Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pomegranate - Super Healthy fruit (popular amongst health conscious crowd)

Scientific Synonym - Punica granatum

Also Known As - aanar (Hindi), anar(Persian)

Native to - SouthWest Asia, Caucasus(EurAsia)
It is widely cultivated throughout Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, the drier parts of southeast Asia,
Peninsular Malaysia, the East Indies, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769,
pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production.

Rich Source of - Vitamin C. It also has Vitamin A, E and folic acid

Tastes like - Sweet or Sour Taste differs based on different species and its ripeness

Propagation - The pomegranate can be raised from seed but may not come true. Cuttings root easily and plants from them bear fruit after about 3 years

Interesting Facts -
  • It has around 600 seeds
  • Easy way to separate seed from the pulp. Separating the red arils is simplified by performing this task in a bowl of water, wherein arils sink and pulp floats
  • The cultivation of the pomegranate has a long history in Transcaucasia where decayed remains of pomegranates dating back to 1000 BC have been found.
  • The Kur-Araz(Azerbaijan) lowland is the largest area in this region where pomegranate is cultivated.
  • Carbonized exocarp of the fruit has been identified in Early Bronze Age levels of Jericho, as well as Late Bronze Age levels of Hala Sultan Tekke on Cyprus and Tiryns
  • A large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of Djehuty, the butler of Queen Hatshepsut; Mesopotamian cuneiform records mention pomegranates from the mid-Third millennium BC onwards
  • sweetened pomegranate juice used in cocktail mixing
  • The pomegranate is one of the few images which appear on ancient coins of Judea as a holy symbol
  • Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah
  • In Hinduism, one of Lord Ganesha's names is "Bijapuraphalasakta," which means "He who is fond of the many-seeded fruit (the pomegranate).
  • In Vietnam, the pomegranate flower is the symbol of summer.
  • Every part of the plant [root, bark, flowers, fruit, leaves] is used for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda.
Availability - In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is in season from March to May.

Health Benefits -

  • Interestingly, pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants - higher than most other fruit juices, red wine or green tea.
  • Pomegranate juice has been shown to work well as a blood thinner.
  • An excellent agent for promoting blood flow to the heart.
  • It also has been shown to reduce plaque in the arteries, and to raise good levels of cholesterol while helping lower bad cholesterol.
  • Pomegranate juice tends to act as an inhibitor on enzymes responsible for damaging cartilage.
  • It also helps in protecting unborn babies from brain injuries.
  • It is also beneficial in treating fertility problems
  • It also aids in maintaining a smooth and a healthy skin
  • Pomegranate can help to prevent premature aging as they help in slowing down the formation of wrinkles in one’s skin. In addition, scientists have also found that eating of pomegranates can be beneficial in protecting oneself from skin cancer.
  • Fights Breast Cancer - Studies in Israel show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. It may also prevent breast cancer cells from forming.
  • Lung Cancer Prevention - Studies in mice show that pomegranate juice may inhibit the development of lung cancer.
  • Slows Prostate Cancer - It slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice.
  • Keeps PSA Levels Stable - In a study of 50 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day kept PSA levels stable, reducing the need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
  • Protects the Neonatal Brain - Studies show that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice may protect the neonatal brain from damage after injury.
  • Prevention of Osteoarthritis - Several studies indicate that pomegranate juice may prevent cartilage deterioration.
  • Protects the Arteries - It prevents plaque from building up in the arteries and may reverse previous plaque buildup.
  • Alzheimer's Disease Prevention - It may prevent and slow Alzheimer's disease. In one study, mice bred to develop Alzheimer's disease were given pomegranate juice. They accumulated significantly less amyloid plaque than control mice and they performed mental tasks better.
  • Lowers Cholesterol - It lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Lowers Blood Pressure - One study showed that drinking 1.7 ounces of pomegranate juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by as much as 5 percent.
  • Dental Protection - Research suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may be a natural way to prevent dental plaque.

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