A popular topping used to decorate various desserts and cakes, pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits available in the market. Often used as a substitute for strawberries or pineapples for dessert dressing, pomegranate arils can be used in many different ways. Laden with numerous health benefits, pomegranate and its juice are a good source of vitamin C and other essential minerals that are necessary for the human body.
Also known as Ornamental Fruit because of its ornament like shape and arils that are quite similar to jewels, pomegranate is one of the most royal fruit available across the world.
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Interesting things about Pomegranate
A deciduous shrub belonging to the family of Lythraceae (family of flowering plants), pomegranates are usually available in the market during the months of September to February in the Northern Hemisphere and from March to May in the Southern Hemisphere. Packed with Vitamin B, C, K and antioxidants, Pomegranate Arils and Pomegranate Juice come in a deep red colour making it a perfect fruit for people who have low haemoglobin levels.
A fruit laden with anti-bacterial and antiviral properties, Pomegranates also ensure that you stay healthy and active forever. Derived from the medieval Latin word ‘pomum’ that means apple, pomegranate in early English was also known as ‘pomme-grenade’ or apple of Granada (a city in Spain).
Benefits and Uses of Pomegranate
Being a sweet and tangy fruit, pomegranate possesses certain medicinal qualities that help the human body stay healthy.
1. A heart-healthy fruit
Laden with polyphenols (compounds found in plants) and antioxidant properties, Pomegranates offer ample benefits to the cardiovascular system of the human body. Eating pomegranate ensures healthy blood pressure levels, increased blood flow to the heart, and preventing any kind of damage to the walls of the arteries. According to The American Heart Association, ‘one should incorporate a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet.’
How to Use: Incorporating pomegranate juice to your daily diet can surely increase the chances of preventing your arteries from becoming stiff and thick, thereby protecting your heart and lowering down the blood pressure.
2. Can have an anti-inflammatory effect
According to the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, pomegranate juice can have an anti-inflammatory effect in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. A rich source of polyphenols and flavonoids, pomegranate juice is said to lower down the production of chemicals that are responsible for causing inflammation.
3. Help in losing weight
Apart from boosting the immune system, pomegranate also helps in the reduction of belly fat, thus aiding in weight loss. Known to fight triglyceride (a type of fat found in the blood that form when the body stores extra calories that it doesn’t need to use immediately), and break them down into smaller units, pomegranates thus reduce the excess body fat.
How to use: Consume one bowl full of pomegranate seeds along with other fruits daily.
4. Protects skin from damage
Possessing antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranates can improve the overall health of your skin. Rejuvenating it externally as well as internally, pomegranates are said to strengthen the outer layer of your skin also known as the epidermis, and delays the signs of ageing like wrinkles and dark circles leaving your skin glowing. As per a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, pomegranate extracts protect the skin from oxidative damage.
How to Use: Not just the seeds but pomegranate peel can also work wonders if applied on facial skin. All you have to do is dry the pomegranate peel in the sun for one or two days, grind it and add two tbsp. of this ground pomegranate peel powder to 1 tbsp. of chickpea flour & 2 tbsp of milk cream and apply it to your face. Alternatively, you can also use this dried powdered peel along with fuller’s earth and rosewater to get a glowing skin.
5. Help fight infection
Having antimicrobial effects, pomegranate helps to fight a wide range of bacteria and infections. Said to have the ability to curb the growth of viral pathogens, a study by eCAM states that ‘Nearly every part of the pomegranate plant has been tested for antimicrobial activities, including the fruit juice, peel, arils, flowers, and bark. Many studies have utilized pomegranate peel with success.’
6. Increases the haemoglobin
Being a fruit rich in calcium and iron along with abundant amounts of protein, fibres and carbohydrates, the deep red colour of pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds help increase the level of haemoglobin in the blood. According to the Journal of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, Pomegranate Juice when consumed resulted in a significant increase in Red Blood Cell (RBC) count (P<0.05) as well as haemoglobin levels, thus resulting in high Hematocrit levels (the ratio of red cells in blood).
