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.
There are many that believe that pomegranates were in the Garden of Eden. Maybe that is why it is such a miracle fruit?
Pomegranate juice is available year round, but you can purchase fresh pomegranates in most grocery stores from September through January. When refrigerated in a plastic bag, pomegranates keep for up to 2 months.
A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.
In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.
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.
Here are five health benefits of eating pomegranate:
Heart health: Pomegranate is packed with Polyphenols, tannins and other antioxidant properties which protects your heart. These compounds also lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL).
Cancer: Various studies have shown that the antioxidants and polyphenols found in pomegranate can help prevent cancer cells from spreading and may even be competent of killing the cells.
Weight management: Pomegranate seeds are low in calories and rich in fiber and vitamins. Pomegranate and other fiber-rich foods such as whole grains may help in weight management while reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases.
Skin health: Eating pomegranate can keep your skin youthful, healthy and wrinkle-free. The antioxidants present in pomegranates can help delay the ageing process.
Dental health: Pomegranate has been found to be beneficial for dental health as it has anti-bacterial effects. Drinking pomegranate juice can fight off dental plaque thus keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
The Correct Way To Eat a Pomegranate
olive oil spray
3 large sweet potatoes or 4 small/medium, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick medallions
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil spray. Set aside.
Place the sweet potato slices and pomegranate arils in a large bowl. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, maple syrup and spices. Pour the liquid over the sweet potatoes and pomegranate arils and toss to full coat.
Make a layer of sweet potato medallions on the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with a little bit of the sauce and pomegranate arils from the bowl. Make another layer of sweet potato medallions and cover with a little bit more sauce and pomegranate arils. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove the aluminum foil from the dish. Sprinkle pecans on the top and sprinkle the coconut sugar on top of that. Very lightly spray the top with olive oil spray and return to the oven for 10-15 more minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked and the coconut sugar has caramelized on the top. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Enjoy