It's the start of pomegranate season in the U.S., which means a lot of kitchens (and shirts) in the country are bound to become bloody -- thanks to the fruit's uncanny ability to stain any surface. It's still no reason to give up on cracking open a fresh pomegranate, given its health benefits far outweigh the challenges in extracting its juicy red seeds.
In his Weekly Health Tip video, Dr. Marco Caravaggio talks about just some of the amazing ways that pomegranates have in a person's body.
It's a great source of anthocyanins. It's easy to identify if a fruit or a vegetable has anthocyanins -- just look at their color. Richly colored fruits and vegetables -- like blueberries, beets, and pomegranates -- are great sources of the phytochemical. Multiple studies have shown that anthocyanins improve cardiovascular health and even reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation. It's not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to anthocyanins, however: It has the same composition of chemicals that people use in dying fabrics, which makes it a chore to clean.
It detoxifies the body. Pomegranates help get rid of the toxins inside the body, pulling them out so they can be easily flushed out. A great example of this is heavy metals: Pomegranates lift these from the body and replace them with antioxidants to prevent damage. It also works for cysts, calcifications, stones, and ganglions -- with the phytochemicals in pomegranates breaking them down and flushing them out of the body.
It improves red and white blood cell production. Pomegranate arils are rich sources of iron, which helps increase the production of red blood cells. The antioxidants, in addition, stimulate white blood cells and increase their efficiency.
It's loaded with fiber to regulate sugar absorption. If you think pomegranates are a sugar bomb, think again -- it's rich in fiber that helps slow down the conversion of sugar to glucose, which, in turn, allows for a more constant energy boost.
It gets rid of unwanted toxic chemicals. Eating pomegranates can even help you get rid of toxins you didn't even know you had, like pesticide residues from other foods you've been eating -- especially DDT.
Cracking up a pomegranate, the right way
For everyone who's fallen victim to pomegranate stains, here's an easy way to cut open the intimidating fruit without looking like a crime scene afterward. (h/t to Delish.com)
Cut around the base of the "flower" (the little stem on top of the fruit) and remove it.
Use a paring knife to score the sides of the pomegranate. Make sure to cut between the ridges of the fruit -- an easier way is to follow the white areas that divide the arils and start there.
Pull the sections from the center outward, much like how you will an orange.