Benefits of Adding Pomegranates to your diet

03 Sep 2015
POSTED BY Y Magazine
The locally grown superfood is packed full of nutritional value and is coming into season in Oman

They may look like little red apples, but slice a pomegranate open and inside you’ll literally find the fruit of your labours – hundreds a tiny tasty seeds, or arils as they’re officially known.



While the leathery skin is inedible, the clusters of ruby-red seeds inside are the real stars of the pomegranate, providing a sweet taste, balanced with a slight tartness.

Originating in the region of modern day Iran, pomegranates have always been popular throughout the Middle East and their recent emergence as a nutritious superfood packed with antioxidants and vitamins has catapulted them into the global spotlight.

The best thing is, this sweet and juicy fruit is grown right here in Oman, on the slopes of Jebel Akhdar, making them readily available at local supermarkets. What’s even better is that pomegranate season is upon us.

Pomegranates grow on deciduous shrubs or small trees between five and eight metres tall and Oman’s crops are harvested between September and October, meaning they’ll be making their way to a market near you very soon. Good quality, reasonably priced pomegranates can be found at Nizwa Souq, but a pleasant weekend trip up the Green Mountain can be rounded off perfectly with some delicious freshly picked pomegranates bought directly from the farmers themselves, who sell their produce at the roadside.

One of the oldest fruits around, the use of pomegranates can be traced back to ancient times and the fruit has long been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life in cultures around the world, according to Dr Joel Fuhrman, an American doctor and author who specialises in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods.

Pomegranate seeds provide a fruity crunch and are a great addition to cold dishes and salads, or can be juiced to create nutrient dense smoothies and other drinks. Another great use of pomegranates is to create a sticky glaze when roasting meats like lamb and duck.

Preparing pomegranates can often seem like a lot of effort for little reward. Both the skin and the creamy yellow pith are inedible, leaving only the seeds, but if you put in the work, not only your taste buds, but also your body will be more than well compensated.

One cup of pomegranate seeds (174g) contains:

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  • Fibre: 7g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin C: 30 per cent of RDA*
  • Vitamin K: 36 per cent of RDA
  • Folate: 16 per cent of RDA
  • Potassium: 12 per cent of RDA

Why Pomegranate? 

  • Regular intake of pomegranate juice has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in as little as two weeks.
  • There is preliminary evidence that pomegranate juice can be useful in men with prostate cancer, potentially inhibiting cancer growth and lowering the risk of death.
  • The punicalagins (a chemical compound) in pomegranate juice have been shown to reduce inflammation, one of the leading drivers of many killer diseases.
  • Studies in animals and isolated cells have shown that pomegranate extract may be beneficial against several forms of arthritis.
  • Some evidence shows that pomegranate can improve memory in the elderly and post-surgery, and studies in mice suggest that it can protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Several human studies have shown that pomegranate can have benefits against heart disease.

Source: authoritynutrition.com

Pomegranate and Mint Sorbet 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mint syrup
  • 2 cups 100 per cent pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 packed cup packed fresh mint leaves

Method:

  • To make the mint syrup, combine sugar, water, and mint leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes. Strain before using.
  • In a glass pitcher, combine the mint syrup, pomegranate juice, and orange juice. Pour the pomegranate mixture in an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last 10 minutes of freezing time, add the chocolate chips.
  • Scoop the sorbet into dessert bowls and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.


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