Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pomegranates for Health

Pomegranates are a beautiful fall fruit with festive looking red seeds.  I love the colour of the deep red juice, the sweet-tart flavour and crunch.  They are a tricky fruit to eat but worth the effort in health benefits.  Like many bright fruits pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, in particular vitamin C, with one serving containing almost half of your daily requirement.  You'll also find the B vitamins, vitamin K, iron, calcium, potassium and fiber.  The only downside is there are 25 grams of sugar per serving.

Antioxidants are important in preventing free radical damage which is thought to contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer.  In addition antioxidants help keep the immune system strong therefore pomegranates or the juice can help prevent colds.  If you do happen to catch a cold and have a sore throat pomegranate juice can help soothe it due to the anti-inflammatory action of vitamin C.  The high vitamin C content can also reduce wheezing in young children with asthma.

Another major health benefit of pomegranate is its effect on blood vessels and cholesterol.  The juice has been shown to reduce hardening of the arteries associated with high LDL cholesterol and help reverse blood vessel damage.

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective we look at the colour of the fruit.  Pomegranates are a bright red, which is associated with the Heart organ system and blood.   Therefore pomegranates will have the action of strengthening the heart system and the blood, which is why the juice mixed with a bit of honey and cinnamon can be used to tonify the blood in cases of anemia or monthly blood loss.

The seeds are not the only medicinal part of the pomegranate in traditional Chinese medicine the rind can be used to help treat diarrhea and skin conditions such as eczema.  For diarrhea the rind is steamed with the seeds and salt then the decoction is taken 3 times a day.  For eczema the rind is simmered with water and then applied as a poultice to the affected area.

For more food cures check out my blog posts on spices, five flavoursfood cures or sign up for my newsletter which always has seasonal recipes.


Katherine Josh said...

Loquat is for cough and lung in Chinese medicine. Sometimes i would take the Ninjiom Pei Pa Koa which is an extract of loquat when got sore throat.

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