A new food category has emerged in recent times to characterize certain foods that have dense nutrient content that can supposedly provide extra health benefits. Superfoods have been the latest trend in the health craze trends of the last couple of decades. More specifically, there’s a category among superfoods that pertains mainly to fruits. Superfruits aren’t quite an official FDA designation. The coined term was created more for consumers and to address their ever-growing demand for healthier food alternatives. Regardless, there’s no denying the real benefits of many of the fruits categorized as superfruits, and one of these true superfruits is the pomegranate.
The pomegranate is an ancient fruit that was believed to originate from the regions in modern-day Iran. It was cultivated in other parts of India and the Mediterranean many centuries ago and was believed to have found its way in Spanish America around the late 16th century. It has since found its way around the world, as the small pomegranate tree happens to be tolerant of harsh climates and environments. The pomegranate fruit is characteristically red in color. The fruit is considered a berry and can contain anywhere between 200 to 1400 seeds at a time. The entire pomegranate is edible including the seeds and sarcotesta. The pulp is inedible and the pith of the seeds can be spit out or eaten as desired. Pomegranate seeds have different uses in different cultures, and they can be consumed raw, dried, juiced, or even turned into a spice. Regardless of how they are eaten, pomegranates have tremendous health benefits.
A boost for immune health
One of the main benefits of pomegranates is its vitamin C. Vitamin C works in the body in many ways, but one of the most important uses for vitamin C is to help the immune system fend off infections and many other illnesses. A single pomegranate fruit can provide roughly 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, enough to give the entire body a boost. Furthermore, pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and oxidation. These molecules can also give the immune system an extra boost to help fight viral infections and significantly reduce the duration of many different types of illnesses.
Fiber for weight control
We all know that fiber is an important component of any diet. How it helps in weight loss might still be a mystery to some people. Dietary fiber helps in keeping the stomach feel full longer, eliminating the need to snack frequently in between meals. It can also help regulate bowel movements, which is important to maintaining a healthy digestive system. A single pomegranate can provide up to 11 grams of dietary fiber, about a third of the average recommended daily intake for men. In addition, pomegranates contain over 200 grams of water per fruit. This can also make the stomach feel fuller without the extra caloric intake. As a matter of fact, a full cup of pomegranate only adds up to roughly 140 calories.
Heart healthy fruit
Punicalagin is a phenolic compound that is the main substance responsible for the antioxidant activity and effects of pomegranates and its juices. In some studies, punicalagin has been found to improve the overall function of the heart and blood vessels. It can help prevent atherosclerosis, the disease that causes arteries to become hardened due to fat buildup or the buildup of other substances. Punicalagin can also help prevent high blood pressure and help control cholesterol levels.
Besides boosting immunity tremendously, the vitamin C found in pomegranates can also help improve skin health dramatically. The antioxidants present in pomegranates can help reduce redness and skin irritations and inflammations common in acne conditions. Pomegranates can also improve skin texture and firmness, making for younger looking skin altogether. Regular incorporation of pomegranates into any diet can help prevent skin from sagging due to aging by increasing the supply of blood to the face. Besides this, pomegranates can also improve the overall look and feel of the rest of the body’s skin, improving not only in texture but also in complexion.
The antioxidant benefits of pomegranates go beyond skin health. The activity of antioxidants in promoting immune health can also help prevent the proliferation of cancer cells. Some studies have even shown how pomegranate juice can prevent the invasion of specific cancer cells and can even promote apoptosis. The research involving cancer and pomegranate has been promising and is currently ongoing specifically when it comes to breast and prostate cancer.
Ways to incorporate pomegranates into a diet
There are so many ways to consume pomegranates aside from just eating it fresh and raw. Pomegranates are great for juicing as well as for smoothies. They are also great as salad toppings or even as dessert toppings or ingredients. There are many different recipes for pomegranate bread that can be eaten as appetizers or as side dishes. Pomegranates also pair well with various cheeses.
Pomegranates may not always be the first fruits you gravitate towards when you’re at the market. But the many benefits and uses for pomegranates truly count them as superfruits. They not only keep the body healthy inside and out, but they also go beyond by preventing the occurrence of many illnesses, infections, and even serious diseases. Pomegranates can also help in any weight loss or even in the maintenance of weight alone. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. They also happen to be just as tasty as they are beneficial. To make the most out of pomegranates, make sure to include them in your regular diet, but make sure to only eat it in moderation as they tend to be rich in sugar as well.
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