Eating this unusual fruit IMPROVES digestion and reduces cellular stress
(NaturalHealth365) It’s pomegranate season! This colorful and unusual fruit is in season from October through January, so now is the perfect time to experience the sweet and tart taste for yourself. And it’s not just the taste you can enjoy – the fruit offers plenty of health benefits, including improved digestion.
Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to add this fruit to your winter diet, plus give a few pointers on how to eat pomegranate without making a mess.
Protect your digestion with a fruit MORE protective than red wine or green tea
Pomegranates contain arils, edible red seed pods surrounded by juicy, red-hued fruity flesh. Just one cup of arils contains about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 36 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, and 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate. Like many other fruits, pomegranate arils are also full of antioxidants and fiber yet low in calories.
Thanks to this impressive nutritional profile, pomegranate arils and juice have been studied extensively for their possible health benefits. Research reveals the following:
- Pomegranate contains at least two antioxidant compounds believed to offer medicinal properties: punicic acid and punicalagin. The antioxidant capacity of pomegranate juice is actually thought to be three times more powerful than the antioxidant capacity of red wine and green tea, as shown in a 2000 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
- Randomized trials in humans have shown that consuming pomegranates can reduce inflammation, which is a major driver of cell-damaging oxidative stress, aging, and chronic disease.
- Thanks to their anti-inflammatory capacity and fiber content, pomegranates are also recognized for their beneficial effect on digestion.
Additional research cited by the University of Florida suggests pomegranate may even help lower blood pressure, reverse cardiovascular disease, and enhance exercise performance (by optimizing blood flow).
Intimidated by this messy fruit? Here’s how to eat pomegranate
You can buy prepared whole pomegranate arils or purchase 100 percent pomegranate juice. But it’s less expensive to buy a whole pomegranate and prepare it yourself (and compared to even whole juice, eating the actual fruit is healthier given the higher fiber content).
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What turns many people away from buying whole pomegranates is how notoriously difficult it can be to cut and prepare. Here’s a simple way to do it yourself without making a huge mess or staining your fingers for days:
- Cut a pomegranate into quarters. (You can generally tell that a pomegranate is ripe and ready to eat when its sides are slightly flattened and its skin is easy to scratch with a fingernail.)
- Put one of the fruit quarters in a large bowl filled with fresh water, and gently pull apart the skin and pick out the arils as you hold the wedge under the water. The skin and pith of the fruit should float while the arils should sink to the bottom of the bowl. This prevents red juice from getting everywhere (your clothes and cutting boards, for example).
- Repeat with the other quarters.
- Skim off the skin and non-edible membranes of the plant from the water and strain the arils out. Voila!
You can eat arils by the handful or sprinkle them in salads, oatmeals, yogurt, and more. Enjoy!
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