For centuries, people cherished pomegranates for their ruby red color, flavor, and healing properties.
They were symbols of prosperity and abundance in many civilizations. In fact, the Bible mentions the pomegranate as this plump fruit that appeared prominently in religious traditions and as a decoration. The red dye created from crushing the blossoms embellished the robes of Jewish priests (Exodus 28:33-34 NKJV). Bronze pomegranates are mentioned as decoration for King Solomon’s temple (Jeremiah 52:22-23 NKJV). The biblical people not only ate the fruit, they used it for medicinal purposes as the flowers were used to treat dysentery (Bible Gateway Encyclopedia 2019).
The Power of Pomegranates
Today, the consumption of pomegranates continues to increase as more research studies prove its powerful health benefits. Pomegranates exhibit potent antioxidative, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic properties. A recent study shows that pomegranates, a rich source of natural ingredients, have protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Substances derived from the fruit reduce oxidative stress and platelet aggregation, decrease lipids, and regulate blood pressure. Clinical studies demonstrated that daily intake of pomegranate juice lessens hypertension and reduces atherosclerosis (Wang, 2018).
Another research study indicates that pomegranates are really the superfood that will counteract aging. Scientists discovered a molecule that when transformed by microbes in the gut, enables musclecells to protect themselves against the major causes of aging (Dongryeol, 2016).
Further research shows that different foods play a role in arthritis inflammation. Foods that are rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants may help neutralize Rheumatoid Arthritis inflammation and alleviate symptoms. Pomegranates are often recommended for symptom and inflammation reduction as the fruit is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. A study found that pomegranate juice is rich in polyphenolic compounds that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which decreases inflammation and oxidative stress. Participants in the study experienced significantly less joint tenderness, swelling, and pain intensity (Ghavipour, 2017).
Arils: The Secret’s Inside
The thick skin of the pomegranate is inedible, but the hundreds of seeds called arils can be eaten raw or juiced. Pomegranate seeds burst with a delicious, tangy, slightly acidic flavor and emit a distinctly perfumed and invigorating aroma. Incorporating pomegranate arils into favorite recipes is easy. Sprinkle the arils on guacamole, green and fruit salads, and yogurt for an extra bite of flavor and crunch. The seeds make a delicious topping for oatmeal. Another option is drinking pomegranate juice as it contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for a healthy body.
The pomegranate fruit season in the Northern Hemisphere is from September through February. When selecting fresh pomegranates, look for a ripe, intensely red colored fruit that feels heavy for its size.
From their distinctive crown to their ruby red arils that burst with sweet and tart flavors, pomegranates are considered royalty among fruit. Rich in vitamin C and potassium, an excellent source of fiber, and plenty of antioxidants make pomegranates a superfood. Enjoy the powerful pomegranate and reap its countless nutritional benefits.
3 Steps, No Mess Method for removing the arils (seeds) from Pomegranates
Cut off the crown and cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water and then roll out the arils with your fingers. Discard everything but the seeds. Strain out the water. Then eat the remaining succulent arils whole.
Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a container. Cover and shake.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tabor, Aaron, MD. www.beliefnet.com/followingjesus/features/10-medicines-used-during-jesus-times.aspx?p=7
Wang, D., Özen, C., Abu-Reidah, I. M., Chigurupati, S., Patra, J. K., Horbanczuk, J.O. Atanasov, A. G. (2018). Vasculoprotective Effects of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.). Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 544. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00544
Dongryeol Ryu, Laurent Mouchiroud, Pénélope A. Andreux, Elena Katsyuba, Norman Moullan, Amandine A Nicolet-dit-Félix, Evan G Williams, Pooja Jha, Giuseppe Lo Sasso, Damien Huzard, Patrick Aebischer, Carmen Sandi, Chris Rinsch & Johan Auwerx. Urolithin A induces mitophagy and prolongs lifespan in C. elegans and increases muscle function in rodents. Nature Medicine, July 2016 DOI: 10.1038/nm.4132
M Ghavipour, G Sotoudeh, E Tavakoli, K Mowla, J Hasanzadeh & Z Mazloom. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. volume 71, pages 92–96 (2017)