Pricey pomegranate juice may be a consumer fad, but the fashionable fruit has been around since time began.
Some scholars even claim it was a pomegranate, not an apple that Eve snacked on in the Garden of Eden.
If so, Eve was smart, but probably didn't know it.
The pomegranate, like the blueberry, is packed with amazing health benefits and full of disease fighting antioxidants.
A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds on yogurt, salad or cereal may even decrease your risk of a host of afflictions from cancer to heart disease.
Introducing the pomegranate-fruit.
Round in shape and roughly between an orange and grapefruit in size, a tough leather-like skin covers this antioxidant power-house.
Slice it open and inside you’ll find the sweet, pulp-covered seeds and here’s where the powerful goodness lies.
How does it taste?
Like a fruit befitting the Garden of Eden.
Once bitten by the pomegranate bug, your lips, fingers, and if you're not careful, even your T-shirt will be stained with the addictive fruit’s sweet nectar.
Patience is required since wrestling the seeds from the tough pith is a challenge (but we believe, well worth it).
What it’s got going for it?
Its natural abundance of antioxidants is the pomegranate’s greatest draw.
Naturally occurring substances, antioxidants protect the body from damage done to cells and DNA by free radicals, pesky compounds, which have been linked to heart disease and cancer, even aging.
Free radicals are as natural to the body as breathing.
In fact, many of the body’s primary processes result in free radical damage.
Aside from internal causes, free radicals are also present in our environment sources, tobacco and alcohol.
How it measures up.
While green tea and red wine have been talked up as good sources of antioxidants some studies suggest that the pomegranate-fruit contains three times the antioxidant properties of both.
It’s got vitamins, too!
The pomegranate-fruit is also a rich source of vitamins-A, C, E and iron.
(The pasteurization process destroys the vitamin-C in commercial pomegranate juice.)
What doesn’t it do?
Though small, studies about the positive health benefits of the pomegranate-fruit are continually growing.
Rich in natural polyphenols, particularly tannins and anthocyanins, research suggests pomegranate juice may reduce your risk of a variety of afflictions from heart disease and stroke to Alzheimer’s disease, breast, prostate and skin cancer.
According to a study at the University of Washington in St. Louis, women may reduce the risk of fetal brain injuries caused by premature or traumatic birth by consuming it while pregnant.
A 2005 study found drinking the juice may even help treat erectile dysfunction.
Pomegranate juice offers sweet health benefits for heart disease patients.
The tasty seeds of the pomegranate appear to offer some sweet health benefits for coronary heart disease patients, according to research.
A study of a small group of people with coronary heart disease found that drinking about one cup (240 mL) of pomegranate juice daily helped reduce stress-induced myocardial ischemia, poor blood flow to the heart muscle brought on by stress or exercise.
The results of this study demonstrate, for the first time, that daily consumption of pomegranate juice for three months may decrease myocardial ischemia and improve myocardial perfusion in patients who have (coronary heart disease).
Although the sample in this study was relatively small, the strength of the design and the clinically significant improvements in myocardial perfusion observed in the experimental group suggest that daily consumption of pomegranate juice may have important clinical benefits in this population.
The researchers examined 45 people with coronary heart disease who had poor blood flow to the heart muscle.
The patients were divided into two groups, with the experimental group drinking a daily cup of pomegranate juice for three months and the control group drinking a placebo, a similar-looking and similar-flavoured beverage that did not contain pomegranate juice.
Electrocardiographic images were captured to assess the effect of the juice on myocardial ischemia.
Results showed that study participants who drank the pomegranate juice experienced a 17% improvement in blood flow to the heart muscle, whereas those given a placebo beverage had an average worsening of 18%.
As for the underlying reasons why the juice had positive effects, the researchers point to its high levels of polyphenols, a group of vegetable chemical substances that have been shown to act as antioxidants.
The findings are consistent with results reported by others who have demonstrated the beneficial effects of beverages high in polyphenols, note the researchers.
The researchers add that further studies of a similar nature should be conducted with larger groups and for a longer period of time.
A good quality pomegranate should have a smooth skin, without cracks, bruises or signs of decay.
If you like your fruit sweet and sour, select one with a reddish skin.
How To Juice a Pomegrante
So, now that you know all about pomegranate-fruit, chances are you’re wondering, what the heck do I do with ‘em?!
Well, it is the pomegranate-fruit "seeds" you’re after, where one of the most potent sources of antioxidants lie in waiting.
Higher in free-radical-killing, and skin-smoothing benefits than both red wine and green tea, pomegranate juice is as delicious as it packed with vitamins and minerals.
Plus it’s kind of fun to make at home!
Start by purchasing pomegranates that are smooth-skinned and heavy for their size.
For each large pomegranate, you can expect to extract about 1 cup of juice.
Wash and dry the pomegranate-fruit, then cut into the blossom-end about one inch.
Use your fingers to crack the pomegranate in half, which will reduce the amount of juice lost vs cutting the whole thing down the center.
Repeat the cutting and cracking process on both halves to make four quarters.
Next, use your fingers to pry the juice-filled seeds from the quarters, letting them land in a bowl filled with cold water.
I recommend doing this deep in the sink, to cut down on juice splattered around the kitchen!
Once all the seeds have been removed, scoop out any white pith that may have fallen into the bowl from the pomegranate, which will rise to the top of the water, then rinse and strain the seeds a couple of times.
At this point you can add the sweet seeds to your morning yogurt, toss into lunchtime salads, pop em in your mouth as-is, or continue on with the juice-making process.
Which is where we head to next!
Transfer the seeds to a blender, then pulse and blend until a pulp is formed.
Strain the seeds into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, then use a spatula to press and scrape every last drop out of the pulp
A few minutes later, voila, fresh pomegranate juice!
Some may find the juice a tad too tart to sip as is, so add a sprinkle of sugar to taste!
Refreshing, and ultra-healthy, too!
Note: For information on another of natures heavy hitting fruits, see the following link;
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