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The power of pomegranates

MICHAELA THOMPSON, ETSU Dietetic Intern • Dec 6, 2017 at 4:30 PM

In the past and present, pomegranates have been utilized and recognized as a super fruit for their incredible nutritional and medicinal powers in various civilizations across the globe. 

The pomegranate, Punica granatum, produces a red fruit with a flower-shaped stem on a shrub. The fruit is categorized as a berry, and each pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds called arils surrounded by translucent flesh. 

In the Northern Hemisphere, they are in season from September through February. In regards to nutrition benefits, pomegranates are rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, and minerals such as copper, folate and potassium.

Pomegranate is known to be a powerhouse of nutrition loaded with antioxidants, which research shows can lower the risk of developing various diseases and provide health benefits. Polyphenols are antioxidants found in pomegranates that combat free radicals, which are harmful molecules that result in cell damage in the body due to stress, smoking and additional environmental pollutants. 

The rich antioxidant content of pomegranates has been shown to reduce inflammation, potentially inhibit cancer growth and lower risk of death from cancer, reduce blood pressure, decrease risk of heart disease, support memory for potential protection against Alzheimer’s disease, and improve exercise performance.

When choosing pomegranates at Food City, select fruits that are round, plump and heavy for their size. Pomegranates can be stored in a cool, dry place for about one month and can be stored for up to two months in the refrigerator. 

The easiest method for removing the pomegranate seeds is to cut it in half, place the halves in a bowl of water, and use your fingers to gently release the seeds from the white membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the white membrane and red peel will float to the top. 

Some simple ways to enjoy pomegranates are to add the seeds to yogurt, oatmeal or cereal, drink pomegranate juice, garnish desserts with the seeds, and sprinkle the seeds on salads to add a boost of flavor. 

After learning about the power of pomegranates, how will you incorporate this antioxidant-rich fruit into your eating pattern?

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