I’ve always been thoroughly fascinated with this fruit. The texture and cool demeanor of these seeds makes it almost impossible not to want to pinch them between your fingers and find ways to play with them. These complex little gems sometimes remind me of candy and other times of great colored corn kernels.
This ancient Medditeranean and Middle-Eastern fruit was the legend of Greek myths for its health benefits and Chinese medical practitioners recognize the juice for its help in promoting longevity. Western science has been catching up for the past few years with hundreds of studies on the health benefits of the pomegranate. The seeds, also known in more technical nutritional/botanical circles as ‘arils’ are packed with antioxidants.
Nutritional qualities and potential health benefits . . .
While some studies are still underway, pomegranate (or juice of) has been credited with preventing or inhibiting prostate and breast cancer; reducing several key heart disease risk factors; assisting in blood sugar challenges, including diabetes; protection against rheumatoid arthritis; and I have seen it referenced stringently at least once that it helps with erectile dysfunction. While that last one causes a few ponderous and probably silly thoughts, the most fascinating one to me is that it may inhibit the bacteria that causes dental plaque! I spend a lot of extra time with my favorite dental hygienist because I seem to have excessive plaque buildup, and if pomegranate juice can spare me even a few minutes in the chair, I’m paying attention!
Pomegranates are now being touted as one of the hot new “super foods” that both tastes good and is good for you. Nutritional research confirms that pomegranates contain minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron, plus compounds known as phytonutrients. The powerful antioxidants in the fruit also help slow down that crazy aging process and can destroy almost twice as many free radicals as red wine and seven times as many as green tea. Here’s one benefit that along with the dental thing makes me want to eat these magical fruits every day – some researchers suggest that the crunchy seeds help flush fats from the digestive tract.
What you probably didn’t know about pomeganates . . .
- pomegranates are used for natural dyeing
- pomegranates are the official logo of many cities in Turkey
- the pomegranate is one of the main symbols of Armenia representing fertility, marriage and abundance
- the pomegranate is a powerful religious symbol showing up in Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions
The pomegranate growers in California have a nice website loaded with facts and pomegranate recipes. Honestly, I haven’t cooked with pomegranate in long enough that I can’t pull anything out of the memory banks. I was inspired to write this post because I’ve been seeing a lot about the amazing benefits of this fruit – and it is attached to this season, although it is most certainly NOT a regional food for those of us in the north east!
After reading and researching all this, I’m going to change that. I’ll get back to you with a good Green Diva tested recipe soon.
eat. blog. be merry!