Pomegranates Have the Power to Help Keep You Healthy
Nutrient-rich autumn fruits and veggies fill the produce section this time of year. If you’re looking for something different, try a pomegranate.
Nutrient-rich fall fruits and veggies are piled high in the produce section this time of year. If you’re looking for something a little different that packs a healthy punch, try a pomegranate.
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We chatted with registered dietician Lindsay Malone, RD, about why these juicy, ruby-red fruits can be a great addition to your autumn eating. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Pomegranates are high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect cells from environmental toxins such as pollution and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants are known to help prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Pomegranate juice alone won’t keep cancer at bay, but studies suggest it may be a nutritious addition to a healthy, plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet.
2. Pomegranates may benefit prostate health
A 2010 study found that components in pomegranate juice helped to inhibit the movement of cancer cells by weakening their attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the spread of cancer.
Research from the University of California at Los Angeles also showed that pomegranate juice appeared to suppress the growth of cancer cells and the increase in cancer cell death in men who have had preliminary treatment for prostate cancer.
“There are some studies with pomegranate that suggest a role in slowing the growth of prostate cancer,” Ms. Malone says. “But it should be noted that the studies examined pomegranate juice in the context of a healthy plant-based diet.”
3. Pomegranates promote heart health
The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may help to keep cholesterol in a form that is less damaging and also may reduce plaque that already has built up in vessels, some research shows.
In a study of healthy men, researchers from Israel recently concluded that pomegranate juice decreases the likelihood of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that forms plaque. Another Israeli study showed a decrease in the development of atherosclerosis in mice whose diets were supplemented with pomegranate juice. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls, which can restrict blood flow.
“There are some studies that show pomegranates may help to prevent plaque buildup in your arteries,” Ms. Malone says. “If heart disease runs in your family, it might make sense to add pomegranate to your diet.”
Rather than drinking a bottled pomegranate juice, break the pomegranate open and eat the fruit on the inside. That way, you’ll consume less sugar.
Be warned, however, there is a trick to cutting the fruit open properly. Here’s an easy way to peel a pomegranate:
If you don’t want to eat pomegranate seeds with a spoon, consider sprinkling them atop your salads, oatmeal, quinoa, or yogurt. Pomegranates also complement poultry such as chicken and turkey dishes.
Half of a pomegranate is considered one serving of the fruit, which is in season from October through January.