Heart-Healthy Fruit: Benefits of Pomegranate
One of my favorite fruits! If you've ever opened a pomegranate, you know that it's kinda a pain. You have to pull out all the arils (the seeds) and worry about them spraying up and staining your clothes (even when I open it in water!). Either way, it's totally worth it for those delicious, juicy pomegranate seeds.
History of Pomegranates
It actually has a rich and fascinating history, as I discovered when looking up more information about it! It is one of the oldest known fruits to be cultivated in the Mediterranean and has been traced back to 3000 BC. Ancient Egyptians, including King Tut, were buried with pomegranates in hopes for a second life. They also commonly show up in religion and art and have been linked to health, fertility, and rebirth.
The pomegranate was used for many different health remedies in ancient times. Just so you know, I'm not recommending or endorsing these remedies, but they were so interesting I wanted to mention them. Apparently, the roots of the pomegranate were cooked and used to treat tapeworm. The flowers were used for dysentery and mouth ulcers. Hippocrates prescribed the rind and seeds of the pomegranate as a contraceptive. So interesting, especially since it's linked with fertility in other cultures because of its similarity in structure to an ovary with all the seeds, and some used pomegranate juice for infertility treatment.
Pomegranate Health Benefits
Besides the folklore remedies, which may or may not be helpful, there are some real researched benefits of pomegranates! Here are 5 reasons I love pomegranates:
- Extremely rich in antioxidants - just look at the deep red color!
- Heart-healthy! A few studies have had positive results from adding about 8 oz of pomegranate juice daily, and in heart disease patients, it improved blood flow to the heart. It may benefit by decreasing inflammation in blood vessels, reversing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and increasing nitric oxide levels, which keeps our arteries flexible and relaxed.
- Some lab studies have shown promise for anti-cancer activity. Although it's not human studies, there's plenty of research linking higher intake of fruits, veggies, and other plant foods to lower rates of cancer.
- High in Vitamin C. Super important to keep our immune systems strong all winter long when pomegranates are in season.
- Delicious! Yes, this counts as a reason, as they are one of my favorite fruits.
Pomegranates are not local to my area of the world, but I do enjoy them when they're in season mostly from October to January.
Now, to the messy part - opening them! I've never had luck with opening them without a mess, but maybe I need to try this method of cutting it open or this one to get some juice out of it. Pomegranates are also the perfect food to eat mindfully because it takes some preparation time that you can fully enjoy it once it's open.
You can eat the seeds as is as a snack, but some of my other favorite ways are tossed on a salad, in a smoothie, covered in dark chocolate, or thrown in a cocktail for some pizzaz. On New Year's, I made a little cocktail with kombucha, champagne, and pomegranate seeds - so fancy!
- Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette from The Organic Kitchen - looks like a delicious salad! (seen above)
- Pomegranate BBQ Sauce from The Organic Kitchen
- Tropical Smoothie with Mango, Pomegranate, Banana, & Spinach from Family Gone Healthy
- Pomegranate, Blueberry Matcha Tea Slushy from Gourmande in the Kitchen (seen above)
- Pomegranate Orange Salad from Fresh Bites Daily
- Pomegranate Margaritas from So, Let's Hang Out (seen above)
- Delicata, Pomegranate, & Avocado Kale Salad from So, Let's Hang Out - I'm betting the margarita + salad taste pretty good together.
- Chocolate Covered Pomegranates from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition - might as well double the antioxidants with dark chocolate :)
- Pomegranate & Mint Chicken Salad from Cinnamon Eats
- Creamy Coconut + Pomegranate Smoothie from With Food + Love