The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5–8 meters tall.
The pomegranate is widely considered to have originated in the vicinity of Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East and Caucasus region, northern Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, the pomegranate is in season from March to May.
The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably in Babylonian texts, the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran. In recent years, it has become more common in the commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere.Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.
The peel is good for the heart and blood vessels; the white membrane is good for stopping diarrhea and good for wounds and ulcers of the mouth and throat. The fruit also strengthens the brain, cleanses the body and blood from toxins, and is very good at expelling worms from the intestines,” Merav Altman-Adler, who practices classic Chinese medicine.
The pomegranate is known as a superfood. Its jewel-like seeds (arils) have been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamins, this ruby-red fruit has been shown to be a cure-all for just about any ailment. It helps stomach upsets, menopausal hot flashes, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis, osteoarthritis, lowers blood pressure, stimulates the immune system, wards off the flu, reduces inflammation, reduces risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol.
The most important new issue is the cardiovascular protection of pomegranate. Pomegranate juice packs a high antioxidant potency punch and protects against heart attack and stroke.
Two other recent studies by British and American researchers show that components in pomegranate juice help prevent prostate cancer metastasis. But Aviram warns that while the fruit juice is beneficial, “Pomegranate is not a magic bullet” in curing diseases.
Pomegranate at low dosages is also good for diabetics as the pomegranate sugar is not free but it is attached to the pomegranate’s unique phenolic antioxidants.
The Rimon Winery in Israel is one of the world’s top producers of this crimson dessert wine.
The fruit is moderate in calories; 100 g provides 83 calories, slightly more than that in the apples. It contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
It is rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, providing about 4 g per 100 g (about 12% of RDA), which aid in smooth digestive and bowel movements. The fruit is suggested by nutritionists in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs. Regular inclusion of fruits in the diets boosts immunity, improves circulation, and offers protection from cancers.
Certain ellagitannin compounds such as Granatin B and Punicalagin are found abundantly in the pomegranate juice. Studies suggest that punicalagin and tannins are effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging harmful free radicals from the human body.
Total antioxidant strength of pomegranate fruit measured in terms of its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is 2341 µmol TE/100 g.
The fruit is an also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 17% per 100 g of daily requirement. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.
Regular consumption of pomegranate has also been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma.
Further, it is an also good source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.
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