If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a pomegranate a day should give you super powers.
Part of the berry family, pomegranate means “apple with many seeds.” Native to Iran and the Mediterranean region, pomegranates thrive in dry climates. A little closer to home, pomegranates can be found growing in the dry climates of California and Arizona. While September through December is peak season, making pomegranates a festive addition to your holiday menu, this exotic fruit is considered a superfood with a super shelf life. You can store pomegranates for up to two months in the fridge! They freeze well, too.
Not familiar with this ancient food?
A whole pomegranate looks like a round red apple with a fancy stem. The inedible exterior gives way to hundreds of juicy seeds that can be eaten raw or juiced. Half of a cup of pomegranate seeds provides about 72 calories, one gram of total fat and three and a half grams of fiber—14 percent of the daily recommended amount for women, set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fiber helps keep your heart healthy, belly full and weight in check.
Pomegranate seeds are also little nutrient powerhouses, filled with vitamin C, K, folate and potassium. The powerful antioxidants found concentrated in the juice are really what makes this bright red snack super though. Antioxidants help protect your healthy cells from damage and may fight the inflammation that causes heart disease and cancer. Pomegranate seeds, in particular, have been shown to improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels, protecting the heart from cardiovascular disease.
These beautiful little seeds are sounding pretty great, right?
Well, don’t forget: Pomegranates are linked to better memory!
Enjoy pomegranates in a variety of ways. These little seeds aren’t just healthy and sweet. They are also pleasing to the eye. Use them to dress up your meal, garnish your beverage or decorate your table. (A half of a cup of pomegranate seeds count as one SmartCarb on the Nutrisystem program.)
Ways to Enjoy Pomegranate:
1. Sprinkle pomegranates in Greek yogurt for a sweet snap to your healthy snack filled with satisfying protein and disease fighting nutrients.
2. Blend pomegranate seeds in your smoothie for a natural sweetener chock full of fiber and vitamins.
3. Add pomegranate seeds to your leafy greens for a brighter salad.
4. Roast pomegranate seeds with Brussels sprouts for a natural caramelized flavor and beautiful deep red color.
5. Garnish your club soda with pomegranate seeds and watch them dance around in your glass.
All nutritional information taken from the USDA’s Food Composition Database on 12/2/2016.