Pomegranates are sweet, juicy fruits native to northern India and Iran, although they are now cultivated in the Mediterranean, Malaysia and tropical regions of Africa. These fruits are about 5 inches in diameter, and have thick, leathery rinds that range from light pink to deep red in color. The interior of a pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds in clear membranes filled with juice. Although pomegranates are widely touted as rich sources of antioxidants in the Western world, using them in your diet may have disadvantages.
In the Southern Hemisphere, fresh pomegranates are available throughout the year. However, in the United States and Europe, most varieties are only available from October through January, according to the Pomegranate Council website. This prevents the use of pomegranates as consistent sources of antioxidants and vitamins in these regions.
The chemical compounds contained in pomegranate juice may inhibit the metabolism and activity of carbamazepine, a drug used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy, according to Muneaki Hidaka, of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare in Japan. Carbamazepine is used as a mood-enhancer and anti-convulsive agent to treat these disorders.
Pomegranates can be difficult and time-consuming to prepare. You must remove the individual membranes that contain the seeds and juice from the rind of the pomegranate before adding them to salads or other dishes. Also, the juice, which is a deep red color, can easily stain your skin, as well as countertops and cutting boards.
- "The American Society for Pharmacology and Expirimental Therapeutics"; Effects of Pomegranate Juice on Human Cytochrome P450 3A and Carbamazepine Pharmacokinetics in Rats; Muneaki Hidaka; January 2005
- "Pomegranates"; Anne Kleinberg; 2004