What are the Advantages of Pomegranate?
The pomegranate is an excellent source of vitamins that is particularly helpful during cold seasons. Click the link to find out more about it!
- Chemical composition and features
- Choosing a pomegranate
- Valuable properties of pomegranates in traditional medicine
Each of us needs to store vitamins before the cold season arrives, and some fruits are more beneficial in winter than during a hot summer. Many of these are uncommon for our climate, so during this period all sorts of fruit like kiwis, bananas, of course pomegranates are brought to us from the south. Pomegranate juice is an excellent source of vitamins as well as various other antioxidants. In its natural form its price is relatively expensive, and the fruit may not be to everyone’s taste due to the bones contained in its grains. However, the beneficial elements are so numerous and necessary for the body that pomegranates should become a regular guest at our table.
Pomegranates are round fruits of a branchy tall southern tree or shrub that can reach 5-6 meters in height. The size of the fruit can reach up to 15-18 centimeters in diameter, but it can also be small and no more than 10 centimeters. The size generally depends on the type of wood. The pomegranate is a large, spherical “exotic” fruit, which contains nests inside that are separated by whitish membranes. There are usually 9-12 such membranes. Each nest contains several rows of seeds on the inside, and a juicy burgundy, red-pink pulp on the outside.
The color of its peel ranges from orange-yellow to dark-ruby. This color indicates whether the fruit is ripe or not, in addition to the hardness and dryness of the peel and the color’s uniformity. The pomegranate tastes sugary and bitter. Its ripeness is shown simultaneously by its level of sweetness and bitterness. Its sweetness is ensured by the monosaccharides contained within, and its astringency by tannins.
Yet the main benefits of the pomegranate is hidden in its other features: vegetable fiber, ascorbic acid, vitamins P, B12, B6, minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, potassium, iron, iodine, and sodium; natural sugar fructose, glucose, organic apple acid, oxalic, tartaric, citric, amber, boric and others; as well as phytoncides, tannic, nitrogenous substances, tannin, ash, chloride and sulphate salts.
As a juice, it contains up to 15 amino acids, half of which are only contained in meat products. Thus, the pomegranate can be a source of protein both for vegetarians and for people who are fasting. Its calorie content is estimated to be 52-70 calories per 100 grams. The fruit’s composition explains the following positive effects it has on the human body.
- quenches thirst and improves appetite;
- activates production of hemoglobin, thereby promoting the formation of red blood cells;
- improves hemopoiesis and fortifies the walls of blood vessels;
- normalizes blood pressure;
- helps to increase thinking and energy, as it is a biogenic stimulant;
- strengthens the nervous and immune systems;
- has an anti-inflammatory effect which is helpful for respiratory infections and fevers.
Pomegranate juice can cure diseases such as scurvy, uracid diathesis, atherosclerosis, diarrhea, headaches as well as many gastrointestinal disorders.
Nutritionists recommend that it should be included in the diets of children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, and people in recovery or a postoperative period.
The introduction of pomegranate juice to an infant diet should start after one year. The natural juice should be diluted with plain water in identical parts. The feeding should start with one teaspoonful. If during the proceeding few days there is no negative reaction in the child’s body, you can increase the dose by one extra teaspoonful each week.
Generally speaking, the pomegranate’s benefits are helpful for every person and it should be part of a healthy balanced diet, if only seasonally. Pomegranate juice is recommended for those recovering from diseases of the circulatory system, lungs, heart, kidneys or liver. It helps to normalize blood pressure, relieve depression, and also eases the symptoms of the female menopause due to it containing hormone-like substances.
The benefits of pomegranate generally exceed its negative effects, but this does not mean the complete absence of harm. Just like any product, it carries some contraindications. It usually isn’t worth eating more than one pomegranate per day. Additionally, its use in your diet will have to be abandoned if you develop and individual intolerance; however, this is an extremely rare phenomenon which, incidentally, begins in childhood.
Use of such juice is strongly discouraged for children under 12 months old. This fact, as well as the feeding of the child and receiving some negative reaction from childhood, can lead to an individual intolerance in adulthood.
