Since ancient times, the pomegranate has been known as an “Ayurvedic pharmacy;” playing a rich part in the cuisine and culture of many countries around the world. Pomegranate has inspired many comparisons of beauty in texts and other legends. Yet, as beautiful and delicious as it is, its healing properties are even more so! 

While the mysterious shape and coveted seeds are typically what most people recognize about the pomegranate, the bark, roots, and rind are used in medicinal foods, home remedies, and many Ayurvedic formulations.

Pomegranates are great for maintaining balance of the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) in the body. Sour pomegranates balance vata and kapha while increasing pitta. Sweet Pomegranate is rich in iron, Vitamin C, and many micronutrients; it is Tridosha pacifying, cleansing, and immunity-boosting. 

The seeds, called arils, are low in calories and fat; packed with fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B9; and are rich in antioxidants. They even have a bit of protein! Very few fruits are as nutritional—they’ve been used for their health benefits for thousands of years.

Health Benefits

As mentioned above, we call pomegranate the king of the antioxidants because it is full of substances that can prevent or slow damage caused to cells by free radicals—unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. These antioxidants also reduce inflammation, improve digestive health, and even bolster brain health.

 

Here are just a few of the applications of the pomegranate according to the National Library of Medicine:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial (It can even fight plaque-forming bacteria for better dental health and is a potent anti-inflammatory that can reduce gum disease, mouth ulcers, etc.!)
  • Antiviral
  • Prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancers when added to a healthy, plant-based diet
  • Relieves indigestion
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Decreases risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Anti-inflammatory properties help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain
  • Prostate health
  • Aids erectile dysfunction and promotes semen growth—and is also believed to be an aphrodisiac—its ruby-red seeds are a symbol of the Divine Mother.

Pomegranate has even been proven to have a therapeutic effect on depression, osteoporosis, asthma, dysentery, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Get More Pomegranate in Your Life

Here are five recipes to help you incorporate more pomegranate into your diet.

Recipe: Sweet Pomegranate Juice

While different parts of the pomegranate fruit can be used, pomegranate juice made from sweet (and not sour) fruit seeds is a wonderful pitta pacifying summer drink. Pick  juicy, heavy, sweet, and deep red pomegranates. Cut the top crown and make 4–5 vertical slits to open up the fruit and separate the seeds in a bowl of water. During this process, some juice will squirt out (caution, it stains!). Blend the seeds just enough to be able to strain the rest. For two cups of seeds, use one cup of water. Add some Himalayan salt to this super drink!

De-seed a pomegranate in one minute!

Recipe: Citrus Pomegranate Mocktails

Ingredients
2 oz pomegranate juice
1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
2 oz sparkling water or seltzer
Ice

Directions
Fill an 8–10 ounce glass halfway with ice. Add pomegranate juice, orange juice, and lime juice to your glass. Stir well to combine.

Pour seltzer/sparkling water over the juice mixture and garnish with any desired garnishes such as pomegranate seeds, lime or orange slices, frozen cranberries, fresh mint, or fresh rosemary.

Recipe: Pomegranate Orange Chip Bars

Banyan Botanicals writes about this recipe, “The merger of chocolaty, chewy goodness with heart-healthy oats and pomegranate created this divine bar—a taste of bliss in every bite. All doshas should eat it in moderation. This recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.”

Ingredients
Makes 16 bars.

½ cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¾ cup almond butter
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
1 large egg, beaten
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups quick-cooking gluten-free rolled oats
¼ cup gluten-free dark chocolate chunks (70% to 85% cacao)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, salt, almond butter, butter, and pomegranate syrup. Stir in egg. The batter will be very thick and oily.
  3. Stir in baking soda. Stir in oats and chocolate chunks until well incorporated. Spoon into prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. (If the entire top is brown, the bars are overcooked and will be very dry. The dough should be soft coming out of the oven.)
  5. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut into bars and transfer bars to the rack to cool completely.
  6. Good for vata, pitta, and kapha. Eat in moderation and share with friends!

Recipe: Pomegranate Chutney

A delicious and easy way to incorporate pomegranate with our daily meals is by using it in chutney. Healthyayurveda.com says this recipe is simple yet divine!

Ingredients

4 teaspoons of dry pomegranate seeds
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup of fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
¼ tsp fennel powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
½ onion chopped
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons of water
Sugar and/or chili powder to taste

Directions

  1. Wash the pomegranate seeds well.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a blender with a little water and blend until smooth.
  3. Place into a container and enjoy!

This chutney can be kept for up to 3-5 days in the fridge. There are many variations that can be used according to one’s taste or preference. Different spices can be added or removed to create your own perfect pomegranate chutney. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of water to create the desired texture of the chutney.

Recipe: Cucumber & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients
2 large cucumbers
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. Peel cucumbers and halve lengthwise. Remove seeds; cut into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Combine the cucumbers in a large bowl with cilantro, pomegranate seeds, oil, lime juice, scallion, salt and pepper.
  3. Serve topped with feta.

Pomegranates, especially their seeds, are a nutritional and flavorful addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Incorporate them into your heart-healthy diet today!

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