At the start of September, I begin my search for pomegranate. I check each grocery store in hopes of scoring the first delivery! This fruit by far is my favorite. It is a winter fruit that’s in season from September to January, so you can pretty much catch me eating one or two daily until they are gone!
Pomegranates are a beautiful round red fruit grown in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, as well as the United States. They are widely available in standard grocery stores, from prepackaged seeds and juices, to whole fresh fruit! Not only is this fruit sweet and delicious, but it is also one of the most nutrient dense foods available! The numerous health benefits make this fruit a major powerhouse.
Here are some important reasons why pomegranates should be a big part of your diet:
-Pomegranates are nutrient dense, high fiber and low calorie fruit, with only about 83 calories per 100g and 4g of fiber. This is a perfect combination for regulating digestion and maintaining a healthy weight! Fiber helps you feel full longer, which can help reduce your caloric intake!
-They contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants that offer protection against heart disease and cancer.
-Pomegranates are the only fruit which contain punicalagins, potent compounds which have been shown to benefit heart & blood vessels. Punicalagins lower blood cholesterol as well as blood pressure!
-Being an alkaline food, pomegranates are a great food source to help balance the body’s pH. All food is categorized as either alkaline, acidic, or neutral. For optimum health, we need to eat about 60-80% alkaline forming foods. Maintaining a proper pH in the body is very important, as an acidic environment can lead to numerous health issues like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, gout, colitis and many others.
-Pomegranates are a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Vitamin C is extremely important, it aids in immune function as well as iron absorption. Vitamin K is crucial for maintaining strong, healthy bones.
-With high levels of antioxidants, pomegranate is a great anti-aging food! Antioxidants help fight free radicals which cause major cell damage and increase the signs of aging!
-Let’s not forget to mention the crunch factor! Pomegranate seeds are sweet & crunchy, making them a perfect option for those pesky snack cravings. Being a very low calorie food, you can snack guilt free and enjoy the sweet crunch!
Pomegranates truly are an amazing fruit! If you have not given them a try, I highly encourage you to do so. The best way to eat pomegranate is to score it with a knife around the center, pry it open with fingers, and pop the seeds out into a bowl. Enjoy the seeds plain, or use it to top salads, or make a fruit salad!
Also by Ewa: Mushroom and Black Bean Quesadilla
Photo: Amelia Crook via Flickr; Esimpraim via Flickr