Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
In Praise of Pomegranates
Native to Iran and the Himalayas, pomegranates have been grown and cultivated in the U.S. since the 1700’s. Although the pomegranate flourishes in California, Arizona, and even Texas, for many of us, this gorgeous fruit with its jewel-like interior remains a bit of a culinary mystery. In fact, it’s likely that many of the pomegranates sold in this country end up as mere table decorations. That’s a shame, since pomegranates provide some some very heart healthy nutrition in a delicious and distinctive little package.
Pomegranates are a great natural source of antioxidants, which may help protect against heart disease and cancer. Although studies of pomegranate juice, funded by a well-known manufacturer, have suggested potential benefit for heart patients, eating the whole seed casing, including the small enclosed seed, is probably even more beneficial.
When you cut open a pomegranate, you’ll see a web of white membranes holding hundred of beautiful little arils, or seed casings. If you dunk the whole fruit in water while scooping out the arils, the membranes will float to the top. You can toss out the membranes and water, and you’ll be left with a bowl of pretty little arils. Other people find that cutting the fruit in quarters and whacking it on the skin side with a large spoon will dislodge the arils, which can be collected in a bowl.
Although there are many different uses for these seeds, they are simple and perfect on a mixed green salad, adding a little bit of sweetness, tartness, and crunch. The Pomegranate Council offers a great variety of heart smart recipes, including Roasted Salmon with Pomegranate-Avocado Salsa and Jicama, Green Bean, and Pomegranate Salad with Walnuts.
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