It's pomegranate's season in Lebanon now, and it's by far the best fruit of the season! Pomegranates come in both sweet and sour flavors - sour being my favorite.
To start with, the crown-like structure on the top of the pomegranate before you crack it open is called calyx, the seeds are called arils and the white, rather bitter, outer layer surrounding the arils is called albedo.
Now that you cracked it open, pick your arils, ditch the albedo and you're in for about a 100-calorie treat, with vitamin C, vitamin K, folates and a tiny bit of vitamin A, potassium, copper, manganese and iron!
- Because of its high content of antioxidants such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, punicalgins and ellagitannins, its juice has been associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer tumor growth as well as metastasis in breast cancer.
- Studies have been also analyzing pomegranate's hypoglycemic effect, such that it may benefit diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome by increasing insulin sensitivity and affecting glucose transporters.
- Pomegranate juice can aid in decreasing LDL's oxidation which further helps in decreasing plaque formation and atherosclerosis overall and aid in better blood pumping to the heart.
- Pomegranates may also help in decreasing blood pressure.
- It's also associated with a decreased risk of total body inflammation.
- Pomegranates possess antibacterial and antiviral characteristics.
- Arils can be eaten as such, yummier with your hands - but beware, they sure stain everything around!
- Added to any salad type, fattouch and tabboule.
- Best part, sprinkled on hummus and baba ghanouj!
- They can be added to yogurt or labne, and fresh mint.
- Mixed with boiled whole rice/oatmeal/whole wheat grains, blossom water and raw nuts (almonds, walnuts and pine nuts being my favorites)
- Added to melted chocolate buttons, nuts fit in there too.
- Mixed with cakes, cookies, granola bars, pies, mhallabiye, apple or banana crumbles, brownies, ice cream and cheesecake toppings.
- Can be squeezed into a juice by blending arils or hand pressing them and then straining the juice.