Pomegranate can be a little puzzling, especially if you’ve never tried one before. Yes, it’s a fruit (fruits have seeds), but it’s a fruit where the seeds are the main course and the flesh is discarded (or composted!), instead of the other way around.
Therefore in order to harvest the fruit into something edible, you have to know how to scrape the seeds out; and most folks have never even tried.
If you skip pomegranates, you’re missing out on hydrolyzable tannins, flavonols, anthocyanins, and phenolic and organic acids. And if you miss out on these key micronutrients, you may be missing out on super beneficial metabolic protections.
First of all, pomegranates are great for gut health. The seeds act as both an antimicrobial agent and a grower of a special bacteria strain, Akkermansia muciniphila, which protects against diabetes and inflammation. And also, fiber from pomegranate seeds helps promote a healthy gut by serving as a prebiotic (the stuff good bacteria nibbles on in the gut) and helping with bowel regularity.
Secondly, pomegranates contain flavonoids called anthocyanins which help anti-oxidize the body and reduce inflammation. Anthocyanins can prevent several diseases and reduce signs of aging. The darker the fruit, the higher the amount of anthocyanins present, and if you’ve ever tried a pomegranate, you know the juice is a rich, dark red when it’s ripe.
Pomegranate juice is bursting with antioxidants
Some studies have suggested that this special fruit juice has more antioxidants than both red wine and green tea. Other research also shows that drinking 50 mL of pomegranate juice daily can help reduce plaque buildup in the carotid artery by up to 35% after one year. It’s truly a lesser-known superfood, and to skip them would be doing yourself a disservice.
So what’s the best way to eat them? If you prefer the crisp crunch of the seeds (and the fiber), sprinkle them on yogurt, on a salad, or into a smoothie. If you’d rather skip the seeds, you can buy pomegranate juice and either drink it, or mix it with other recipes like salad dressing for a fresh, seasonal treat. POM Wonderful’s pomegranate juice is probably the best-known option these days; and it’s a fan favorite because there is 700 mg of polyphenol antioxidants in every 8 ounces. Pomegranate juice also goes great in spritzers, cocktails, and even marinades if you’re feeling international.
The bottom line is clear: poms are super healthy and bioavailable, with no real associated risks besides a bit of natural sugar in the blood. Simply pick one up at the store, cut it in half, and start picking out those seeds. Your body (and bowel) will thank you.