Pomegranates are one of the best things you can put into your body. For starters, they're a good source of vitamin C, a proven immunity booster. Just one fruit provides 16% of your recommended daily intake. (Unfortunately, you won't get added C from drinking pom juice: The pasteurizing process kills the vitamin). Here are four additional benefits of this wonder fruit:
FULL OF FIBER
This juicy red fruit is also loaded with fiber. Arils (the tart, individual fruits) pack about five grams per half cup—as long as you eat them with the seed. Sprinkle them on salads, cereal, pancakes, waffles, or frozen yogurt. Or concoct a parfait by layering low-fat vanilla yogurt, arils, and whole-grain cereal.
Adding arils to a diet can help your heart, too. Studies show that compounds called tannins in pomegranate juice may help reduce your risk for heart disease, lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, and reduce oxidative stress levels in arteries. For an easy smoothie, blend pom juice with berries, plain yogurt, and protein powder.
Pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants. Numerous studies show that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may help neutralize free radicals in the body before they cause disease or premature aging. The antioxidant chemicals in poms may even prevent the return of prostate cancer, according to a UCLA study.
PACKED WITH POTASSIUM
Eight ounces of pomegranate juice supplies about 10% of your daily quota for potassium, a nutrient necessary for energy production and keeping blood pressure in check. To make your own juice, process arils in a blender until smooth, then strain. This way you'll also get vitamin C, since you're not heating the juice.
DID YOU KNOW?
How to buy pomegranates: Buy plump pomegranates with intact skin. They'll keep at room temperature, away from direct light, for a few days, or refrigerate them for up to three months. Arils and fresh juice are good for three days in the fridge. Freeze arils and keep them in airtight containers for upwards of six months.
One in the same: The super-sweet bar staple grenadine is actually made from pomegranate juice. In fact, the sweetener's name is inspired by the appearance of the palm-sized fruit, which resembles a grenade.