The pomegranate fruit is considered by many as a symbol of beauty and that is why, although it appearance strikes us, we forget to look further into its nutritional properties. There are many hidden benefits behind this refreshing fruit.
Pomegranate, also know as Punicam Granatum, resembles an upright scarlet trunk with purple flowers. It adapts well to any soil but its cultivation requires a temperate climate.
There are a few different varieties of pomegranate and the most common is the Albar, which has whitish grains and a sweet taste. Cajin pomegranates have attractive crimson-coloured grains and thus are more highly valued. The Zafari is another variety that has more square-shaped grains.
It is believed that the origin of the pomegranate is based in ancient Persia, according to historians, and hence its consumption has spread around the world. In the Bible, there are references to the pomegranate fruit and it has even been speculated that Eve's apple may actually have been a pomegranate.
To the Greeks and Romans, the pomegranate was associated with a symbol of fertility, and the colour of the red flower was often related to love.
In general, fruits are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and the pomegranate is no exception to the rule. This exotic fruit is related to increased defenses which fight diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis and other ailments of old age. They provide vitamins such as vitamin A, C, E and folic acid.
They are also rich in antioxidants, the equivalent to red wine or green tea, and help us to strengthen our body's immune systems. Furthermore, pomegranates provide a good source of iron, which contributes to maintaining a healthy blood flow, preventing symptoms associated with anemia and fatigue.
Consumption of pomegranate is recommended for those suffering from hypertension because they contain potassium. Including pomegranate fruit in our diet provides us with fibre, which helps us to improve our digestion and may help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Unsurprisingly their advantages are not only reserved for way of consumption: Pomegranate is also used for cosmetic purposes. This fruit is especially beneficial to the skin, thanks to their previously mentioned source of antioxidants. Consumption of pomegranate fruit may also help to prevent ageing.
In addition, pomegranate extract or juice is good for treating acne and other skin complaints because its components improve circulation, so that our skin is oxygenated better and thus prevents the occurrence of acne, giving our skin a fresh and radiant look. However, pomegranate skin can also be used directly on the body. A good way to apply pomegranate juice is with a cotton pad, dabbing lightly on the affected area.
Recent studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the seed oil of pomegranate to treat small skin lesions, such as blackheads and pimples, without leaving a mark or a scar. Today there are several cosmetic products that utilise the many beauty benefits of the pomegranate for skin care.
Although it is a rare ingredient in Western cuisine, apart from the juice or when consumed with other fruits, pomegranate can actually be used to combine with meat in order to prepare a rich sauce. In Mexico, it is part of a rich dish known as "chiles en nogada" which is scarlet beans sprinkled with this fruit to finish the dish.