Super Foods: The Power of Pomegranate

The pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years so it's no surprise that they are incredibly good for you. In fact, pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Pomegranate juice alone contains over one hundred phytochemicals (plant based antioxidant compounds which protect us from cell damage and lower the risk of disease) and the health benefits of drinking it range from boosting your immune system and fertility to cancer prevention.

The Top Ten Health Benefits of Pomegranate

Pomegranates are Rich in Vitamin C and Other Important Nutrients

Not only does the juice of one pomegranate contain over 40% of our daily requirement of vitamin C, it is also an excellent source of vitamin E and K, as well as folate and potassium. Pomegranates are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Antioxidants

The vibrant red colour of the pomegranate seeds is due to their polyphenol content. Rich in powerful antioxidants (which help to reduce inflammation, protect from cell damage and remove free radicals), much more than most other fruits, pomegranate juice has three times the amount of antioxidant properties than green tea even. Red wine, step aside please!

Improves Learning Capacity and Memory

The intake of an 8 ounce glass of pomegranate juice a day is said to aid learning and improve memory function.

Aids Digestion

Pomegranate juice is good for digestion and can help to reduce inflammation of the gut.

Protects Against Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease and Arthritis

Pomegranate has been conventionally used in the Middle East and India as a treatment for diabetes and it can help lower insulin resistance as well as blood sugar. What’s more, it’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

The antioxidant content of the juice can even stall the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that the pomegranate intake even inhibits the growth of cancer cells and actually kills some of them.

Improves Endurance and Sports performance

Forget about nasty, unnatural energy drinks! Drinking pomegranate juice half an hour before a work-out can enhance blood flow and increase athletic efficiency, as well as delaying fatigue and helping to reduce soreness and recover strength after exercise, as well as decreasing the oxidative damage it causes.

Anti-inflammatory Effects

The powerful concentration of antioxidants in pomegranate juice makes it an anti-inflammatory which can help to reduce oxidative stress.

Improves Fertility

Oxidative stress is known to reduce the fertility of both men and women, however the powerful concentration of antioxidants in pomegranate juice can combat this.

Antiviral Properties

With both antibacterial and antiviral properties, pomegranates and rich in immunity boosting nutrients which can help to prevent illnesses and even fight off infections.

Stabilises Blood pressure

The daily consumption of pomegranate juice can help lower systolic blood pressure. A 150ml glass of the juice per day can significantly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension in just two weeks.

How to Open a Pomegranate

Opening a pomegranate doesn't have to be a mundane task. Simply follow these easy steps and you will have a bowl full of these little red jewels of healthiness (the sweet and juicy fruit bits that surround the seeds are known as arils) in no time!

1. Make shallow slices with a sharp knife in a hexagonal shape around the top of the fruit, without cutting into the pomegranate arils.

2. Pull the top off.

3. Then make five vertical slits down each of the sides of the pomegranate where the ridges are more prominent.

4. Pull the five segments apart and bend the outer skin of the pomegranate backwards over a bowl to release the arils.

Other Ways to eat Pomegranates

If you love pomegranates and are looking for more ways to include them in your diet, or you are not so keen but want to sneak them in somehow, why not try a delicious pomegranate salad which is so easy to prepare and packed with many of the nutrients that we need on a daily basis.

Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Lightly combine the following ingredients and serve immediately. This versatile recipe can be changed to suit your preferences. You can swap walnuts for pecans, add rocket or other salad leaves of your choice, or even throw in some quinoa or cracked bulgur wheat for a more fulfilling dish.

1 Pomegranate, seeds only
1 Red onion, finely sliced
50g Baby spinach leaves
100g Feta cheese, cut into cubes
50g Walnut pieces
Juice of ½ lemon

Optional dressings:

A dash of Turkish Pomegranate Sauce
1 tbsp Olive oil
A pinch of salt (We like pink Himalayan salt)
1tsp Sumac

Surprisingly, pomegranates are classified as a sort of berry. You can either eat the pomegranate arils alone, mixed in with other foods or even drink the juice to obtain the health benefiting rewards of this fantastic fruit!

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