Ruby Red: The Power of Pomegranates

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  

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a container. Cover and shake.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

References

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Pomegranate

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)




Walk, Don’t Run. An Hour A Day Can Turn Off Your Fat Genes

In November 2011 my daughter Kiana and I ran the Honolulu Hawaii Marathon. I searched  for a “Honolulu Hawaii Marathon”  closer to home, but could not find any.  Alas, we had to force ourselves and fly to Hawaii. There we ran 26.2 miles of beautiful Oahu, a full marathon.

We could only find the “Honolulu Marathon” in Honolulu. I use the term “running” very liberally.

Now I use the word ‘ran’ very liberally. I did a lot of walking. A lot. (The next time you see me, ask me how long I took to complete the marathon). The point is, we finished and have our medals and tee-shirts to prove it. We trained for eight months before the trip, running and sometimes walking up and down our street.

Positive Health Benefits

Recently I found out that walking as an exercise, as opposed to running, has positive health benefits. Let us review a few here.

According to a study of 334,000 people by researchers at the University of Cambridge, a regular brisk walk, just 20 minutes a day, cuts your risk of premature death by almost a third. Two other studies, presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago, suggest that walking can be a “potent weapon” in the battle against cancer.

The first study showed that over an eight-year period, women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and who walked for seven or more hours a week, were roughly half as likely to die from the disease than those who did not. The second study showed similar findings, this time for people who had intestinal cancers.

Walking Creates a Body Overhaul

Remember this is walking as an exercise not running.

  • A Harvard study showed that a brisk walk of about an hour a day counteracts by half the effects of “weight-promoting genes.”
  • Just 15 minutes of walking can curb the cravings for chocolate and a variety of sugary snacks.
  • Walking boosts the immune system and eases joint pain. Yes, several studies have found that walking protects the joints and reduces arthritis-related pain by lubricating the joints and strengthening the muscles that support them.
  • All the studies seem to confirm the fact that a regular walking schedule will reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular events including heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

Side Effects and Drug Interaction Risks Eliminated

One researcher stated in regards to the benefit of walking “it’s like a miracle drug.” Now to be very clear, any new activity you plan to engage in like this should have the blessing of your health care provider. It is important to realize that if the benefits of walking is to be maximized, the “brisk walk” should be fast and long enough to produce a slight sweat, at least.

In conclusion, the Greek physician and “Father of Medicine, ” Hippocrates of Kos (460 BC – 370 BC), once said “Walking is man’s best medicine.” The founder of preventive cardiology and physician to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dr. Paul D. White (of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome fame), confirms this when he wrote “a vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy, but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”

So why don’t you join me and get motivated? Begin to walk for your health. Begin today.