RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Piles of pomegranates are on display at your market right now, but do you pass them by? Not so fast. It's time to give those beauties a try; they're delicious and easier to work with than you might think. A scarlet-hued fruit with numerous juicy seeds, the pomegranate originated in Persia. It's a good source of potassium and vitamin C and, as you've probably heard by now, the fruit has higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine. You might have sampled pomegranate juice a time or two. But if buy the whole fruit, you can incorporate the seeds—as well as the juice—into lots of different pomegranate recipes.
There are plenty of reasons to enjoy pomegranates. First, they may help fight Alzheimer's disease. Loma Linda University researchers discovered that mice that consumed pomegranate juice experienced 50 percent less brain degeneration than animals that drank sugar-water. The mice drinking pomegranate juice also performed better in tests and mazes as they grew older. Pomegranates may help protect arteries, too. Israeli researchers found that diabetics who drank about two ounces of pomegranate juice daily for three months prevented the absorption of bad cholesterol into their immune-system cells (a contributing factor to artery disease).
The pomegranate's potent combo of polyphenols, ellagic acid, and isoflavones is thought to fight cancer. Pomegranate juice has been shown to delay the growth of prostate cancer in mice, and stabilize prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men who've undergone treatment for prostate cancer. University of Wisconsin at Madison research shows that pomegranates may also fight lung-cancer growth. The mice in the Wisconsin study consumed the human equivalent of 16 ounces of juice daily. Finally, the fruit can also help protect your teeth. Pace University researchers found that pomegranate juice can kill the S. mutans bacteria, one of the main causes of cavities.