Why Pomegranates?

You've seen them in the aisles - POM®, Pomegranate tea, Pomegranate sorbet, Pomegranate soda and my personal favorite, Pomegranate Vodka. Clearly Pomegranate is a nice fruit, and everyday it seems more trendy and popular, but how healthy does it have to be to make vodka look good?

The answers lie in a plethora of research that has emerged over the past few years involving both the antioxidant effects of pomegranate and the effects of pomegranate on the heart. The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a softball sized fruit with an abundance of seeds incorporated throughout its flesh. The juice of the pomegranate has been taken as an herbal restorative for years. Its deep red color is shared by the seeds themselves, which are edible.

In addition to 40% of the RDA for Vitamin C per fruit, pomegranates support a variety of antioxidant effects in the body. Ingestion of pomegranates has been shown to decrease the activity of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE), a hormone which helps to regulate blood pressure and plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Medicines which reduce ACE activity in the body have been shown to protect the heart and kidneys from the effects of heart failure, diabetes and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as well as reduce blood pressure and the risk of strokes.

Pomegranates are an excellent source of antioxidants as well and are felt to have the ability to protect against oxidative stress – the reactions in the body which lead to free radicals, subsequently promoting the effects of aging, and possibly having an effect on the development of certain cancers.

As to the best way to get pomegranate, many beneficial effects have been related to the ingestion of juice, but nearly every part of the pomegranate is rich in nutrition. Whole fruit extracts may confer additional advantages over the juice alone. Despite all of the advantages of pomegranates though, pomegranate vodka is probably far less healthful than the juice or the fruit, but without it, the pomegranate martini just wouldn’t be the same.