One of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, the pomegranate (punica granatum) is an original native of Persia. This nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life.
For some of us seeding a pomegranate may seem like a lot of work for just a piece of fruit but think again, getting at those seeds may be well worth it. The pomegranate is a nutrient dense food source rich in phytochemical compounds. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.
Below are some of the benefits of this fruit:
- Pomegranate contains antioxidants like anthocyanin and ellagic acid, flavonoids like quercetin and compounds like gallic acids, which protect the body from ailments like heart problems, diabetes and osteoarthritis
- It lowers inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels and keeps arteries working smoothly. Studies have shown that pomegranate helps lower atherosclerosis — a major cause of heart disease.
- It reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and increases the amount of good cholesterol.
- It is also said to maintain blood sugar levels as well as reduce blood pressure.
- The juice removes toxins from the body and strengthens the immune system.
- It is also effective in treating diarrhoea since it helps secreting enzymes that aid digestion.
- Women are advised to have pomegranate juice regularly since it keeps anaemia at bay. The iron present in the fruit reduces this deficiency. (Anaemia occurs due to the deficiency of red blood cells.)
- The juice is also good for your urinary tract — it eases discomfort caused due to infection while the the soluble and insoluble fibre present helps digestion.
- Pregnant women are advised to drink pomegranate juice regularly since it contains vitamins and minerals like folic acid.
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans.
Also of note, pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals.
Seeding a Pomegranate
- Cut the crown (protruding blossom end) off the pomegranate, removing with it some of the pale-yellow pith. Take care not to pierce the seeds within.
- Lightly score the skin in quarters from stem to crown end.
- Immerse the scored fruit in a large bowl of cool water and soak for 5 minutes. Holding the fruit under water, break sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
- Discard skin and membranes. Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.