Eating healthy is now slowly becoming a change in the right direction for many. The known health benefits of pomegranate puts it pretty high on my list of naturally healthy foods. It is one of my favorite fruits, I love it for its awesome taste, its rich appealing colour, and most of all its juiciness. The very mention of the fruit is a teaser to the taste buds. Some interesting facts that I found about pomegranates is that the fruit gives its name to the grenade because of its shape size and colour. I would call it a grenade blaster for the plaque that accumulates in the arteries and causes so much damage to the human heart.
Pomegranates are slightly tangy, sweet, deliciously juicy and enriched with vitamins. It is eaten as it is or in salads or makes awesome juices and mock tails, or cocktails. I am totally against cooking the fruit in anyway as much of its benefits would be lost. Eating the whole fruit, fresh and with its seeds will not only make you healthier but also will add a good quantity of fiber to your diet. Pomegranate seeds are used widely in Indian cooking. The fruit has inspired many an artist, painter or poet!! It can be used as a natural food colouring to make children’s food more appetizing.
There is so much research that is conducted to study this fruit for all its health benefits. I may not be surprised if the health industry puts it down as hype, for if they do reveal much about this fruit, it is this industry, that will be hard hit!! The same treatment has been given to other natural foods before. This fruit has been used for ages in India for its healing properties. Even today, in rural India the villagers would pluck a small unripe pomegranate off the bush and pound it smoothly, mix it with buttermilk and give it to children as a cure for diarrhea. Anemia can be treated effectively with this fruit, it is frequently given to pregnant and lactating mothers.
Pomegranate Nutritional Benefits
Pomegranates are high in polyphenols. Pomegranates contain punicalagins which are considered to be a superior form of antioxidant unique to pomegranates and a few other fruits. Chemically, punicalagins are considered as tannins which hydrolyze during metabolism to yield ellagic acid, a flavonol. These punicalagins are responsible for scavenging the free radical in the body.
This fruit is also found to deliver 40% of an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin C. It is also a rich source of folic acid, Potassium, vitamin K , vitamin b6 and omega-6fatty acids. The anti oxidants in pomegranates is found to be two to three times higher than in Green tea , red wine, cranberries, blueberries or oranges. This is attributed mainly to the punicalagins in the fruit. It is indeed an excellent anti ageing food. So the next time you see pomegranates in a supermarket, make sure they are in your shopping cart.
Pomegranate Health Benefits
Ayurveda considers every part of this bush/plant medicinal. The stem, the leaves, the roots, the outer skin all are used in medicines.
- Anemia The juice or preferably a fruit of a pomegranate eaten regularly takes care of this common ailment especially in women. The folic acid in the fruit is excellent for pregnant women.
- Arthritis The anti inflammatory properties of the fruit makes it an excellent food for those with arthritis. Consuming pomegranates reduces joint inflammation in arthritis, reduces the pain and the discomfort that are a consequence of the inflamation.
- Cancer Ellagic acid in pomegranates are cancer cell destroying agents. Drinking the juice or just eating the fruit regularly help fight cancer and slows down the growth of cancerous cells.
- Blood pressure This fruit is being researched for its hypertension reducing properties. This fruit is considered as a great heart tonic in Ayurveda.
- Heart diseases The anti-thrombotic property of the fruit is extremely beneficial in fighting the clotting of blood. The hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) is also reduced by the properties of this fruit. It reduces the bad cholesterol or LDL which causes the arteries to clog and harden. It just acts as a clearing agent for plaque which is a major player in heart diseases.
- Immunity from diseases The consumption of the fruit or its juice improves the immune system of the body and fights against all diseases causing organisms.
- Asthma The rich ascorbic acid or viitamin C content of this fruit works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It helps reduce wheezing due to the inflammation and blockage of the respiratory tract. It is a great remedy for common cold.
- Alzheimer’s The Vitamin B riboflavin, thiamin and niacin in the fruit actually helps in slowing down brain atrophy.
- Improves appetite It is great for digestion and improves appetite, it is especially suitable for those who are convalescing after major health problems. Good for children who are picky about food, gives them a robust appetite.
- The fruit has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties causing wounds to heal faster. This combined with the fact that it reduces plaque has made it an excellent food for people with dental problems.
- Luscious and clear skin All women dream of it, I am no exception to that rule. The anti ageing properties of this fruit, that comes from the anti oxidants scavenge that free radicals which cause great cellular damage .By cleaning out the free radicals, it protects your skin from wrinkles and dullness.
Though this piece has not been written as a dietary recommendation, you could never go wrong with Pomegranates or for that matter any natural foods. It is always better to consume natural foods raw as far as possible. and like any other food it may not be good to consume pomegranates in large quantities. It is advisable to consume all foods or food supplements in moderation.
How to eat pomegranate?
How you choose the fruit?
While buying the fruit make sure that the skin is firm, shiny and brilliant in color. Jaded looking skins mean old and dehydrated fruits.
How to cut open a pomegranate?
Open up a fresh fruit by cutting the crown off. You will see a hexagonal structure inside, slightly cut the outside of the skin along one of those lines, take care not to damage the arils or the edible seeds within. Once you have cut one section of the hexagonal structure it is easy to open up the fruit with your hands lightly inside a bowl. That way you will catch the juice that might otherwise spoil the surface and get wasted. Throw away the skin and the yellowish wall of the hexagonal structure and only the arils are used.
- 1 apples
- 1 Pomegranate
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 handful cilantro
- Yellow bell peppers, a handful neatly diced.
- Hung curd or yoghurt (make sure it is skimmed or fatfree) half a bowl full
- Lettuce leaves, a few for the arrangement.
Chop apples into small cubes, add a little lemon and a pinch of sugar to keep the color. Add all the other ingredients except the lettuce leaves and give it a good toss, freshly ground pepper and salt will enhance the flavor. I do personally like to add a pinch of freshly ground cumin to it. Chill it and arrange it on a lettuce bed that is prepared ( rub the leaves with a mixture of lemon juice salt and olive oil).
It is the most appealing and awesome tasting salad you could have. A well shredded breast of pre boiled turkey or chicken makes it a complete meal.
Pomegranate juice, salads and milkshakes
- 1 Cup sprouted green lentils (green pulses with a two day growth)
- 1 pomegranate peeled
- Juice of half a lemon
- Cilantro a little
- Salt for seasoning
- A tablespoon of desiccated coconut ( Not a must)
Toss them together, add the juice and the salt and you have a high protein, high fiber, extra nutritious health food. Serve chilled.
Add the arils of 3 pomegranates and half a cm cube of fresh ginger to a blender give it a quick blend, if you need to take out the pulp do so otherwise just add a couple of fresh mint leaves to the glass, rim the edges with salt lightly and your refreshing health drink is ready. I always add a small sprinkling of pepper but I leave this to your taste.
Pomogranate Fruit salad
- 2 Pomegranates, 1 Chopped apple, 3oranges peeled and separated,
- a hand full of grapes, 1 handful of walnuts broken into little bits ,
- 1 bananas and some raisins.
Toss them in a bowl with a little lemon juice and half a tea spoon of sugar or I prefer honey, and you have a highly nutritious dessert or a snack between meal times.
This is enriched with vitamins, minerals and has got a high amount of fiber.
Pomegranate Banana Milk shake
- 1 small banana
- 2 cups of milk ,
- I table spoon honey ,
Blend the banana and milk together in a blender, blend until done. Add the juice of half a pomegranate to it and shake it well in your blender, chill and serve.
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