Do You Do Pomegranate?
You’ve probably seen them in the grocery store. But have you ever eaten a pomegranate? It’s the roughly apple-sized, reddish-skinned fruit with a peculiar-looking thing sticking out of one end, like an invitation to peel away the tough skin and see what’s inside. Break one open and you’ll find jewel-like pips; seeds surrounded by ruby-red, sweet/tart juiciness.
In the Mediterranean region, where this fruit originated, and on the Indian subcontinent, pomegranates are revered as a source of both food and medicine. Pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K, but their most remarkable benefits are usually credited to a handful of unique antioxidant compounds, collectively known as punicalagins. Many people spit out the edible seeds after extracting the juice, but in doing so they may be missing out on some of pomegranate’s most impressive phytonutrients.
Pomegranate juice, seed extract and whole fruit have all been shown to reduce oxidized LDL-cholesterol. That means this ancient fruit is good for the heart. Ongoing research is looking into pomegranate’s other potential benefits. Some believe it may help prevent cancer, slow aging, improve memory, and even help relieve benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and improve male erectile dysfunction. In any event, it seems clear that pomegranate helps reduce inflammation and decrease oxidative stress in the body.
Recently, European researchers reported that it may even help prevent post-menopausal osteoporosis. That’s good news for women who are undergoing the change of life, because brittle bones are a common concern when estrogen levels fall due to menopause. But you don’t have to be menopausal to enjoy the health benefits of this ancient fruit. If you haven’t tried it yet, now’s a good time, while they’re in season. At other times of the year, consider drinking a small amount of pomegranate juice to boost immunity and help keep disease at bay.
Spilmont M, Léotoing L, Davicco MJ, Lebecque P, Mercier S, Miot-Noirault E, et al. Pomegranate and its derivatives can improve bone health through decreased inflammation and oxidative stress in an animal model of postmenopausal osteoporosis.Eur J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14. [Epub ahead of print]