Garnish. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on any
dessert. They make ‘dressing up’ a purchased dessert a cinch!
5. Great Snack! Snack on pomegranate seeds right out of the fruit.
4. Winter Salsa. Use pomegranate seeds to make a delicious winter salsa. See Using Pomegranates Video
3. Marinade. Juice the seeds and use as a marinade for shrimp, chicken or pork.
2. Add Flavor & Color to Your Glass. Muddle pomegranate seeds in a glass before adding lemonade or your favorite alcoholic beverage.
1. Salad Sprinkles. Toss some pomegranate seeds onto your favorite salad, or try this recipe: Greens with Pomegranate.
Source: Fruits and Veggies – More Matters
"Pomegranates are like little explosions of awesome in your mouth."