Friday, October 21, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Health benefits of pomegranate

Pomegranate is a fruit bearing tree, originally from Iran. It has spread throughout Asia and is now also grown in Latin America and parts of the United States. Pomegranate has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years against a variety of conditions. Typically pomegranate is believed to be helpful for the digestive system, the heart and dental health.

Modern research is starting to back up some of the claimed benefits of pomegranate. The fruit is starting to gain popularity in the west where it is often sold in juice form. It's marketed as an anti-oxidant rich 'super-food' that fights everything from heart disease to cancer.

If we go by what  clinical testing indicates, pomegranate is helpful for reducing the risk of heart disease. Juice from pomegranate reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol which reduces the risk of cholesterol being retained in the blood vessels. Pomegranate juice has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.  This fits nicely with the thousands of years of traditional use of pomegranate as a heart remedy.

Pomegranate has more benefits than just being good for your heart. Traditionally it has been used to fight gum bleeding. Today we know that pomegranate helps fight dental plaque. Again modern medicine is backing up the traditional use of pomegranate.

The list goes on. Pomegranate also shows promise as an anti-viral agent. It has been studied with promising results as an entry inhibitor for the HIV virus for example. It's reasonable to think that pomegranate might inhibit a wide range of viral infections.

If this list of benefits is not enough for you to embrace this exotic fruit, clinical testing also suggest that pomegranate can help prevent a much longer list of diseases. It appears that it helps prevent prostate cancer, lymphoma, diabetes, tumors and the common cold. In addition to these clinically tested results, pomegranate is traditionally said to help against intestinal parasites, diarrhea and hemorrhoids.

To top this off, pomegranate is also a very tasty food. I am lucky and have access to organic pomegranates right of the tree. In most parts of the US however it might be difficult to find fresh pomegranate. Pomegranate juice is becoming widely available, but be very careful when buying. Most pomegranate juices I have come across are little more than sugar water with some pomegranate juice. Always read the label and stay clear of the brands that contain more apple juice than pomegranate and have as much sugar per serving as soda. This probably rules out most large brand name juices.

If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh pomegranate, that is by far the best way to consume this wonderful fruit. The seeds are excellent as a salad topping. You can also make a cranberry like sauce from the seeds. The taste will be fresh and a little acidic. Finally, one of my favorite ways to eat pomegranate is simply in a bowl with some kefir.

Any way you prefer to eat it: If you can get your hands on some high quality pomegranate, take advantage. The many benefits from this fruit makes it well worth adding it to your diet.

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