The Health Benefits Of The Pomegranate
The pomegranate is an exotic fruit that dates back to Greek mythology. It is considered a symbol of health, rebirth, and fertility. Primarily grown in the warmer climates of the Middle East, Southern Europe, and California, this unassuming fruit is a powerhouse of health.
The most recent research on pomegranate can be found in the British Journal of Biomedical Science and BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Researchers from London found that the pomegranate rind can be turned into an ointment to treat common hospital infections, such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The scientists combined the rind with metal salts and vitamin C to create a topical product that attacks microbes on the skin.
Pomegranates are probably best known for being heart-healthy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pomegranate can help degrade LDL cholesterol, preventing the development of atherosclerosis. The juice of the fruit can also keep blood platelets from clumping together and forming clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke. The American Journal of the College of Cardiology found that just eight ounces of pomegranate juice a day for three months can improve the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart muscle. Pomegranate is also high in potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure.
Relief from arthritis pain is another area of study of the beneficial components of the pomegranate. Scientists at Case Western University found that inflammation in cartilage cells is reduced in response to pomegranate extract and cartilage breakdown is less active.
A number of smaller studies have found other health benefits from eating pomegranate fruit or drinking its juice. The Journal of Urology linked long-term consumption of pomegranate juice with relief from erectile dysfunction. An animal study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that pomegranate extract delayed prostate cancer tumor growth in mice. There are also studies that show that the antioxidant content of pomegranate — three times greater than that of red wine or green tea — may be beneficial in fighting other types of cancer as well, such as breast and lung cancer.
Pomegranate may also be beneficial to brain cells. Studies show that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice may protect the neonatal brain from damage and in mice. It appears to protect from amyloid plaque buildup that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
How to eat a pomegranate
Eating a pomegranate takes practice. The juice-containing seeds are the edible part of the pomegranate. To remove the seeds, cut the pomegranate into sections and hold it seed-side down over a bowl. Hit the rind to dislodge the seeds from the membrane. The seeds can be eaten whole, or passed through a juicer to create a juice.