Pomegranates are known for their deep red hue and distinctive shape, round with a crown at the top. This fruit looks like royalty, and in terms of health benefits, it is. It helps you reach your recommended daily fruit intake recommendations, set by the USDA -- 1.5 cups for women and 2 cups for men. Making pomegranates a part of your daily diet is a step on the path to good health, but make sure you also consume other foods within the fruit group to maintain a balanced and varied diet.
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Pomegranates are rich in fiber, known for its role in protecting heart health and promoting better digestion. Fiber helps protect you from cardiac disease, lowers your risk for diabetes and keeps your digestive tract running smoothly. Consuming a pomegranate daily along with a diet rich in whole grains and other fruits and vegetables can help your bowels stay regular. A serving of pomegranate -- a half-cup of arils -- offers 3.5 grams of fiber. This provides 13 and 9 percent of the daily fiber intake requirements for women and men, respectively.
Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals, which are present in the environment and are also created when your body breaks down food. Free radicals damage your cells, which can lead to cancer and heart disease. Pomegranates are packed full of antioxidants such as tannins, polyphenols and anthocyannins. Daily consumption of pomegranates increases the antioxidants in your body and can help fight illness.
When cold and flu season hits, reach for a pomegranate to snack on. Rich in vitamin C, pomegranates can help boost your immunity to illness and keep you healthy year round. Vitamin C also helps wounds heal, aids in the growth and repair of your body's tissues, and is essential for strong bones, teeth and cartilage. A half-cup of pomegranate provides 9 milligrams of vitamin C -- 10 and 12 percent of the daily recommended intakes for men and women, respectively.
Replacing a high-sugar, high-calorie or high-fat snack with a pomegranate every day can help you lose weight. Pomegranates are sweet enough to make you feel like you're eating something decadent, but they're low in calories and rich in health benefits, making them a healthy choice for daily snacking.
How to Eat a Pomegranate
Crack open a pomegranate and you'll find it bursting with bright red pods known as arils. The arils are juice-filled balls surrounding a small seed. The seed is edible so you can eat the arils seed and all, or spit out the seeds if you prefer. Pomegranate juice is available at many stores, or you can juice your own. Roll the pomegranate between your hand and a hard surface like a counter top. Press down gently; you'll hear the crackling sound as the arils burst and release the juice. When that sound stops, the pomegranate is full of juice. Pierce the skin and squeeze the juice into a glass. You can also place the arils in a blender and process them until they're completely liquified. Pomegranate arils can be added to yogurt and cereal as well.
- Huffington Post: Big Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
- Medline Plus: Antioxidants
- Organic Facts: Nutritional Value of Plum and Pomegranate
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pomegranates, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Pomegranate
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- Medline Plus: Vitamin C
- USDA ChooseMyPlate: How Much Fruit is Needed Daily