We’re just beginning to learn about some of the beneficial plant nutrients (also called phytonutrients) that God added to the pomegranate. There are dozens of sciency names for the various polyphenols, flavonoids, and other plant chemical goodies to which we can point. But the bottom line is that we’re learning that pomegranates are literally some of the most effective, safest, cheapest, most beautiful, and delicious medicine around. Research is scratching the surface on all of the ways plants in general benefit our bodies, and these findings are opening our eyes to a new world of food as medicine.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates
If you don’t have pomegranate fruits and juice on your shopping list, here are 9 reasons to add them now.
1. Pomegranates Have Been Shown to Reduce Cholesterol.
Looks like we can credit plant sterols for this benefit. After my recent cholesterol tests. I’m particularly interested in the cholesterol-lowering ability of this amazing fruit.
2. Research Has Concluded that Pomegranate can Reduce Blood Pressure.
Several studies have linked pomegranate to lowered blood pressure. One showed a reduction with as little as 5 ounces a day for two weeks!
3. Unlike Other Fruit Juices, Pomegranate Juice is Actually Beneficial for Diabetics.
Pomegranate may help to control glucose levels. The phytonutrients in a pomegranate include punicic acid, punicalagin, ellagic acid, and gallic acid, which may have a hypoglycemic effect. Check out the study referenced in the bibliography for more fascinating research on this relevant topic.
4. Pomegranates Can Reduce Arterial Plaque Buildup.
Improved cardiovascular health anyone? All of those phytonutrients appear to help clean out your arteries too.
5. Pomegranates Reduces Inflammation.
More and more, medicine is pointing the finger at inflammation as the root cause of most chronic diseases from Alzheimer’s to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We could all stand to have less chronic inflammation in our lives. Less ibuprofen, anyone?
6. Apoptosis (pronounced a.puhp.tow.suhs)
What? This funny-sounding word just means the death off of old or damaged (think sick or precancerous) cells. We want LOTS of this going on in our bodies! Apoptosis is also stimulated by calorie restriction, fasting, and exercise, which are not nearly as fun as snacking on some pomegranate seeds.
7. Pomegranate May Have a Role in the Treatment and Prevention of Many Cancers
Yep. Researchers are investigating how pomegranate fruit can be used in the TREATMENT (not just prevention) of prostate, breast, lung, colon, and skin cancer due to its ability to inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis (there’s that funny word again).
8. Pomegranates are Delicious!
Try adding some pomegranate juice to your water bottle, mixing some juice with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime, or tossing some seeds into your oatmeal or a salad. Or do what my family does and eat them with a spoon (ok, your fingers). Do be careful when removing the seeds from the fruit, as the juice will stain your clothes! I submerge the fruit in a big bowl of water while removing the seeds to prevent the juice from spraying. Here’s a short video on how to get at those seeds easily.
9. Pomegranate Rosemary Spritzer, Anyone?
This drink is beautiful, festive, and delicious on its own merits. It’s perfect for a holiday celebration – even without any of my nerdy reasons above. As a bonus, rosemary has its own laundry list of benefits due to potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. For a non-alcoholic version, you could substitute sparkling water for the Prosecco.
Want to up your pomegranate game for even more cancer-fighting benefits?
When doing research for this article, I learned that studies have shown that fermented pomegranate juice has TWICE the power to inhibit breast cancer cell growth. I know what juice I’ll be adding to my next batch of kombucha.
How do you eat your pomegranates? Leave a comment. I want to know!
Feature image photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash
Spritzer image by BBC Good Food: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pomegranate-rosemary-spritzer