Pomegranates have a reputation for being a scary fruit. However, the many health benefits are worth the effort of cracking open the tough skin to get to the juicy, ruby-red seeds (also called arils, which refers to the seeds and the juice around it).
Tart arils have been shown to promote overall health and prevent disease. They may also be the missing ingredient in your salad dressing or seltzer that will make your meal complete.
Let’s learn more about the pomegranate: how it got its name, why it’s good for you, and where to find it.
A Pomegranate Is… What Made It a Superfood, Anyway?
The jewel-like arils found within the pomegranate fruit’s leathery red rind are the fruit’s most recognisable feature. For hundreds of years, farmers in India, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the equatorial regions of Africa have cultivated pomegranates for their delicious fruit.
Ancient peoples associated pomegranates with fertility, so the fruit appears frequently in artworks from all periods.
A few centuries ago, people brought the fruit to North America, and today it is grown in states like California and Arizona. The pomegranate’s popularity has skyrocketed as scientists investigate its many purported health-giving components.
You can get your hands on pomegranate in a variety of forms these days, including the fruit itself, juice, powder, extract, and vitamin supplement.
The arrival of POM Wonderful on the market in the early 2000s contributed to the pomegranate’s reputation as a hip superfood.
Before POM Wonderful’s inception, most people only associated pomegranates with seasonal salads. However, the company’s founders popularised pomegranate juice by funding numerous studies that extolled the health benefits of the fruit. It’s not necessary to shop at a health food store to find pomegranate juice anymore.
Calories, carbohydrates, sugar, and more in the pomegranate.
The arils of a pomegranate are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can protect cells from becoming damaged.
It’s been found that pomegranate juice contains three times as many antioxidants as other antioxidant-rich beverages like green tea and red wine.
The arils of a pomegranate are rich in antioxidants and a good source of other nutrients, making them an excellent choice for the “fruit” portion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily diet. In a half cup serving, you get:
The amount of carbohydrates is 27 grammes (g).
Sweetener Content: 89 Grams
Sodium: 5 g Fibre: 5 g (about 18 percent daily value, or DV)
A total of 205 mcg (mg) potassium (about 4 percent DV)
Vitamin C 9mg (about 10 percent DV)
3 ug, or micrograms Supplemental K Vitamin (about 3 percent DV)
32 g Folate (about 8 percent DV)
Is There Any Evidence That Pomegranates Are Good For You?
Among the many possible benefits of consuming pomegranate, studies have shown:
Assists in preventing cardiovascular disease. Pomegranates have been linked to a reduction in cholesterol, which can have a beneficial effect on heart health.
Beneficial effects against inflammation. The antioxidant properties of the fruit’s vitamin C may provide protection against numerous chronic conditions, including some forms of cancer and diabetes type 2.
Bring down the elevated blood pressure. Pomegranate antioxidants may aid in controlling hypertension, which is important for maintaining healthy blood vessels, heart, and brain.
Efficacy in treating erectile disfunction (ED). Half of the men who drank 8 ounces (oz) of pomegranate juice daily saw an improvement in their erections, according to one study.
prevention of cancer, including prostate cancer. There is preliminary evidence that consuming pomegranate juice may help prevent the spread of prostate cancer.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment assistance. By lowering inflammation and oxidative stress, pomegranate may be useful in the management of rheumatoid arthritis complications, according to a review published in 2021.
It’s possible, though, that pomegranate juice, like grapefruit juice, could slow the body’s ability to absorb certain drugs.
Many claims about the health benefits of pomegranates have been made, but these claims need more rigorous scientific study.
Pomegranate Storage and Selection for Optimal Flavor
Pick a pomegranate that is a vibrant red colour and feels heavy for its size. Those with smooth, flawless skin should scratch it gently to reveal the underlying healthy layer. The fruit is ripe when it is tender and can be scratched with minimal effort.
The shape of the fruit should resemble a slightly elongated circle. This shape of pomegranate indicates that the seeds inside are as juicy as they can be.
Remove the pomegranate from direct sunlight as soon as you can after getting it home. Store it somewhere cool and dry for the best results. Also, it can be kept for up to two months in the fridge.
You can store the arils or juice you get from cracking open the skin in the fridge for up to five days. If you’re not quite ready to eat the arils, you can keep them in the freezer for up to a year.
Preparing and Consuming Pomegranates for Maximum Flavor and Health
Avoid biting into the pomegranate. To get at the arils, you’ll need to make a slit in the skin. But first, don an apron and some gloves; pomegranates are a real mess and will leave permanent stains on your clothes if you don’t take precautions. If you want your fruit to look its best, cut off the crown end.
The pomegranate then needs to have its skin scored three or four times so that it can be broken into smaller pieces. The arils can be easily extracted from the rind by submerging the fruit in water and then gently massaging the fruit with your hands. Arils will accumulate at the dish’s base. Once the arils have been extracted from the fruit, you can discard the rind that has risen to the top of the bowl and strain the remaining contents to recover the arils.
The arils can either be eaten on their own or blended to extract their delicious juices. Blend for a few seconds (too long and the juice will become cloudy), then strain to remove the remaining seeds, and drink up!
Is it Healthy to Drink Pomegranate Juice? Is Pomegranate Extract Any Good?
You should check the label before drinking pomegranate juice, but the juice itself is generally healthy.
The health benefits of juice are diminished when it is combined with other juices or sugary additives, so it’s important to stick to the unadulterated stuff.
Just like pomegranate juice, pomegranate extract has many health benefits. Benefit from an amplified dose of the juice’s goodness with this concentrated form.
Pomegranate extract can be purchased as a supplement or in liquid form. Bear in mind that the fibre content of pomegranate juice and extract is significantly reduced during processing. Therefore, neither of these foods will provide quite as much satiety as a fresh pomegranate.
Possible Health Risks Associated with Consuming Pomegranates
In their various forms, pomegranates are generally very safe and healthy. But some people may experience allergic reactions after consuming pomegranates. They will likely exhibit classic allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes and wheezing.
An Important Fact About Blood Thinners
Some medications, such as those used to thin the blood or lower cholesterol and blood pressure, may not work as well if consumed alongside pomegranate juice. Regular use of any form of pomegranate should be discussed with a medical professional to ensure it is safe for you to do so
Instructions for Making Delicious Pomegranate Dishes at Home
In many cultures, pomegranates are used as a decorative element in both alcoholic beverages and food dishes. However, when consumed as seeds, they become the focal point of the meal. Juice, sauce, or dip could be made by blending the ingredients.
Some tasty dishes that call for pomegranates, pomegranate juice, or pomegranate molasses are listed below.
Carrots Roasted with Pomegranate Syrup
Desserts like smoothies and smoothie bowls
Confetti Pudding with Pomegranate Jelly and Chia Seeds
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which are known to prevent free radicals from damaging your cells. In some studies, pomegranates show potential to be effective in preventing prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancers