1. They’re great for gut support.
One of the most important health-related functions of the pomegranate is its effect on gut microbiota and its potential use as an antimicrobial agent.
Pomegranate increases the gut bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila in the stool. Akkermansia is a gut-friendly bacteria that can help protect us against diabetes development, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. Additionally, fiber from pomegranate seeds contributes to gut health by serving as a prebiotic (food for prebiotic, live gut-friendly bacteria) and providing the necessary bulk to keep bowel movements regular and optimize digestive health.
2. They’re loaded with health-protective flavonoids.
Anthocyanins in the pomegranate play a major role as a functional food component. Anthocyanins have been studied for their numerous effects on health, such as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties, meaning that they can contribute to the prevention of several diseases and reduce signs of premature aging.
These water-soluble plant pigments belong to the family of flavonoids and are responsible for the color of the fruit and its juice. The darker the fruit, the higher the amount of anthocyanins present!
Pro shopping tip:
Go with the darkest color fruit you see. Look for deep cherry-red pomegranates, and avoid ones that have a pale pink peel.
3. Their juice is great for antioxidants on the go.
According to research studies, the antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea! That’s why for my busy clients who travel frequently, pomegranate juice is my favorite superfood drink to recommend.
Research also demonstrates that drinking 50 mL of pomegranate juice daily can help reduce plaque buildup in the carotid artery by up to 35% after one year.
My favorite ways to eat them.
There are many tasty ways to enjoy pomegranate’s perks: I like to sprinkle their seeds on salads, plain yogurt, and smoothies for extra fiber and a pop of color and crunch.
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Another delicious (and convenient!) way to consume pomegranates is by drinking pomegranate juice. The key here is to dilute it with water (1:1 ratio) to prevent a blood sugar crash. You can also mix your juice with club soda to turn it into a refreshing spritzer. I specifically like POM Wonderful’s pomegranate juice because there is 700 mg of polyphenol antioxidants in every 8 ounces.
I’ll also add pomegranate juice to a salad dressing during the off-season. My favorite Zesty Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing is inspired by Dan Buettner and his research on the world’s longevity Blue Zones—many of which prize the functional fruit.
One of my favorite Georgian cuisines boasts a variety of recipes using pomegranates for meat marinades and meals like eggplant rolls with walnuts and pomegranate, roasted pomegranate salmon, and pomegranate chicken (yum).