From ancient Persia to the Himalayas and beyond, tangy pomegranates are mentioned several times in the Bible, and are one of the world's most popular and cultivated fruits today. After being introduced in California by Spanish settlers in 1769, they're still grown in the American west, although they require very dry air and high temperatures to produce the best flavor.
Pomegranates are a beautiful fruit, distinctive with glossy, gold-to-red color and a crown-slash-calyx at the top. The flavor and juiciness only improves after several months of (cool, preferably dark) storage. The inside of the fruit is completely unique, filled with ruby-red arils or seed sacs – 600 of them on average – separated by thin, bitter, white membranes. The arils make an attractive, tasty garnish when sprinkled on various dishes.
Marinades, sauces, and salsas are great uses for pomegranates, and it’s versatile when mixed with other foods such as olives, beets, avocados, cucumbers, apples, pears, or persimmons. Try dropping the arils into sparkling cider for a festive and tasty holiday drink.
Pomegranates are most easily eaten by removing the crown with a knife and scoring through the tough rind. To remove the fruit, it's helpful to immerse it in a bowl of cool water, holding it under the surface to gently break apart and separate the seeds (arils), which will fall to the bottom. The floating bits of rind and membrane can then be skimmed from the surface.
For a fresh glass of pomegranate juice, place a few handfuls of arils into a bag and flatten them gently with a rolling pin. Snip a tiny corner from the bag and voilà - enjoy!
Health Benefits of Pomegranates
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 48% of the daily recommended value and 58% of what's needed from vitamin K. Chock-full of minerals, they provide high amounts of copper, potassium, folate, manganese, thiamin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and pyridoxine, with ample amounts of antioxidant polyphenols thrown in. Three such polyphenols are tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid. While most fruits contain some, fresh pomegranate juice has all three, as well as the antioxidant punicalagin, which research indicates may be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease due to aggressive free radical-scavenging activities in the body.
Pomegranates have healthy amounts of fiber to help keep your system regulated, and are one of the fruits nutritionists suggest for weight loss and cholesterol level control, while at the same time boosting immunity, improving circulation, and offering cancer protection. In addition, they do protect against cancer, as numerous studies indicate.
Please remember to consume pomegranates in moderation because they contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.
You should also remember that fruit "drinks" aren't a good choice for you or your family. See why 100% juice is the only healthy choice.
Pomegranates Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
|Calories from Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie
Studies on Pomegranate
One study was based two main premises: that prostate cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death among men, and that pomegranate juice is known to be rich in polyphenols with potent antioxidant activity and the power to inhibit cell proliferation, invasion, and promote apoptosis (cell death) in various cancer cells. The positive conclusion provided further insight into the molecular mechanism of inducing prostate cancer cell death using pomegranate juice, with dialogue on how to go about developing new mechanism-based chemopreventive strategies for treating prostate cancer using this fruit.1
Another study involved the potential anticancer effects of pomegranate extracts and genistein (plant-based phytoestrogen) on the inhibition, proliferation, and apoptosis of breast cancer cell cultures. Both the extracts and genistein showed significant and positive dose- and time-dependent effects on inhibiting cancer cells, but significantly higher in combination treatments rather than single treatments.2
Pomegranate Healthy Recipes:
Spinach Pomegranate Salad
|1 10-ounce bag of baby spinach leaves,
rinsed and drained
|¼ 1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
||½ cup walnut pieces
||½ cup crumbled feta
|¼ cup alfalfa sprouts (optional)
||1 pomegranate, peeled and seeds separated
||4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Place spinach in a salad bowl. Top with red onion, walnuts, feta, and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
This recipe makes four servings.
Pomegranate Fun Facts
During traditional Iranian weddings, a basket of pomegranates is placed on the ceremonial cloth to symbolize wishes for a joyous future. Following Turkish marriage ceremonies, the bride casts a pomegranate on the ground, and the number of arils that spill out are said to indicate the number of children the couple will have.
Symbolizing prosperity and abundance in virtually every civilization.
Not only delicious and versatile, pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. This exotic fruit provides huge benefits, each with its own essential job to do: vitamins C and K, copper, potassium, folate, manganese, thiamin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), fiber, and pyridoxine, plus the antioxidants tannin, anthocyanin, ellagic acid, and punicalagin.
Once again, this is a ready-made food that contains what you need for your table and optimum health.