The pomegranate is a bedazzling fruit with enough health benefits and research to fill a small-scale library! Pomegranates are abundant during the fall and winter days of the northern hemisphere. I am grateful that these jeweled beauties more than make up for the super nutrient-dense summer berries that are out of season this time of year.
Heart and Blood Vessel Health
Some preliminary research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice (50-200ml per day up to a year) reduces high blood pressure by 5% to 21%. Pomegranate juice can lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver by blocking unhealthy fat buildup and formation and also reducing body weight, even in those with obesity. The juice can also improve blood flow and muscle relaxation especially in men with erectile dysfunction, and decrease platelet aggregation (clumping). In regards to potential fertility function, there is also research to suggest that pomegranates can increase sperm count!
Pomegranates also lower inflammation in the heart can decrease blood vessel inflammation, prevents inflammatory bowel disease, protects colon from inflammation, and protects against stomach ulcers! Pomegranate extract can suppress inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and can improve the inflammation associated with periodontal disease
Pomegranates are antiangiogenic (block blood vessel growth in tumors) and have anticancer effects. They interfere with tumor cell growth, cancer cell invasion and metastasis, and inflammatory signaling. This powerful fruit has been shown to initiate programed cancer cell death also known as apoptosis. Anticancer effects have been shown in breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer research.
There is a ton of research to show pomegranates fight the bad bacteria and germs! They are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antimalarial. Research has been done to show they can fight against microbes such as staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA), H. Pylori, salmonella, E.coli, candida, Listeria, and malaria! There was even a study to show
Pomegranates originated in Iran and were cultivated throughout the Mediterranean regions and Northern India. Its name comes from the Latin word for apple (pōmum) and seeded (grānātum).
Spiritually, the pomegranate was known as a symbol of righteousness in ancient Israel and placed along with bells on the hem of the High Priest’s robe. Pomegranates were also life sustaining as travelers in desert caravans carried them for their thirst-quenching juice.
Today we have pomegranate trees growing in the western states thanks to Spanish settlers who brought the plant to California towards the end of the 16th century.
There are there are several ways you can open a pomegranate.
The fastest way, but perhaps the messiest way is to slap the seeds out of their skin.
Place a large mixing bowl on your counter. Slice open the pomegranate along the circumference and place one of the halves, cut side down, on the palm of your hand. Take a large wooden spoon and smack the living daylights out of the pomegranate (mind your hand) and let the arils fall into the bowl.
If time is of the essence, buy pomegranate juice! Studies show that the commercial juice found in the grocery store is also packed full of the health benefits mentioned. Just try not to get any with added sugars. If it is too tart, dilute with water or sparkling water.
There are several ways to enjoy eating and drinking fresh pomegranates!
Sprinkle arils on your kale or spinach salads!
Add the arils or juice to any fruit smoothie or green juice!
For a festive, surprising, and superfood-worthy dessert, melt dark chocolate and drizzle/cover small tablespoon-size clusters of pomegranate arils on parchment paper. Cool until hardened in the refrigerator. Makes a great holiday treat!
Take a handful of pomegranate arils and a few tablespoons of the juice and mix it with fizzy sparkling water. If you love texture, then try this! The arils provide a fruity tart burst of flavor in your mouth.
Peel the rind off and blend the arils and strain to get the desired juice. It is ok if you blend some of the white inner peel with the arils.
Try this delicious low calorie, high-nutrient pomegranate shake that I first heard about from Dr. Joel Fuhrman. (hyper link maybe? to Dr. joel furhman
4 oz pomegranate juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
juice from half of a lemon
Blend all ingredients together. Add water to get to desired consistency.
Morton JF (1987). “Pomegranate, Punica granatum L.”. Fruits of Warm Climates. Purdue New Crops Profile. pp. 352–5. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
“Etymology of pomegranate“. Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper. 2015.
Pomegranate. Bible search. New King James Version. Exodus 28:33-34
Kelishadi R, Gidding SS, Hashemi M, et al. Acute and long term effects of grape and pomegranate juice consumption on endothelial dysfunction in pediatric metabolic syndrome. J Red Med Sci 2011;16:245-53.
Noda Y, Kaneyuki T, Mori A, et al. Antioxidant Activities of Pomegranate Fruit Extract and Its Anthocyanidins: Delphinidin, Cyanidin, and Pelargonidin. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(1): 166-71