Pomegranates are one of the better-known, but lesser used superfoods. With startling bright red seeds called ‘arils’ inside they are beautiful, as well as healthy. They have a distinctive crown on the top of the fruit and otherwise look a lot like a large, richly red-colored apple. Like a lot of fruit, you don’t eat the skin, but unlike a lot you eat the seeds and the red ‘jelly’ that surrounds them and not the hard white pulp that holds them. So you have to scoop out the seeds to use them and discard (recycle or compost) the rest. The seeds are crunchy and juicy, with the initial bitter taste of the seed skin quickly overwhelmed with a tangy sweetness.
Pomegranate has been in the spotlight recently concerning its health benefits. This fruit is loaded with several types of polyphenols – potent antioxidants.
Studies have shown that pomegranates seem to be effective on conditions of the heart and blood vessels. They are filled with three polyphenols called tannins (also found in red wine), anthocyanins, and ellagic acid which are responsible for the elimination of free radicals. Antioxidants can lower cholesterol and blood pressure which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Pomegranates are also packed with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. This super food will become more prominent based on its benefits as well as its unique flavor.
- Native to the modern day Iran and Iraq
- Featured in Egyptian mythology and art
- Once used to make a red dye
- Is known as the fruit that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden in the bible story
Pomegranates are in season from September to February in the northern hemisphere and from March to May in the southern hemisphere.
Pomegranate does not need to be purchased organic although it is available.
Pomegranates will keep for about seven months without spoiling.
Adding pomegranate seeds to breakfast items and smoothies is a great way to incorporate these. You could also add them to salads and they pair great with salmon. Pomegranates are also used to make seasonal decorations. Dust off your craft skills and dry one as a table ornament!
Links to other sites
- Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. “Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation.” Journal of Clinical Nutrition 23.3 (2004):423-33.
- Aviram, M., and M. Rosenblat. “Pomegranate Protection against Cardiovascular Diseases.”Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012)
- Stowe, Caroline Bell. “The Effects of Pomegranate Juice Consumption on Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Health.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2010)