The humble pomegranate is yet further proof of the reasoning behind the Mediterranean diet being hailed as the healthiest diet in the world. For many centuries these rather unexciting and overlooked fruit have grown on farms all around the Mediterranean area and have been a taken for granted seasonal part of the diet. However, research has uncovered substantial benefits to our health from the consumption of pomegranates.
So Why Should We Eat Pomegranates?
Firstly, they can not only protect against atherosclerosis, i.e. the thickening of arterial walls which can cause heart attacks and strokes, but have been reported to actually reverse this thickening and thus return your arteries to a more youthful state.
Research has also shown that they have the ability to lower blood pressure in addition to which they can effectively reduce your levels of bad cholesterol and help increase levels of good cholesterol. The powerful antioxidants found in pomegranates can improve blood flow in all areas of the body and thus lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and impotence. The general antioxidant effect of pomegranates is three times greater than that of either red wine or green tea and should be included in everyone’s diet.
Pomegranates tend to have a fairly short season and do not store very well. However, if you want to make the most of the health benefits of pomegranates all year round then buy them when they are in season and therefore plentiful and cheap and freeze them.
The easiest way to prepare pomegranates for freezing is to cut them in half, immerse them in a deep bowl of water then break the segments apart and pry out the seeds. The seeds will sink and the pith and skin will float. Skim this off the top and then strain the seeds, pat dry on a clean tea towel and freeze in polythene bags excluding the air.
Heart attacks and strokes are the number one killer for men and women alike in the western world so if you are only going to adopt one element of the healthy Mediterranean diet then this should definitely be at the top of your list. The effect pomegranates can have on maintaining a healthy heart should be a health benefit we should all be taking advantage of.
One pomegranate delivers 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of folic acid. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranates are hydrolysable tannins, particularly punicalagins, which have been shown in many peer-reviewed research publications to be the antioxidant responsible for the free-radical scavenging ability of pomegranate juice.