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Pomegranate is a juicy, reddish-pink fruit full of anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants. Pomegranates have a native range that belongs from Afghanistan to North-East Turkey. The fruit also has a Latin name, which is Malum Granatum meaning ‘grainy apple’. Botanically pomegranate has one ovary and several seeds. Therefore it is classified as a berry. The fruit has for centuries been of extreme importance due to its nutritional and medicinal value.
The roots, leaves, flowers and fruit of pomegranates comprise polyphenol chemicals potent to fight against a number of diseases. The fruit makes a prominent feature across many paintings depicting stories of Greek Mythology, especially in the myth of Hades and Persephone.
In this article, we briefly discuss the various health benefits of pomegranates and ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.
8 Health Benefits of Pomegranates:
1. Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are very important to protect cells from free radical damage that are present in the environment. Pomegranates as mentioned are rich in polyphenolic compounds and antioxidants that protect the body from this damage and prevent diseases. The bioactive compounds with antioxidant functions found in the fruit are anthocyanins, punicalagin and hydrolysable tannins.
2. Keeps Inflammation at Bay
Short-term inflammation is not harmful. It is a bodily response to an infection or a condition. But chronic inflammation, when neglected, can lead to an array of life-disrupting diseases such as Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. This is attributed to the compound punicalagin contained in pomegranate fruit.
3. May Have Anticancer Benefits
The compounds present in a pomegranate fruit can either slow down the spread of the abnormal cells or even help kill them. Upon studies conducted, the fruit has shown anti-tumour properties for cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and skin.
4. Maintains Urinary Health
Pomegranate extract can reduce the chances of kidney stone formation. Additionally, it has antioxidant properties, which are abundant after eating. Pomegranate can also help to monitor the quantity of calcium, oxalates and phosphates in the blood, components that form kidney stones.
5. Heart Health Benefits
Fruits like pomegranates, high in polyphenolic compounds are extremely beneficial for heart health. Studies have revealed that pomegranate can help lower inflammation and oxidative stress within the arteries, and can help tackle atherosclerosis. It is a type of plaque build-up within the arteries that are extremely dangerous as it can cause strokes and heart attacks.
6. Has Antimicrobial Properties
The compounds present in pomegranate help fight microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria and yeast. Regular consumption of pomegranate can protect oral health by targeting germs that play an active role in tooth decay and bad breath.
Compounds found in pomegranate help fight the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, that can cause serious diseases if ingested.
7. Enhances Endurance
Consuming the fruit as a whole or the juice an hour before your workout can help build endurance or your ability to continue working out for a longer time without getting tired. A gram of pomegranate extract can increase the time taken to feel exhausted by 12%.
8. Supports Digestion
Pomegranates contain beneficial gut bacteria, which aid in maintaining digestive health if you eat them often. Pomegranate has been proven to increase the activity of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, implying that the fruit has prebiotic properties.
Prebiotics are fibrous compounds that act like fuel for good bacteria present in the digestive tract. Additionally, fibre is super essential to protect oneself from digestive issues such as colon cancer, constipation, haemorrhoid diverticulitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
5 Ways to Enjoy Pomegranates Daily
Many people find extracting the seeds from a pomegranate fruit quite the task but knowing the right technique will lessen your time and cause minimal fruit wastage. First, you need to cut open the fruit from the centre. Then take a wooden spoon and hit the skin with the lower end until all the seeds fall out. Another method is to use a knife and score the fruit from the sides.
Now that you have managed to collect the seeds in one place, here is how you can enjoy them daily for better health:
- By making homemade pomegranate juice in the juicer.
- By adding them to a tropical fruit salad
- By turning the seeds into a compote and topping off your cheesecake
- By adding them to your cereal or overnight oats
- Make an easy pomegranate sorbet with pomegranate juice, sugar, lemon juice and mint leaves.
Pomegranate is a delicious fruit which is a must-have if you want a healthy body. Enjoy it in the form of a juice, or have it raw with a spoon. The possibilities with pomegranate in terms of nutrition, health and dishes are a lot.