Pomegranate: The fruit of prosperity and hope

Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Author Tyler Breedlove

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Pomegranates: More than you ever wanted to know

Pomegranates come from a small, fruit bearing deciduous tree scientifically known as Punica granatum. These fruits have a very long history, seen in documents dating back as far as 4000 B.C.

While the name “Pomegranate” comes from Medieval Latin, translating to “seeded apple”, the fruit originated in Persia, what is now modern day Iran and the Western Himalayas, and over the centuries has found its way around the world. The history of this fruit is so vast that it can’t be completely covered in this article, so for more information, check out our references below.

A pomegranate is usually smaller than a grapefruit, but larger than an orange, and typically can be anywhere from 5 to 12 cm in diameter. They have a rounded, hexagonal type shape and are characterized by a thick reddish skin that houses around 600 seeds. These seeds are embedded in a white, sharp tasting pulp.

The seeds found in the pomegranate are known as “arils”. This is the most desired part of the fruit and is normally consumed raw. The arils can also be used to create pomegranate juice. This juice can be sweet or sour depending on the type of pomegranate, but most often are a moderate taste with sharp notes from acidic tannins.

Throughout history, pomegranates have been symbols of prosperity and hope. Many religions even speak of them in holy texts, suggesting these fruits hold so much benefit to human health that they are examples of our world’s good creations. In many cultures, they even have had a place in weddings! For example, after a Turkish wedding ceremony, the bride throws a pomegranate on the ground. As the fruit hits the ground, the arils are ejected. The number of arils to leave the fruit is thought to be the number of children the couple will have… so maybe don’t throw too hard. ;-)

Now, why eat this superfood? First of all, they’re delicious as you’ll discover in these 2 great recipes: pomegranate salad and Mediterranean chopped salad

Healthy bites

Pomegranates are essentially the health care professional of the fruit world. I’ve compiled all the available information so we can gain a clearer view of what pomegranates can do for you.

Antioxidative Effects:

  • Pomegranates contain flavonoids and anthocyanidins. They have been found to hold antioxidant activity 3 times greater than green tea extract.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

  • Pomegranate has been shown to mediate inflammation in the body and prevent collagen degradation.

Heart Disease Prevention:

  • Polyphenols found in pomegranates reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Anti-Influenza Effects:

  • Pomegranates have been shown to inhibit the processes of influenza and other viruses in the human body.

Decreased Blood Pressure:

  • Several studies have shown links between pomegranates and a reduction in blood pressure.

Improved Exercise Performance:

  • A 2014 study (listed below) suggests that pomegranate extract can delay the onset of fatigue and improve exercise efficiency.

The benefits of pomegranates make them one of the most important foods we’ve covered thus far. They not only have these effects on general health, but are even used as medicine. Even the peel has amazing uses. For instance, pomegranate peel extract can be obtained by boiling the peel for 10-40 minutes. Now, what do you think this extract could be used for?

If you guessed “to treat diarrhoea or dysentery”, you would be correct! Not only that, but this extract can treat dental plaque. Other cultures use this extract as a gargling solution to relieve sore throats and hoarseness. One study has even shown use of the rind powder to aid in the healing of bleeding gums and plaque in patients who have periodontitis. Further, oral ingestion of 5-10 grams of peel powder, two to three times per day can be used for the treatment of hyperacidity, a condition typically causing gastric discomfort.

Nutritional breakdown

Pomegranates have an impressive nutrition profile to back up their powerful plant compounds. About ½ a cup of pomegranate seeds amounts to 80 - 90 calories. They contain around 16 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat. Additionally, the fruits contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, and Potassium.

The genetics

Understanding your genetics can play a key role in knowing if and how you would benefit from the consumption of pomegranate. This becomes very relevant when we look at certain genes.

Yet to unlock your unique genetic code? Receive full FitnessGenes DNA Analysis and a genetically tailored workout and nutrition plan by purchasing a goal specific Genetic Workout System from our online shop.

If you enjoyed this article, please see my other healthy FitnessGenes food blogs to see what other ingredients are most suitable for your genotype: Spirulina,  pears, celeriac, brussels sprouts, eggplant, ginger, apples, turmeric, cinnamon, green beans, grits, pears, pumpkin, buckwheat, dark chocolate, oats, and broccoli.

 

Sources and References

Leech, J. (n.d.). 12 Health Benefits of Pomegranate. Retrieved November 06, 2016, from https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-pomegranate/

Pomegranate Council. (n.d.). The History of Pomegranate - as Rich as its Flavor. Retrieved November 06, 2016, from http://www.pomegranates.org/index.php?c=5

Rahimi, H. R., Arastoo, M., & Ostad, S. N. (2012). A comprehensive review of Punica granatum (pomegranate) properties in toxicological, pharmacological, cellular and molecular biology researches. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research11(2), 385-400.

Ismail, T., Sestili, P., & Akhtar, S. (2012). Pomegranate peel and fruit extracts: a review of potential anti-inflammatory and anti-infective effects. Journal of Ethnopharmacology143(2), 397-405.

Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Melvin, M. N., Roelofs, E. J., & Wingfield, H. L. (2014). Effects of pomegranate extract on blood flow and running time to exhaustion 1. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism39(9), 1038-1042.

Shukla, M., Gupta, K., Rasheed, Z., Khan, K. A., & Haqqi, T. M. (2008). Consumption of hydrolyzable tannins-rich pomegranate extract suppresses inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Nutrition24(7), 733-743.

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