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The 10 Healthiest Foods: Pomegranate

By: Caley Walsh

Pomegranate has become trendy as an “it” antioxidant through popular juice and beverage manufacturers. The fresh fruit is also a fantastic food that comes well recommended by nutritionists, as in a panel for ABC. Learn about the health benefits of pomegranates and how to use pomegranate seeds in a tasty recipe.

Open Pomegranate Fruit Half


Fresh pomegranates can be a little tricky to prepare. The red seeds of the pomegranate, called arils, are actually the consumable fruit, but must be removed from the white pulp membranes. Submerging the opened fruit in a bowl of water makes this easier, as the seeds will sink to the bottom while the membrane floats. Soak the fruit in the cold water for a few minutes before trying to remove the seeds. Freezing the fruit is another option for easily removing the fruit.


Be careful when working with pomegranates because the juice can easily stain carpet or clothes. Pomegranates are available in the late fall and winter, around October through February. You can place fresh pomegranate seeds, arils, in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or keep in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to a year!


Here are some of the health benefits of pomegranates:

  • Lower Cholesterol- Pomegranates lower bad cholesterol and keep it from oxidizing, which contributes to the dangerous hardening of arteries.
     
  • Flavenoids- Pomegranates have two or three times more antioxidant flavenoids than wine or tea. Antioxidants protect cells from cellular damage and may counteract many cancer-causing free radicals. Pomegranate juice has been associated with lowered risk of breast cancer and lung cancer.
     
  • Prostate Health- Pomegranate slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice in one study. In another, pomegranate helped to stabilize PSA levels for those who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, reducing the need for further chemotherapy or hormone treatment.
     
  • Cardiovascular Health- Like aspirin, pomegranates are thought to help thin the blood and lower blood pressure. Pomegranate also helps deliver more blood to the heart, which helped those engaging in rigorous activity in one study.


Fresh Pomegranate Recipe: Wild Rice and Barley Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds

Really spice up your rice side with the addition of pomegranate seeds. This colorful dish will certainly impress guests.

Ingredients

  • ½ C. wild rice
  • ½ C. pearl barley
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 C. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened.
  2. Add rice and barley, stirring for 30 seconds.
  3. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until rice and barley are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add pomegranate seeds, toasted pine cuts and lemon zest to the pilaf.
  6. Fluff and serve.
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