Pomegranate –health benefits + smoothie recipe
The season for some of the fruits and veggies I can recognize immediately while shopping on Sunday food market in Brussels. As soon as some of the fruits are visible on all of the stands and traders are screaming about much lower price than usual- it means it is worth to buy them. At this moment one of the king is pomegranate. In the northern hemisphere the season starts on September/October and runs for a few months (until February). This fruit has been known since ancient times and is visible in many cultures as a symbol of longevity and fertility, and by no surprise should be consider in our diet nowadays: it is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you are not familiar with it, is a red or yellowish fruit (that’s depends on the species, I would say a yellow tough outer layer with a red blush, and full of juicy red seeds inside-called arils). Only the juice and the seeds inside are edible.But actually as the inedible skin can include as much as triple amount of polyphenols, its extract is used in a dietary supplements and cosmetics.
It will not be exaggeration to say that this fruit belongs to one of the most healthy in the world. The list of vitamins and minerals is long: B group (B1,B2,B3, B5, B6,B9), Choline, Vit. C, E, K, calcium, iron,magnesium,manganese, phosphorus, potassium,sodium, zinc. It includes also fibre.
What health benefits you will get by eating pomegranate?
- Extremely high antioxidant activity: Lets start with 2 active components of pomegranate: Punicalagins (are extremely powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate) and Punicic acid, (also known as pomegranate seed oil, is the main fatty acid in the seeds arils. The antioxidant activity of pomegranate juices was evaluated and compared to those of red wine and a green tea infusion- and guess what? It showed an antioxidant activity three times higher than those of red wine and green tea. Pomegranate extract and powder is typically made from the peel, due to its high antioxidant and punicalagin content.
- Blood and heart diseases prevention: Regular intake of pomegranate juice can maintain good flow of the blood in the body. Pomegranate juice is under research for affecting heart disease risk factors. It prevent the atherosclerosis (Researchers found that pomegranate juice prevent hardening of the arteries).
- Cancer prevention thanks to high doze of antioxidants (flavonoids). Flavonoids are known to be effective in counteracting various cancer radials. Study shows that “phytochemicals in plants may have cancer preventive benefits through antioxidation and via gene-nutrient interactions”. There are active ongoing research on the health benefits of pomegranate, which shows that “regular consumption of pomegranates can reduce the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the body and aid in the fight against existing cancer cells in the body”.
- Anti-inflammatory effect: Punicalagins which are the major component responsible for pomegranate juice’s antioxidant activity helps to reduce chronic inflammation in the body (cells). Chronic inflammation is one of the leading drivers of many diseases (cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer, etc.)
- Boosting immunology: Rich in vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals will help you to maintain a healthy immune system through antibody production and wil keep you away of common illnesses and infections (cold, flu, etc). Being rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, pomegranates will help those fighting immune-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
I think the only challenge you may have is actually while peeling the skin of- it took me a while to find my way.
How to peel of the pomegranate? Cut the crown of pomegranate to expose the seeds and then score the pomegranate layer from end to end in few places: cut deep enough to go through the skin, but not too deep, so you don’t cut through the seeds. Put the pomegranate in the bowl with cold water for 5 min. Quarter the pomegranate. Pull apart the skin, and gently nudge the seeds out. Pieces of skin and the white layer will float to the top.
Recipe for a morning, full of antioxidants smoothie:
- 1 banana
- 1 orange
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
- 1 glass of almond milk
- 2 spoons of seeds or nuts (chia, flax seeds,different type of nuts)