Pomegranate seeds are packed with so many beneficial nutrients like antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, so it makes sense to add them to your diet when in season. They are delicious when added to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Juice seasonal pomegranates, make pomegranate juice ice cubes, add pomegrante seeds to smoothies, cook with them plus they make a healthy addition to any salad dish.
A glass of fresh pomegranate juice has been found to contain more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.1 A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin has been shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate's antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and helps lower atherosclerotic plaque.
Another medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants' blood pressure lower by over 12%, but there was a 30 % reduction in atherosclerotic plaque.2
In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.3
Pomegranate, Rice and Mung Bean Salad
Besides tasting great, pomegranates when available in season are a great addition to salad dishes. I've also added pomegranate powder, which is made from dried pomegranate seeds. This adds a delicious fruity tang, complements the salad flavours and also adds further nutrients like minerals and antioxidants to the salad.
This simple salad recipe, comes to life just by adding the fruity tang and crunch of pomegranate seeds. It's simple to do plus adjust each ingredient to your personal liking.
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked mung beans
2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds
1 cup chopped coriander (could also use flat leaf parsley, mint or any combo of your favourite herbs)
1 cup chopped spring onions
Unprocessed salt like Celtic or Himalayan to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp pomegranate powder
1 tsp dried mint (or use fresh)
Virgin Olive oil (3-4 tablespoons)
Fresh lemon to taste
- I mixed the pre-cooked brown rice/mung beans and then added all my seasonings (salt, black pepper, pomegranate powder, dried mint and olive oil). In this way, the blander base of rice/mung ingredients are properly seasoned to my taste.
- Next, I added the pomegranate seeds
- I then added the freshly chopped spring onions
- Finally I mixed in chopped coriander and had a quick taste.
This salad develops flavour as it sits.
Just before serving I like to add some extra olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
I love eating this type of salad on its own or with fresh green leaves and some chicken, fish or tangy goat's cheese on the side.
- Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, et al: Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States. J Agric Food Chem 2008, 56:1415-1422.
- Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr 2004;23(3):423-33.
- Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation:studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(5):1062-76. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomeganate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin coverting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001;158(1):195-8.