Diet

The clarifying health benefits of pomegranate

Five reasons why you should eat more of the powerful pomegranate and a festive pomegranate-pecan tabouli recipe.

pomegranate recipe, julie daniluk, heath benefits

(Photo Julie Daniluk, R.H.N.)

Years ago pomegranates were considered exotic. Like Mandarin oranges they were precious imports brought over on ships for a once-a-year treat at Christmas. But in recent years, as you might have noticed, the pomegranate has been designated a “superfood” (foods with the highest nutritional values). And it truly is super with its high dietary fibre and folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Since ancient times, the fabulous fleshy seeds were used for fertility, but it turns out they do so much more.

Five reasons the pomegranate is a superfood:

1. You can reduce joint pain and inflammation with pomegranates. At the source of any joint pain is always a cascade of enzyme reactions that lead to the body triggering inflammation and ultimately pain. Pomegranates have been shown to halt the enzyme reactions before the inflammation is able to occur and reduce pain as a result.

2. Pomegranates have been used to treat malaria. In ancient Indian culture, this was the only remedy that was available for the treatment of malaria because of its powerful anti-parasitic properties. Remember to stock up on pomegranates before your next tropical destination vacation to ward off those pesky parasites.

3. Pomegranates are anti-viral. Protect yourself during those winter months by stocking up on pomegranates. The anti-viral component of these fruits is so powerful that it’s been studied as an alternative treatment of HIV, with promising results.

4. Pomegranate plant flowers can be used to lower cholesterol. Pomegranate flowers contain an oil called oleanolic acid that improves the metabolism of free triglycerides found in the blood. These triglycerides are what lead to the collection of LDL cholesterol and blockage of arterial walls leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the artery walls) increasing your susceptibility to heart disease.

5. Pomegranates protect your cardiovascular system. For plaque to begin to form on your arteries, there first must be damage to the arterial walls caused by free-radicals. Pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants that eat up these free radicals and target the lining of your blood vessels and prevent them from damage. The ultimate prevention food!

Festive pomegranate-pecan tabouli

Festive pomegranate-pecan tabouli (Photo by Julie Daniluk)

Festive pomegranate-pecan tabouli

Ingredients
1 cups (250 mL) quinoa
1.5 cups (375 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) pomegranate seeds
1 cup (250 mL) fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) pecans, chopped
1/3 cup (85 mL) extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) pink rock or grey sea salt

Directions
1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, seed pomegranate and chop the mint and pecans.
3. Once quinoa has cooled, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
4. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Makes 6 servings.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Herbook, Meals that Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Check out more amazing recipes and nutrition tips at juliedaniluk.com.