Naturopathic Kitchen: Pomegranates

A person removing the seeds from a cut-up pomegranate.

Pomegranates have a distinct sweet, somewhat tart flavor. To eat a pomegranate, score the top and cut it off, revealing the sections. Then score each section along the pith line so that each section comes right out. The plump, juicy fruit surrounds small crunchy seeds that are edible and mostly tasteless. You can eat both the red fruit and the seed, just do not eat the skin or the white fleshy substance that holds the seeds in place, which can be quite bitter. Pomegranates are especially popular around the holidays because they are in season during the winter, and the glossy deep red seeds add a festive look to many holiday dishes.

In addition to being a holiday favorite, pomegranates are packed with nutrients and have several health benefits. Pomegranates contain fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, potassium, and protein. 1

The Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Anti-Inflammatory 

Pomegranates have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is responsible for a number of health issues, including arthritis, joint pain, and many digestive issues. 2 3 Consuming more pomegranate fruit or juice can help to lower inflammation, and reduce pain related to inflammation. One study found that people who drank 1.1 cups of pomegranate juice per day for 12 weeks had a reduction of inflammatory markers by over 30%. 4 

Prostate Health

Research shows that pomegranates are good for prostate health, and may help fight prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in males. 5 PSA, or the prostate-specific antigen, is a blood marker for prostate cancer. People whose PSA levels double over a shorter period of time are at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer. Still, research demonstrates that drinking pomegranate juice significantly slows the PSA doubling time in people with prostate cancer. In one study, patients drank 8 oz of pomegranate juice per day, and the time it took for their PSAs to double changed from 15 months to 54 months. 6 

Lower Blood Pressure

Pomegranate has been proven to help lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues. Regular consumption of pomegranate juice can be beneficial to those with high blood pressure. 7 In one study, participants with hypertension who drank 5 oz of pomegranate juice every day experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure after just two weeks. 8

How to Add More Pomegranate to Your Diet

  • Drink pomegranate juice as you would other fruit juices
  • Eat pomegranate seeds by themselves as a snack
  • Mix together pomegranate seeds, blueberries, chopped mango, and a few squeezes of lime juice for a zesty fruit salad
  • Add pomegranate juice to your morning smoothie
  • Top your favorite frozen dessert with pomegranate seeds
  • Mix pomegranate juice with sparkling apple juice for a refreshing mocktail
  • Garnish savory dishes with pomegranate seeds–they pair well with poultry or roasted root vegetables
  • Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of oatmeal, granola, or yogurt for breakfast
  • Add pomegranate seeds to a green salad

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the healing capacity of food and other natural health practices, naturopathic medicine may be a good fit for you.

 

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