Welcome to the first functional food post of the year, happy New Year everyone. A new year brings around the resolutions for the year: weight loss, exercise, food choices, and goals. Have you guys sat down and written out your health goals for the year? To get you started, what if I told you there is a fruit that can be made into a juice offering more bang than Green tea, Orange, Cranberry, and Blueberry juice - would you be interested? There is such a thing out there and it is called Pomegranate Juice.
Pomegranates have a rich history as they are native to the region of Armenia, Persia which is now Iran. The fruit can be traced back as far as the Early Bronze Age (3600-1200 BCE) with records mentioning them from the mid-Third millennium BC and onwards. In more recent times pomegranates have been extensively grown in South China and Southeast Asia. The rich history is very telling as most cultures have found many uses for the fruit.
In culinary arenas the pomegranate is usually opened by knife and the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white membranes. Here are some effective ways of separating the red arils are in a bowl of water as the arils will sink and the inedible pulp will float:
· Freezing the entire fruit will make it easier to separate.
· Slice the pomegranate open into halves and smack the back of the separate rinds and the arils should fall out into a bowl. The entire seed is the desired part and usually consumed raw, the aril juice is what’s used to create juice.
For those that like grenadine syrup, you should know that it is the result of thickened and sweetened pomegranate juice. The health benefits are many as well as the possible health benefits.
Pomegranate juice provides 16% of the daily Vitamin C requirement per 100ml serving, Vitamin B5, potassium, and natural phenols. They also are high in fiber which is contained in the seeds. There are also punicalagins, which a when absorbed into the human body, have dietary value as antioxidants. Laboratory research states that pomegranate juice maybe effective in:
· Reducing systolic blood pressure
· Reducing the risk of cancer
· Helping prevent strokes and heart attacks
· Reducing serum cholesterol
· Protecting arteries from clogging
On the other hand, each glass tops the recommended maximum daily amount of sugar by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization which recommends 10% of calories come directly from sugars, a single glass has the same amount of sugar as the same size soft drink and equal to two serving of a sweetened breakfast cereal. Juice isn’t the only way to have this fruit as you can add the seeds to yogurt, sprinkle them on salads, use them in soup, or mash them into a jam or jelly.
We started out talking about pomegranates as a juice and have been able to realize they offer a variety of ways to eat them, as well as many benefits that can have positive long term effects. There is an uprising of people saying this could be the next super food, so don’t you want to be on the forefront of this health evolution of an ancient fruit? Try one.