Pomegranates have been the “it” fruit for several years now, and not just because they taste good. (Which, by the way, they do; slightly tart but refreshing.)
No, at least part of the reason that pomegranate is such a popular flavor in juices, yogurts, tea and even ice cream is because the pomegranate is just so darned good for you.
Low in calories, high in fiber and Vitamin C, the pomegranate is just loaded with antioxidants. And even though it’s a fruit that has been eaten for centuries – it was even mentioned in the Book of Exodus – scientists have only more recently begun to study its health benefits. Just in the year 2010, pomegranate juice or extract was studied in 23 individual clinical trials registered with the National Institute of Health.
- Researchers are examining this fruit for links to protection against the following diseases; atherosclerosis, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, lymphoma, the common cold, coronary artery disease and still more.
- The pomegranate juice or extract contains powerful antioxidant compounds that scientists believe can help inhibit the formation of plaque in the arteries, as well as balance high blood pressure. Because of its high levels of polyphenolic compounds, it has greater antioxidant activity when compared to red wine or green tea.
- Studies in the field of cancer have also shown promise with the pomegranate in its ability to block aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen, a hormone known to have a role in the development of breast cancer. Natural compounds in the fruit may potentially prevent estrogen-related breast cancer.
- According to a report in the International Journal of Cancer, Dr. Hasan Mukhtar and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin at Madison conducted a variety of experiments to test the anti cancer effect of this fruit and found it has the ability to block skin tumor formation.
All that said – fresh pomegranates can be a little intimidating to prepare and eat. The part you eat are actually the hard little seeds, surrounded by a little sac of juice, called an “aril.” You can eat them on their own, or add them to yogurt or cereal, or even freeze them for a cold treat on warm days.
However, with the growing popularity of this fruit, it’s easier than ever to enjoy it. You can now purchase just the arils, cleaned and ready to eat, in the produce section. Or, several companies have taken the work out of getting the juice, with pomegranate juices that can be found on our grocery shelves with our juice selection. And, several yogurt companies have begun making a pomegranate flavor – check in the dairy section to see if your favorite brand has, too.