Nutritionist on easy ways to consume pomegranate, benefits; delicious recipes
High in powerful antioxidants, pomegranate helps in preventing inflammation and managing chronic diseases like arthritis, blood pressure and heart disease. Here are all the ways you can add pomegranate to your diet.
Pomegranate or anaar is much-revered for its powerful curative and preventive properties since time immemorial. As per Ayurveda, the sweet (sometimes slightly sour) and juicy fruit is known for balancing doshas and purifying blood, also correcting digestive issues. In Greek mythology, pomegranate was known as the ‘fruit of the dead’ as well as something that symbolised fertility. Pomegranate is chock-full of nutrients that could help manage and prevent many diseases. Packed with powerful antioxidants, pomegranate helps in preventing inflammation and thus considered an excellent fruit when it comes to managing chronic and inflammatory diseases. (Also read: Wonderful benefits of pomegranate from boosting immunity to brain health)
From healthy heart function, reducing cholesterol, managing arthritis and osteoporosis to fighting fungal infection, there is every reason for one to eat the fruit every day through all seasons. The bright red seeds can be consumed directly, as a juice, or added to salads, smoothies, breakfast cereals, poha and yoghurt.
Sukanya, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Malleswaram, Bangalore suggests some interesting ways to enjoy pomegranate.
WAYS TO CONSUME POMEGRANATE
• A simple and healthy way of including pomegranates in diet is to eat them raw.
• Add pomegranates to salads: The crunchy and sweet arils can provide a unique twist to your salad of feta cheese, green veggies, and fruits. You may also add them to fruit salads and enjoy them as a healthy dessert.
• You can use pomegranates as a topping for yoghurt as well as for ice cream. Add them in curd rice and raitas to treat your taste buds and pack a nutritional punch.
• Having pomegranate juice is another popular way of consuming fruit. Those who do not prefer the seed taste can grind it into a juice. You may also add some milk to get a smoothie kind of consistency. Always opt for fresh juice as the processed version has significantly low nutritional value.
• Start your mornings with a cup of oatmeal or cereal topped with pomegranate seeds. The combination of soft oats and crunchy seeds is delicious.
• Use pomegranates as a topping on pizzas for kids too.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS OF POMEGRANATE
Nutritionist Sukanya also elaborates on the nutritional value of pomegranate saying 78% of the fruit composition is water.
- It contains around 19 g of carbs and 4 g of dietary fibre. The fibre content is intact in the seeds and makes up for 20% of the daily value.
- Pomegranates have abundant phytochemicals like polyphenols, isoflavones etc. However, processing and pasteurizing the fruit reduces its phenolic activity so having it fresh is recommended.
- Pomegranates are antioxidants rich.
- High amounts of vitamin K, C, and folate (B9) make the vitamin profile. A significant amount of Vitamin E is present in this fruit. In addition, riboflavin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid are also present.
- The mineral content of pomegranates is rich in manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc too.
BENEFITS OF POMEGRANATE
Nutritionist Sukanya also shares several health benefits of pomegranate
• Lowers blood pressure
A study shows that regular consumption of pomegranate juice can reduce hypertension. However, it is primarily known to regulate systolic blood pressure.
According to one human research, people with hypertension who consumed 150 ml of pomegranate juice daily for two weeks had a substantial drop in blood pressure.
• Anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Pomegranate can lower inflammatory activity in the digestive system, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells, according to test-tube research.
Punicalagin in pomegranates is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, all antioxidants have potent anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study, these help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract in specific.
• Pomegranate helps with arthritis
Swelling of joints is common in those who have arthritis. Pomegranate extract treats arthritis in rats as per this study. However, there is very little data from human studies thus far.
The anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranates help to calm down any inflammation. Studies also show that pomegranates are successful in inhibiting enzymes that cause damage to joints. Therefore, it can help treat osteoarthritis effectively.
• Promotes healthy heart functioning
Pomegranates are one of the top heart-friendly fruits. The major fatty acid in pomegranates, punicic acid, may help protect against numerous stages of the heart disease process. It helps to protect the heart from several steps of heart disease.
• Pomegranate lowers cholesterol
Pomegranates contains more antioxidant compare to other fruits. Antioxidants are thought to provide several heart-protecting benefits, including reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol.
• Fights bacterial and fungal infections
The potent plant compounds in pomegranates can combat dangerous microorganisms. These properties prevent oral infections. Several studies show that it improves gingivitis and denture stomatitis.
DELICIOUS POMEGRANATE RECIPES
Here are some must-try pomegranate recipes by nutritionist Sukanya.
1. Pomegranate Mango Salsa
Serves - 1
Mango - 1 slice
Pomegranate seeds - 1/2 cup
Avocado - 1/2
Lime juice - 2 tsp
Salt for taste
Pepper for taste
Small onion - 1
- Take big mixing bowl add all chopped ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper
2. Pomegranate walnut banana bread
Serves - 2 people
Ripe banana - 2
Egg - 2
Wheat flour - 2 cups
Chopped walnut- 1/2 cup
Pomegranate seeds - 1 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Sugar- 1 cup
Baking powder -2 tsp
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Light cream - 1 cup
- Take a large bowl and mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together.
- Take small bowl beat the egg then add oil, cream and vanilla, blending well.
- Add blended mixture to dough.
- Take small bowl mash bananas then blend in the chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds
- Bake at 350F for 55 to 60minutes.let loaf cool in pan for 10minutes then remove from pan and cool it and serve.
3. Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves - 2
Chicken cooked and chopped/shredded - 1 cup
Pomegranate seeds -1/4 cup
Walnut chopped -1/4 cup
One green onion, thinly sliced
Yoghurt- 1 cup
Honey- 2 ½ tsp
Mustard- 1 tsp
Salt for taste
Pepper for taste
Lettuce leaves- 2
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yoghurt, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Mix the chicken, pomegranate seeds, chopped walnuts, and green onion.
- Make sure not to mix the solids to the point of making a mash out of them. Mix them lightly.
- Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed before scooping onto lettuce leaves and serving.