What’s in a pomegranate, and how to get it out

During Christmas, my husband John and I discovered a fast and simple way to deseed a pomegranate. We banged the fruit with a wooden spoon, which allows the seeds to loosen and fall into a bowl (see video).

Pomegranate seeds are delicious. They have that slightly tart, yet sweet and juicy taste. You can eat them whole or include them in salads, salsas, main meals, smoothies or desserts.

Pomegranates are ancient fruits mentioned in Greek mythology and the Old Testament. They have been found in Egyptian tombs and were part of Persian wedding ceremonies as a symbol of joy and prosperity. In North America, the pomegranate is a winter fruit and is sometimes called the “Jewel of the Winter”.

Health benefits of the pomegranate

Over 2000 years ago in the Mediterranean, people used pomegranates to treat diseases. Now, clinical results show that the fruit is rich in plant chemicals – known as phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.

The group of phytochemicals in pomegranate seeds is called polyphenols, which include various chemicals with antioxidant activity such as the flavonoids quercetin and anthocyanins. The fruit also has ellagitaninn compounds, which are largely responsible for the pomegranate’s antioxidant ability. The high antioxidant content in the fruit is one of the main reasons why the pomegranate is widely regarded as a key food in the fight against cancer and heart disease.

The antioxidants in pomegranate can improve blood flow and protect your arteries from becoming thick and stiff. They can also improve healthy cell survival and destroy cancer cells that cause tumors. The polyphenols in the fruit, such as anthocyanins, have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. More studies on human subjects are needed to verify the health benefits of pomegranates.

Here are some interesting results that I found on the fruit:

8430954146_c919cab123The antioxidants in the seeds can help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) and prevent atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries and cranberries.

The pomegranate’s antioxidant activity can also inhibit or slow down cancer cells, particularly in breast, prostate and colon cancers. If you are treated for cancer, talk to your doctor before taking pomegranate supplements. Supplements can interfere with cancer treatments and make them less effective.

The fruit can reduce joint inflammation and pain in people with arthritis. Pomegranate juice or extract contain enzyme inhibitors that can prevent cartilage degeneration. Check with your doctor before self-treating for osteoarthritis.

Pomegranates are rich in Vitamins C and K. Vitamin C keeps your immune system in order and promotes wound healing. It also helps your skin manufacture collagen and elastin. Vitamin K is important for maintaining strong healthy bones. It also enhances iron absorption and proper blood clotting.

The fruit is also high in niacin, folic acid, potassium, calcium, phosporous, magnesium, manganese and iron. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat the fruit for their health and that of their babies.

Finally, the fruit is nutrient dense, high in fibre and very low in saturated fat. It can aid in weight management and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. The seeds contain protein, sugar and carbohydrates. With carbohydrate counting and glucose monitoring, the fruit can be safely incorporated in a diabetic diet.

If you are looking for a fast and easy way to deseed a pomegranate, check out this short video clip.

 

For more information on the health benefits of pomegranates, read here, here and here.

First photo credit: Darla دارلا Hueske
Second photo credit: Rebecca Siegel
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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

5 thoughts on “What’s in a pomegranate, and how to get it out

  1. I love pomegranates especially in a fluted glass filled with bubbly wine and an ounce of pomegranate liqueur. Looks festive and tastes great!!! Cheers!!!
    Phyllis

  2. Pingback: KITCHEN

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