The Amazing, Healthy Pomegranate
Look at the poor unappealing pomegranate. It certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contests with its dark pinkish bark like covering. In stores it probably sits in a bin slightly distanced from its more eye catching fruit and vegetable contemporaries basking in their glory of purported health attributes. But as some say, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Recent research on health benefits of pomegranates has revealed some startling facts.
Pomegranate is packed with antioxidants and has surprising antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. With the back to nature kick and alternative medicine, it has been used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Extract of pomegranate has been shown to retard the growth of staph, salmonella and some kinds of strep. Dentists are finding it fights against plaque, reduces periodontitis and aids healing following a periodontal procedure.
The pomegranate grows on neat, rounded shrubs or small trees that can grow to 20 to 30 feet high, but more typically to 12 to 16 feet. There are also Dwarf varieties. They have a long life span and are native to Iran, the Himalayas and northern India. Some believe the tree actually originated in China. It has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean since ancient times and is both self-pollinated and cross-pollinated by insects. There are specimens in Europe known to be over 200 years old. However, after 15 years or so its vigor begins to decline.
The fruit is mentioned in the bible and Babylonian Talmud and featured in Egyptian mythology and art. Various cultures throughout history have praised the pomegranate not only for its flavor, but medicinal properties as well. Some Persians believe it was the pomegranate Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. The pomegranate was brought to California in 1769 by the Spanish and now grown mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona.
Studies conducted at several universities have found pomegranate oil, juice, and extract help to prevent a variety of cancers such as breast, skin, colon and lung cancer. It’s also thought to be helpful for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. Further research conducted at an institute in New York suggests that in the form of an antimicrobial topical application it may prove useful in the prevention of HIV-1 infection. Other studies reveal pomegranates reduce arthritis by slowing down the enzymes that break down cartilage.
It should be noted here, persons undergoing rosuvastatin treatment for myopathy should avoid eating this fruit. Additionally, pomegranate may cause severe allergic reactions in some people as well as serious interactions with some medications.
The pomegranate contains a maze of seeds inside of an inedible bark-like skin that many find slightly difficult to get to. Here is the recommended procedure:
• Cut off the crown.
• Score and slice the rind but not all the way through.
• Soak face down in a bowl of cold water about ten minutes.
• While still in the bowl, break the scored rinds apart and remove the seeds. They will collect at the bottom.
• Remove the rind and membrane.
• Drain seeds and pat dry.
The wine-red juice of the pomegranate is notorious for staining clothes, fingers and countertops , so care must be taken.