Another contraindication of this juice is for anyone suffering from gastric ulcer or gastritis with high acidity. Furthermore, the juice can adversely affect tooth enamel, and so it’s better to dilute it with distilled water or clean or rinse your teeth right after use.
People who have problems with the anus such as hemorrhoids and fissures of the anus should be extra careful with this fruit. Decoctions from the bark are saturated with toxic substances (up to 0.5 percent of toxic alkaloids). Overdosing on the juice can cause dizziness, seizures, impaired vision, increased blood pressure, weakness and irritation of the gastric mucosa, all of which will require urgent medical attention.
As already noted, the “correct” pomegranate has a dried crust, through which you can sometimes see grains. The crust of a quality fruit shouldn’t be too dense or too soft. If’s soft, then this indicates spoilage of the product: it has either rotted, frozen, or deteriorated during transportation.
If the crust is smooth and has some level of juiciness, then, most likely, it’s not yet ripe. When choosing the fruit, guide yourself by the color of the peel. As already mentioned, depending on the variety, it can be both light orange or and ruby-burgundy colored. In domestic stores, pomegranates are usually darker in color, among which, however, there are often unripe fruits.
If a pomegranate on its tree branch has time to over-ripen, its rind starts to crack. Such pomegranates are not suitable for lengthy transportation and will quickly deteriorate (dark spots become visible on the peel). The “correct” texture is elastic. That is, if you squeeze it slightly in your hand, it will remain firm and slightly springy.
It’s helpful to compare the size of a pomegranate with others. Large fruits produce more juicy seeds than smaller ones. Due to this, it’s advisable to choose the larger fruits. The more ripe the pomegranate, the heavier it will be (compared to others). This is because of its higher content of fruit juice. If it’s completely solid, very soft or has soft spots on it, discard the fruit in favor of another.
Estimate the weight, size and color of the fetus by eye, and listen to the sounds it produces. As with melon and watermelon, knocking and listening to the pomegranate is a good idea. The sound should reverberate, which indicates it’s ripe. A muffled sound is characteristic of both a green and unripe fruit. If the fetus is very ripe, then tapping it gently will be enough to leave a dark stain on its peel.
In traditional folk medicine, the pomegranate is actively used for treating a range of diseases. The “valuable part” of the fruit is extracted from the pulp, juice, seeds, or even from the peel, depending on the nature of the disease.
The most common ways of using it in folk medicine are:
- A generous handful of seeds every day helps to lower blood pressure;
- Its juice is relevant for liver and kidney diseases, because it possesses diuretic and choleretic action;
- For healing angina, laryngitis or dry cough, rinse your throat with water and pomegranate juice diluted in equal proportions;
- The decoction of flowers and pomegranate skin appears to be an anti-inflammatory;
- As a cure for respiratory infections;
- For inflammation of the eyes, ears, liver as well as kidneys;
- Pouring 25 grams of pomegranate peel with a glass of cold water, leaving it to settle for 6 hours, and then evaporating it at a low heat provides an anthelminthic remedy;
- Take it in small portions for an hour, and after an hour take a laxative;
- Take half glass of freshly squeezed juice daily during a period of recovery from malaria, anemia, asthma;
- Pomegranate juice in a 1:2 ratio with distilled water, should be drunk in the case of a gastric ulcer or gastritis with increased secretion;
- 60 drops of its juice before meals can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes mellitus;
- Dyspeptic upset stomach can be overcome by brewing 10 grams of pomegranate in a glass of boiling water for 20 minutes, and the resulting broth take 1 tsp. 3-4 times a day;
- If a little frying on olive or creamy oil powder from the dried pomegranate skin, you get sort of cosmetology tool that is effective in its cooled form as a scrub for acne, oily skin, purulent eruptions, burns, scratches and cracks;
- Whitish membranes, which divide the pomegranate into nests, can be dried and brewed as a tea. This produces a calming and balancing effect and helps to eliminate insomnia.