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Cheers to the Pomegranate this Month!

I’m a summer person, so I always greet fall with a little bit of sadness. Luckily, pomegranates cheer me right up. These ruby red beauties are at once sweet, tart and crunchy, with a satisfying deep red color that can bring brightness to a cold, dark autumn day.

Pomegranates’ healthy reputation comes from phytonutrients called polyphenols, specifically ellagic acid and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are pigments that are responsible for various fruits’ red, purple or blue hues — as well as their antioxidant power.

While more research is needed, a number of studies indicate that pomegranates may:

·   Help people with ischemic coronary heart disease, by boosting blood flow to and from the heart[1]
·   Prevent atherosclerosis, by slowing hardening of the arteries[2]
·   Thwart rheumatoid arthritis, by reducing inflammation[3]
·   Slow prostate cancer growth, reducing PSA doubling time from 15 to 54 months[4]

Pomegranates: A Nutritional Powerhouse
In addition to antioxidants, one cup of fresh pomegranate kernels provides[5]:

·   36 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin K, which is necessary for healthy blood coagulation and the metabolism of calcium.
·   30 percent of the DV for vitamin C, which aids immune function and is needed for the health of connective tissue.
·   16 percent of the DV for folate, a B vitamin that supports heart health, encourages healthy aging, prevents birth defects, and may help prevent cancer.
·   14 percent of the DV for copper, which helps the body absorb iron and plays a role in energy production.
·   2 percent of the daily value for potassium, an electrolyte that maintains fluid balance in cells and is critical to a healthy heart.
·   10 percent of the DV for manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone, joint, and skin health.
·   A whopping 7 grams of fiber, which is necessary for normal digestion and reduces the risk of heart disease.
·   Just 144 calories!

The best way to peel a pomegranate
One thing that stops people from buying fresh pomegranates is that it can be tricky to extract the kernels once the fruit is cut. But there’s an easy way to do it.

1.   Slice off the stop, score the pomegranate and then place it in a large bowl of water.

2.   Break it open underwater. The pith will float to the top of the bowl and the kernels will sink.

3.   Skim off the pith, drain the water and you’ve got a nice pile of pomegranate kernels. No muss, no fuss. Check out our blog post for more!

How to Eat/Drink Pomegranates
My favorite way to eat these scarlet gems is straight out of the bowl. Other no-cook ways to eat them include sprinkling them on your morning oatmeal or lunchtime salad.

Drinking pomegranate juice is another popular way to consume this healthful fruit. Just be sure to read the label, because when pomegranate juice is blended with other juices, it’s often pretty far down the ingredient list. Look for 100 percent pomegranate juice instead. If it’s too tart for your taste, try a pomegranate-banana smoothie with two cups of plain yogurt, two cups of pomegranate juice and two large bananas. With just three ingredients, it’s a snap to make, and there’s no added sugar!

What’s your favorite way to eat pomegranate? Share in the comments below!

References
[1] https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/pomegranate-power#1
[2] https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20050321/pomegranate-juice-may-clear-clogged-arteries
[3] https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/120508.htm
[4] https://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20110217/can-pomegranate-pills-fight-prostate-cancer
[5] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2038/2

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