Pomegranates are a fruit that are often thought of exotic, with many people not knowing much about their health benefits. As it turns out, pomegranates may actually be a superfood. Read on to learn more.
What are Pomegranates?
Pomegranates are a fruit that is native from Iran to northern India. It is grown in the Mediterranean areas of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and also in California. Pomegranates are considered to be a superfood as it is rich in nutrients, high in antioxidants, and can affect cell and molecular structure.
Pomegranates can have three to seven times as much antioxidant value as green tea. These antioxidants include flavenoids and polyphenols such as tannins, ellagic acid, and anthocyanins. They are also high in vitamin C, fibre, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and folic acid.
Benefits of Pomegranates
Pomegranates have many health benefits including:
- Antioxidants – these are vital as they fight free radicals, which can damage and destroy tissues and lead to disease or premature ageing.
- Heart disease – the antioxidants in pomegranates can help to stop bad cholesterol from oxidising, which minimises clogging of the arteries. Pomegranate juice can also stop blood platelets from joining together to form clots – it is a good blood thinner. It can also promote the flow of blood to the heart as well as raise levels of good cholesterol. Pomegranates can also help to lower blood pressure.
- Osteoarthritis – pomegranates can help with this as they can help to slow the deterioration of cartilage. Pomegranate juice acts as an inhibitor on the enzymes that are responsible for damaging cartilage.
- Diarrhea – pomegranates can help to settle diarrhea.
- Skin cancers and allergies – pomegranates can aid the reduction of skin cancers and skin allergies.
- Prostate cancer – a glass of pomegranate juice drunk daily can slow the development of prostate cancer. Studies have shown that PSA (prostate specific antigen), a marker for prostate cancer, rises much slower in men that drink pomegranate juice daily.
- Antimicrobial – pomegranates have been shown to be anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.
How to Use Pomegranates
Pomegranate juice is one of the most common ways to use pomegranates. This is made from the entire pomegranate seed, not just the juice so that you get all the benefits of the fruit. Of course, you can also eat fresh pomegranates when they are in season. It is recommended to have 20ml of juice daily, diluted with water to taste. Refrigerate the juice after you have opened it and use it within one month.
Pomegranate juice may interfere with some medications such as blood-thinners in much the same way as grapefruit juice can. If you are unsure, check with a knowledgeable practitioner first.