omegranates are in season during the month of September, so I thought we should take a look at this superfruit. The word pomegranate is derived from Latin and basically means seeded apple. They are native to Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan but became naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region during ancient times. Pomegranates were first introduced in the Americas by the Spanish conquistadors when they entered Latin America. By the mid 1700s pomegranates had made their way to California, and, today, California and Arizona produce them primarily for their juice.
Pomegranates have a spiritual symbolism which began in ancient times. Jews revered them as a symbol of righteousness and fertility, and this fruit was also depicted on ancient Judean coins as a sacred symbol. Numerous references to the pomegranate exist in the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish scholars today maintain the pomegranate is the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve. Ancient Christians and Muslims also embraced this fruit, and it is evident in their ancient stories and traditions.
Interestingly, the ancients may have had it right when they revered the pomegranate because researchers today are discovering pomegranates may be able to achieve miracles. Pomegranates are chocked full of antioxidants—ounce for ounce three times more than red wine—and they contain phytochemical compounds. So, they prevent blood platelets from clustering together, reduce blood pressure, lower LDLs—the “bad” cholesterol—and reduce atherosclerosis plaque deposits.
Other important health benefits show that pomegranates
- Aid arthritis by reducing inflammation
- Calm diarrhea
- Combat erectile dysfunction
- Encourage collage production
- Increase antioxidants
- Increase oxygen in the heart
- Prevent or slow prostate cancer
- Reduce risks of breast cancer and may reduce skin cancer
Topically they also
- Enhance qualities in sunscreens and provide sun damage protection
- Kill certain viruses on contact
- Suppress or reduce skin carcinogenesis or tumorous cells
While ancient Jews, Christians, and Muslims found spiritual value in the ripe red pomegranate, today’s believers argue this fruit can help people achieve a long healthy life. It is a superpower when it comes to providing antioxidants and because free radicals can damage our bodies and help us age, pomegranate juice may be the very thing to stop their ravages. So, while the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León was searching Florida for the Fountain of Youth, it seems he might not have needed to go farther than his own back door.
Although pomegranates and their juice appear to have many health benefits,