“Pomegranate is a fruit of paradise. There is one seed from Paradise in every pomegranate growing on the earth.”
Autumn has firmly established itself in Melbourne. But along with the welcome rain and cool weather comes an abundance of Autumnal produce. Mushrooms, mandarins, apples and pears in all their autumnal glory and alongside them, the luscious pomegranate. This week I was delighted to see the first beautiful, generous pomegranates in my greengrocers shop.
Originally hailing from Persia where it has been used medicinally for thousands of years, growth of the pomegranate spread through the Middle East, Asia, the Mediteranean and today is now widely grown across the globe including here in Australia.
Throughout history the pomegranate has been regarded as a symbol of most of the fundamental beliefs and desires of humanity, with almost every part of the fruit having significance. According to Greek mythology the pomagranate even played a role in the change of season, which was said to occur because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed, dooming her to return to the underworld (or winter) for one third of the year. In Ancient Egypt the pomegranate was regarded as a symbol of prosperity and ambition, in China and many other places, of fertility.
It is very easy to understand the magic of the pomegranate given the glossy, glowing skin and the rich generous colour of the distinctive ruby red seeds when the fruit is broken open.
Fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured tend to be high in antioxidants. These help your body by clearing up excess oxidants, or free radicals, which if left to run wild in your body cause inflammation and lead to disease. The ORAC score of pomegranates highlights them as one of the ‘richest sources of free-radical scavenging antioxidants’. This makes them a powerful tool to prevent those diseases with a strong inflammatory basis like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Pomegranates are rich sources of antioxidant phytonutrients, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which protect against free radicals. They also contain a wide range of other nutrients including most of the B Vitamins (including folate), zinc, magnesium, and iron, amongst others. But they are particularly high in Vitamin C, potassium, and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5).
Pomegranate seeds are used effectively against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer.
Studies have shown that pomegranate juice may protect against some cancers as well as modify heart disease risk factors. This study showed drinking pomegranate juice for two weeks lowers reduced systolic blood pressure. And this 2006 study found that drinking a 225ml glass of pomegranate juice every day significantly slowed the progress of prostate cancer in men with recurring prostate cancer.
Ayervedic medicine employs the healing power of the bark and rind of the pomegranate fruit to treat a wide range of disorders including diarrhoea, dysentery and intestinal parasites; the seeds are used as a heart or throat tonic; the astringent qualities of the fruit are considered useful for stopping nosebleeds or bleeding gums.
HOW TO USE POMEGRANATE
With pomegranates now in the shops it is time to reap their benefits. Using them fresh has some health benefits over using the stored juice.
The benefits of pomegranates are so high that you don’t need much to do you good. Even a 30-50ml shot of juice is sufficient to have significant benefits. Rather than using the juice as a beverage it might be wiser to consider it as a herbal treatment and take a smaller amount. Just 50ml a day will sustain healthy heart benefits.
Like to read more about pomegranate juice, seeds and oil? Continue reading…
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.