Knowledge of POMEGRANATE health benefits goes back centuries. Its color has been the object of great interest, especially in Oriental societies. The Arabs were great enthusiasts and advocates of its cultivation, making it the symbol of the Muslim empire of Granada in the southern Iberian Peninsula.
The crimson blossoms of the pomegranate look like astounding flames in contrast to the dark green background of the tree’s leaves. The petite beads of fruit, full of prized juice, are excellent as drops of blood or rubies. Solomon the wise compared the cheeks of his beloved to the pomegranate 3000 years ago.
Pomegranate Nutritional Facts
The pomegranate contains several carbohydrates that surpass most other fruits: 15.6 percent (bananas reach 21 percent). Its protein content is close to one percent, which is respectable, bearing in mind that this is fresh fruit. Fats are less than 0.3 percent of their weight. The pomegranate is rich in vitamins C, E, and B6, containing significant amounts of B1, B2, and niacin. It does not contain beta-carotene (provitamin A). The most plentiful minerals are copper, iron, and potassium.
Amongst its non-nutritive elements, the following are worth mentioning:
TANNINS, in tiny amounts. These are much more prevalent in the fruit’s RIND or the MEMBRANES that divide the seed sacs. These tannins have an astringent and anti-inflammatory impact on the mucosa of the digestive tract.
CITRIC ACID and other organic acids give the pomegranate its pleasant bittersweet taste and a portion of the beneficial effect on the intestine (it contributes to restoring the intestinal bacterial flora).
ANTHOCYANINS: These reddish or bluish vegetable pigments in the flavonoid group behave as antiseptics and anti-inflammatory elements in the digestive tract and as potent antioxidants within the cells, halting the aging process and cancerous degeneration. It also has a diuretic effect.
PELLETIERINE: This alkaloid is an efficient vermifuge (eliminates intestinal parasites) that is found predominantly in the bark of the ROOTS of the tree. The membranes and rind also include this alkaloid, but not the seed sacs. Together, these components give the pomegranate the following properties: vermifuge, anti-inflammatory, astringent (if the internal membranes are consumed), remineralizer, alkalizer, and depurant.
Pomegranate Health Benefits
INTESTINAL DISORDERS: The pomegranate is appropriate in infectious diarrhea caused by colitis or gastroenteritis thanks to its astringent and anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive tract. It is also helpful in flatulence (excess gas) or intestinal cramps. Remarkable results have been attained in chronic cases such as granulomatous colitis (Crohn’s disease) or ulcerative colitis.
EXCESS STOMACH ACID: Its astringent action reduces gastric juice’s production and in-inflammation in an irritated stomach.
IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA: The pomegranate contains a significant amount of copper (70 ug/100 grams), a trace element that facilitates iron absorption.
ARTERIOSCLEROSIS: Because of its rich content of flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins (C and E), which halt the processes of arterial aging, the pomegranate is advised in cases of diminished arterial blood flow. It is precious in preventing heart attacks and cardiac health in general.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Because of their richness in potassium and the virtual absence of sodium, pomegranates are appropriate for those suffering from hypertension. They help avoid excessive numbers of both systolic and diastolic pressure.
Pomegranate Scientific Facts
- Scientific name: Punica granatum L.
- Other names: Chinese apple, dalima, grenade.
- French: Grenade.
- Spanish: Granada.
- German: Granatapfel.
- Description: Fruit of the pomegranate tree, an evergreen belonging to the botanical family Punicaceae, reaches four meters in height. The fruit is formed of many sacs filled with pink or reddish pulp juice. Each sac contains a seed.
- Environment: The pomegranate is originally from the near east, from where it spread throughout the Mediterranean. It is grown in Iran, Turkey, Mediterranean countries, and hot regions on the American continent such as Brazil and California.
How to use and Prepare Pomegranate Medicinally
- NATURAL: The pomegranate is amongst the most effortlessly stored fruits after harvest. It ripens well off the tree with minimal effort on its nutritional properties. Pomegranates stored in a dry, cool place can last up to 6 months. If its anti-parasitic effect is unsought, remove the internal membranes that separate the sacs because of their bitter taste.
- JUICE: Pomegranate juice is very flavorful and refreshing. It is easily obtained using a household juicer.
- GRENADINE: This syrup is made by cooking pomegranate juice with sugar. You can store it for months. It is used as a beverage, watered down, or to flavor fruit salads.
Extra Preparation Tips
- Split the fruit in half
- Tap the rind with the underside of a spoon to free the sacs
- Get rid of the membrane portions that may have come out with the sacs. Add honey, if required, and enjoy it using a spoon.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 236, 237. Print.