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During the fight against Covid-19 we are looking for natural immunity boosters and disease fighters while scientists try to formulate a Coronavirus cure. Pomegranates are a leathery looking, bright ruby-red fruit but you need to crack it open to find the edible juicy seeds called “arils.” One half cup arils has 72 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fat, 1.5 grams of protein, 12 grams of sugar, and also contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. More specifically, this serving provides an impressive 15 percent RDI vitamin C, 18 percent RDI vitamin K, eight percent RDI folate, six percent RDI potassium, as well as 3.5 grams of fiber. A widely-known superfood, Pomegranates were grown for centuries in Iran, Asia, India, and the Mediterranean, and later made their appearance in North America.
Unique Compounds with Medicinal Properties
In addition to their nutrient-profile, pomegranate arils have two plant compounds which boast significant medicinal properties. Pomegranates include punicalagins and punicic acid, substances that take credit for many of their health benefits, and are not found in the majority of produce. Punicic acid is the healthy fatty acid found in the arils, and punicalagins found in the aril juice and pomegranate peel are extremely potent antioxidants. Antioxidants help to combat free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage healthy molecules by stealing their electrons, and pomegranate juice has three times the antioxidant power of green tea. A side note--since the peel is inedible, supplements in powder and extract form are comprised of the antioxidant content found in the inedible parts, so you can still reap the benefits of the skin.
Reduces Inflammation and Fights Disease
Chronic inflammation can be the culprit of many serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Pomegranates are highly anti-inflammatory due to the antioxidant profile derived from the punicalagins. Smaller studies have shown that the other plant compound, punicic acid, may aid in heart disease prevention as supplementation of pomegranate aril oil helps to lower triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
How to Incorporate Pomegranates in Your Diet
Although it can be labor intensive, simply cracking open a pomegranate and eating the arils is a tasty way to enjoy this nutrient powerhouse. Some stores do sell the already extracted arils to make it far easier, but check around as the prices do vary. Whole pomegranates are quite affordable so taking the time to fetch the arils and storing them in a ziploc bag is well-worth the effort. The seeds make tasty and healthy additions to hummus, salads, quinoa, guacamole, oatmeal, and yogurt. My four year-old refers to them as “candy” and a small bowl of the arils is one of his favorite treats. And of course, you can find pomegranate juice bottled and ready-to-go in most stores.
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this recent pandemic and hopefully it will all be behind us by summer. In the meantime, if you are trying to avoid the grocery store, we are shipping healthy and weight loss-conducive products to your doorstep. An added bonus--they keep well in the fridge and pantry for sometime, so you can always have snacks and meals on hand that will still help you reach your goals.