Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pomegrantes-They Are Wonderful

Pomegranates have become much more popular in recent years, and there are still uses and facts about them that many people do not know. Up until 5 years ago, I can honestly say I had never seen a pomegranate, let alone tasted one. Once I tried it I fell in love with it and quickly wore myself out on the flavor. Over time though, I have been able to enjoy the fruit in moderation and reap the nutritional benefits as well!

First thing is first about pomegranates-color and size are everything. I never purchase the first pomegranates that show up in the grocery stores. They tend to be pricey and it is for a smaller and less juicy fruit. The best deal you will likely find is for $1 per fruit, but plan on $2-3 depending on season and quality. Pomegranate is already tart, but when it is perfectly ripe and ready for eating the tart juice has a sweetness to it.

The hardest part about buying a pomegranate fruit is getting the individual pieces out without busting them open. I have found the easiest and cleanest method for getting the seed sacks (kernels) out of the fruit is to cut the pomegranate in half (or thirds) and pull it apart with your fingers while it is underwater in a bowl. The purpose for opening the fruit underwater is it prevents the dark colored juice from accidentally staining anything as well as it allows the white membrane to separate away from the part you will eat. The seeds should sink and the membrane should float.

Eating a pomegranate in its fresh natural state is a unique experience. Each kernel of pomegranate has an edible seed inside of it. I find the most satisfying way to eat the pomegranate is buy eating it half a handful at a time. This method allows you to get a bit of the juice at once when you bite the kernels open, then it gives you some texture to chew once the juice has come out of the kernel.

If all of this preparation is too time consuming and messy, you can still enjoy the flavor and benefits of the fruit through juice such as POM Wonderful.

The following are some of the widely believed health benefits of the fruit (from

Fights Breast Cancer
Studies in Israel show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. It may also prevent breast cancer cells from forming.

Lung Cancer Prevention
Studies in mice show that pomegranate juice may inhibit the development of lung cancer.

Slows Prostate Cancer
It slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice.

Keeps PSA Levels Stable
In a study of 50 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day kept PSA levels stable, reducing the need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Protects the Neonatal Brain
Studies show that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice may protect the neonatal brain from damage after injury.

Prevention of Osteoarthritis
Several studies indicate that pomegranate juice may prevent cartilage deterioration.

Protects the Arteries
It prevents plaque from building up in the arteries and may reverse previous plaque buildup.

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