7. Helps in Digestion
Rich in enzymes having antibacterial properties, pomegranates can be used as a laxative that can loosen the hard stool and increase bowel movement thus providing relief from constipation and other digestion problems. As per an abstract from ‘In vitro gastrointestinal digestion study of pomegranate juice phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and vitamin C’, the pomegranate was found to be an effective remedy to improve digestion.
8. Boosts immunity
Rich in Vitamin C, pomegranates boosts the production of antibodies, thereby improving immunity. According to a research by e-CAM (Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine), pomegranates and its juice possess anti-microbial and antiviral abilities which can help in curbing the growth of any bad foreign bodies that enter our body further leading to improvement in the immune system and its ability to fight back.
9. May fight Arthritis and Joint Pain
Some studies have shown that consumption of pomegranate can decrease the swelling, pain and tenderness. A study conducted in the year 2011 states that pomegranate consumption can reduce the Disease Activity Index in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis due to the antioxidative properties of pomegranate.
10. Prevents Prostate Cancer
A study conducted by the American Cancer Society states that some researchers have found the consumption of pomegranate extract or pomegranate juice is found to be effective in slowing down the time taken for PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level to double up in patients who suffer from prostate cancer.
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Nutritional Value of Pomegranate
|Servings||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||3.3 g||0.05|
|Dietary fiber||11 g||0.44|
Vitamin C: With high quantities of Vitamin C present in its seeds and peel, pomegranates can be a good option for people who suffer from heart diseases.
Also Read: Coconut Nutrition | Pineapple Calories
Risks or Precautions when consuming Pomegranates
Though there are not any known side effects of pomegranates, this fruit if consumed in high quantities may lead to:
Low Blood Pressure: Pomegranates are known to be a blood thinning agent, preventing the formation of blood clots. People who already have low blood pressure should refrain from eating this fruit or consume it in low quantities because it may lead to a drop in blood pressure.
Allergic: People who generally suffer from plant allergies may have an allergic reaction to pomegranate consumption.
How to Consume Pomegranate
Choosing a fresh and good pomegranate is as important as consuming one. To choose the best pomegranate to keep in mind the following important things:
- Size: A good and ripe pomegranate will be almost the size of an orange or slightly bigger.
- Colour: The darker the colour of a pomegranate the more juicy and ripe will it be.
- Weight: A ripe pomegranate usually feels heavier when held.
- Tightness: If a pomegranate appears to be tight and smooth on rubbing, the pomegranate is ripe.
Though the best way to consume a pomegranate is peeling it afresh or consuming its juice, the fruit can also be consumed in the following forms:
Remove the pomegranate seeds from its peel, sprinkle some salt over it and you’re done. For some variation, you can add the arils to yoghurt or top your favourite ice cream with these beautiful jewels.
Juice out a fresh pomegranate and add some salt and pepper to it. The health benefits of consuming pomegranate juice are more than those of consuming it in any other way.
Add some fresh fruits along with some whipped cream and savour the taste of this amazing dish.
Fun Facts about Pomegranate
- Pomegranates are classified as superfoods and belong to the berry family. Can you see the resemblance?
- Pomegranate shrubs have a life of around 200 years. That’s pretty much more than any other tree, apart from mango and few others can ever live.
- Pomegranates have been mentioned many times in the Bible.
- In Greek mythology, Pomegranates are the symbol of Persephone (the wife of King of Underworld- Hades).
- Every October, the cities of Goychay and Azerbaijan celebrate the Pomegranate Festival. Woah! A festival dedicated to pomegranates.
- Pomegranates are known as ‘The Jewel of Winter’ in the Northern Hemisphere.
- It is also believed that it was a pomegranate and not an apple, that was used by Satan to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Pomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits that one can ever have. Laden with so many benefits, it is a fruit which can be used as a medicine or as a dessert décor. But because pomegranates contain sugar, one should always keep in mind to consult the doctor before beginning to consume pomegranates as a home remedy.