One Great Ability of the Pomegranate

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Have you tried pomegranate juice before? Its potent flavor may signify its potent effect on your health. It is an artery-healing nectar.

Pomegranates look peculiar, that’s for sure. Pomegranates are cultivated mostly in Arizona and California, and the trees from which they grow are as tall as 30 feet. The fruit itself is about the size of a large onion, with a purple-red exterior. It has been used throughout history for health purposes. According to Hebrew tradition, pomegranates adorn the clothing of the high priest. In ancient Persia, warriors were given the fruit’s seeds for invincibility. And, over in China, the pomegranate has been associated with longevity.

Take a knife down the center of the fruit, splitting it open, and you find a fruit like no other. It’s filled with small, red seeds, about the size of corn kernels, which are housed inside strange-looking white membrane tissue. Each seed is found within a little sac within the tissue. It is the seeds you eat, and the seeds that are squeezed into juice. Pop just one seed in your mouth and you’ll immediately sense the fruit’s potency. The unmistakable taste is unleashed in your mouth a moment after crunching the seed. It is a popular addition to salads and other restaurant appetizers.

Nutrition-wise, the pomegranate of course contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. One small fruit delivers 10% of your daily recommended potassium, 40% of your vitamin C, and eight percent of your iron. Also, the fruit contains particularly high levels of three different polyphenols, nutrients that are potent antioxidants. It is these — tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid — in combination with the high level of vitamin C that likely offer the protection against clogged arteries.

Foods high in antioxidant nutrients are believed to help prevent cells from being damaged in a way that leads to chronic disease. In a study from February, 26 people drank 250 milliliters of either apple juice or pomegranate juice for one month. Apple juice is low in antioxidants, while pomegranate juice is high. The researchers used a variety of measurements to see what the change was in their bodies. Apple juice, as expected, provided an insignificant effect on antioxidant function in the older adults. But daily doses of pomegranate juice boosted their antioxidant capacity to significant levels.

Other studies have previously highlighted the pomegranate’s protection against cellular changes that can cause disease. They have been found to lower stress in the blood vessels and actually slow the progression of “atherosclerosis,” which is plaque buildup in the arteries.

In all, pomegranate juice is fuller with antioxidants than other fruit juice, such as blueberry, cranberry orange — and red wine, whose claims to health are based solely on this fact. It’s hoped the pomegranate juice may someday be used to prevent and even treat heart disease. For now, it’s available for you to drink anytime!