The pomegranate (botanical name Punica granatum), is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub belonging to the family Punicaceae. The name pomegranate derives from Medieval Latin pōmum(apple) and grānātum (seeded). Its jewel-like seeds (arils) have been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Nearly round, but crowned at the base by the prominent calyx, the pomegranate has a tough, leathery skin or rind, basically yellow more or less overlaid with light or deep pink or rich red. The interior is separated by membranous walls and white spongy tissue (rag) into compartments packed with transparent sacs filled with tart, flavorful, fleshy, juicy, red, pink or whitish pulp (the aril). In each sac, there is one white or red, angular, soft or hard seed. The seeds represent about 52% of the weight of the whole fruit. Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.
How to seed a Pomegranate:
People normally avoid the fruit as peeling the outer skin and reaching the sweet seeds is a chore. Here are simple steps to seed a Pomegranate:
- Cut the protruding blossom end (crown) off the pomegranate along with some of the pale-yellow pith ensuring that it’s not deep enough to touch the seeds within.
- Lightly score the skin in quarters from stem to crown.
- Immerse the scored fruit in a large bowl of cool water and soak for 5 minutes. Holding the fruit under water, break sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
- Discard skin and membranes. Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels and enjoy.
History of Pomegranates:
The pomegranate is considered to have originated in Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East and Caucasus region, northern Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the drier parts of south-east Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.
TOP 21 JUICED-UP SECRETS OF POMEGRANATE:
Protects the Arteries
Pomegranate juice improves the body’s ability to reduce cholesterol and destroy free radicals in the vascular system. It has anti-atherogenic effect on the heart that fights hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), prevents the buildup of plaque in the arteries, keeping the arteries flexible and decreasing the inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels.
Fights Metabolic Syndrome
Pomegranates helps the body regulate sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, and other issues related to the metabolic syndrome which is a major contributor to obesity and often a precursor to diabetes.
Drinking fresh pomegranate juice is an excellent remedy to soothe the pain and inflammation caused by severe diarrhea with blood and mucus in stools.
Pomegranate extract provides effective protection to the kidneys-the super filters from damage caused by harmful toxins through its cleansing process.
Pomegranate juice contains a potent mix of vitamins and minerals including folic acid and antioxidants that ensure healthy blood flow, and lower the risk of premature child birth or birth of babies with low birth weight. The potassium content helps prevent leg cramps and prevents morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Pomegranates are rich in anti oxidants that reduce levels of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL) and improves HDL or good cholesterol in the body.
The highest antioxidant values and nutritional components (luteolin, ellagic, and punicic acids) protects cells from free radical damage and stimulates the white blood cells to neutralize toxins, induces apoptosis (a process where the cells destroy themselves), blocks aromatase (enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen) preventing breast, lung and prostate and skin cancers.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Pomegranate juice reduces lesions and inflammation of blood vessels, is an anti-coagulant, and an effective blood thinner, facilitating the smooth flow of blood throughout the body and controls your blood pressure.
Immune System Boost
Pomegranate juice has strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which help fight viruses and bacteria and boost our immunity system. Out of all the fruits, pomegranate’s anti-microbial properties have the highest potential to inhibit the transmission of HIV. It contains vitamin C which improves resistance for outer infections caused by the viruses.
Pomegranates are rich in polyphenol compounds that inhibit and keep under control the biochemical processes associated with allergic symptoms.
Pomegranate juice contains high amount of iron that compensates for any deficit of red blood cells and is especially beneficial for women after monthly loss of blood due to menstruation.
Pomegranate juice acts as an inhibiter on enzymes that are responsible for damaging the cartilage in patients suffering from osteoarthritis and bone inflammation.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Although pomegranate juice contains fructose, it does not elevate the blood sugar level as other fruit juices do as it gets absorbed into the blood slowly without causing sugar spikes.
Soothes Respiratory Tract
The high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in this fruit is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which reduces wheezing in young children with asthma and significantly reduces the soreness and redness in the throat.
Aids Weight Loss
Pomegranate contains very low amount of natural fat and cholesterol while being flush with nutrients and minerals. The soluble and insoluble dietary fiber increases satiety, increase bulk of the stool and expels fat and toxins from the body.
Pomegranate shows anti-inflammatory properties in several parts of body. For this reason there are so many health benefits of pomegranate, it yields a protection status against asthma, piles, diarrhea and other diseases.
Pomegranate juice not only protects the liver, but helps in the rebuilding process in case of damage due to alcohol or substance abuse. Helps replenish the natural functioning of this vital organ.
Pomegranate juice induces hunger, controls thirst, and the high amount of dietary soluble and insoluble fiber, helps to improve digestion and regulate bowel movement.
Pomegranate juice slows down ageing process by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, dark spots and pimples; provides hydration through punicic acid, an omega 3 fatty acid; hastens the process of healing of wounds and extends the life of fibroblasts responsible for the production of collagen and elastin. Pomegranate contains antioxidants –anthocyanins, hydrolysable tannins, and ellagic acid (polyphenol) that inhibit the growth of cancer of the skin.
Pomegranate juice consumed regularly helps strengthen the hair follicles preventing hair fall and giving the hair a healthy and lustrous look.
Nutrient Super Store
Pomegranate contains vast amounts of vitamin such as Vitamin A, C, K, and B5. Other vitamin B complex compounds are also present in this fruit which include pantothenic acid, folates, pyridoxine which have lots of health benefits. Pomegranate is also full of minerals including calcium, potassium, copper and manganese that give a proper balanced nutrition for good health.
Side effects and Precautions:
People with asthma should be especially careful before drinking pomegranate juice. Some of the reactions to pomegranate include nausea, vomiting, hives, red itchy eyes and difficulty breathing.
Pomegranate roots and stems contains tannins that if consumed can be toxic to humans.
Pomegranate juice is POSSIBLY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women. But it is not known if other forms of pomegranate, such as pomegranate extract, are safe. If you use pomegranate, stick with the juice during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Low Blood Pressure
Avoid pomegranate juice in combination with prescription medicines or herbs and supplements designed to lower blood pressure, as it will multiple the “lowering” effect leading to fatal hypotension.
Grapefruit and pomegranate juices have shown to interfere with an enzyme, secreted by the liver, in the body that’s vital to metabolizing many common medications, such as some statins for cholesterol and other toxins.
High Sugar Content
The pomegranate fruit is rich in sugar and carbohydrates and this high sugar content makes it unsuitable for consumption by people suffering from diabetes. Also, if you are one who is on a diet and is looking out to cut your calorie intake, then pomegranate juice is certainly not for you.
Excessive pomegranate fruit and juice consumption can lead to gastrointestinal tract problems such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Also avoid intake of oily food along with pomegranate.