The Weird Fruit You Need To Eat More Of!

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Everyone knows that fruits are good for you, and most fruits generally “work” the same way: You eat the flesh of the fruit, and you spit out the seeds or you can avoid eating the core. But there is one weird fruit that flips this whole dynamic upside down, and oddly enough, it might just might be the healthiest fruit in the world.

Originating in the Middle East and Mediterranean region, pomegranates are one of the strangest fruits available in stores. The fruit has a magenta color and looks something like a cross between a beet and a tomato. They are somewhat soft, but are not meant to be eaten whole. When cut open, you can see the white, spongey and inedible flesh of the fruit surrounding what we’re really after: The juicy and delicious seeds.

Yes, that’s right, you eat the seeds, not the “meat” of the fruit. The seeds are small and easily swallowed, and are contained within small juicy sacs called arils. A typical pomegranate has around 600 arils, which are separated by a delicate membrane. The juice within these arils has a strong and sweet flavor, and contains all of the nutritional goodies that pomegranates are known for.

To eat a pomegranate, don’t over think it. Just cut them open, scoop out the arils and eat them whole. You do not need to spit out the seeds, they are tiny and pose no health risk. Discard the rest of the fruit.

But what’s the big deal with pomegranates? What are the health benefits?

 

1. Packed full of vitamins and antioxidants

Everyone knows that vitamins are necessary for a strong immune system, and pomegranates certainly deliver in this department. They are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and well as B vitamins like folate. Pomegranates are also a great source of fiber. But where pomegranates really shine are the enormous levels of antioxidants they offer.

Oxidative stress from free radical particles left over from breaking down food for energy increases the likelihood of disease, and also contributes to the aging process. Foods that are rich in antioxidants provide our bodies with nutritional ammunition to resist these harmful compounds and reduce the damage they do to our cells. Pomegranates are one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2.Help Minimize the Risk of Heart Disease

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the top killers of people in all countries. The good news is that the lovely pomegranate offers a delicious preventative weapon against this all too common problem. The free radical-fighting properties mentioned above contribute to the fruit’s ability to improve heart health and can help lower systolic blood pressure, reducing the risk for stroke. There are other important factors as well, like synthesizing nitric oxide, and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. This is the “bad” cholesterol which is a contributing factor in arterial clogging and increased risk of heart attacks.

 

3. Help Fight Cancer

Pomegranates might actually help fight cancer. A study published in the Molecular Carcinogenesis in 2014 explained how researchers discovered that pomegranate extract had properties which could help stop the spread of breast cancer cells.  Another study performed in 2010 on mice with mammary cancer displayed similar results. The results published in Oncology Reports indicated that pomegranates have “the ability to target and destroy the cancer stem cells within mammary cancer”.

There have been a number of studies regarding the pomegranate’s ability to fight cancer within the context of the stem-cell hypothesis of cancer. One study determined that pomegranate extract was also effective at improving symptoms in men with prostate cancer.

 

READ ALSO: Amazing Things You Never Imagined About Avocados

 

There’s no downside to adding this unique and delicious fruit to your diet. While pomegranate juice has become more popular, some of the cheaper brands have a lot of added sugars (as do many other types of juice), so make sure it is from a reputable brand. The best way to get the benefits of pomegranate is probably to simply consume it in its’ naturally occurring context: as the arils. Pick one up today and hop on board this delicious superfood bandwagon.

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu