Inside a lumpy, thick-skinned pomegranate (Punica granatum) you’ll find a treasure of jewel-like arils—ruby seeds surrounded by sacs of flavorful juice. Pomegranate is both richly sweet and tart and exceptionally refreshing. For centuries, cultures around the world have used all parts of the tree—roots, bark, flowers, peel, seed and seed oil—to treat a range of health concerns, including digestive discomforts, fever, and heart ailments.
Did you know pomegranate has more antioxidant power than red wine and green tea? A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is beneficial to the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin gives pomegranate its antioxidant effects.
Preliminary research shows that drinking unsweetened pomegranate juice helps lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart, and may help protect against the formation of blockages in the arteries. Further research is needed to determine how much pomegranate juice (or as a nutritional supplement) is beneficial not only for heart disease but also for arthritis, erectile dysfunction and certain types of cancers.
When buying pomegranate, don’t shy away from a fruit that doesn’t look perfect. Unusual shape and weight indicate a fruit that is plump with arils and juice. Pomegranates do not sweeten once picked, so avoid fruits that look dried out.
Savor the flavor of pomegranate by eating the arils by the spoonful, adding them to salads or to a bowl of Greek yogurt. Any way you choose, you’ll reap the health benefits of this exotic fruit.
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