Pomegranate is a fruit that is part of many diets, since many diets contain fruits, and the Mediterranean diet is no exception. It is a fruit that is used in the Mediterranean cuisine and a fruit whose juice is extremely healthy and protects us against many diseases.
The name Pomegranate comes from the Latin language and literally means seeded apple. ( pomum= apple and granatus=seeded)
Pomegranate has been in the Mediterranean culture, diet and cuisine for many thousands of years and in various cultures and at different times had different symbolisms, some of which were:
- Ancient Egypt: symbol of prosperity and ambition
- Greece: symbol of fertility
- Israel: symbol of fruitfulness
- Egypt and other Mediterranean Muslim countries: symbol of fertility
We will list a few facts and figures about Pomegranate so as to show the importance of this fruit and its juice in our diet and especially the Mediterranean diet.
- Pomegranate is an excellent source of antioxidants and more specific it contains punicalagins. It was found that it contains more antioxidants that green tea and berries.
- Pomegranate has a high concentration of Vitamin C and it is a good source of Vitamin K. Vitamin C is known to protect us against diseases by strengthening our immune system while Vitamin K protects the heart and strengthens the bones.
- One serving of Pomegranate contains 235 calories.
- Pomegranate seeds are an excellent source of Dietary fiber.
Several research studies have been performed by many research institutions around the world. All studies aimed in studying the super benefits of Pomegranate in our diet. Recently one of the most active centers in the Pomegranate research is the University of Queen Margaret at Edinburg in Scotland. The University has conducted many studies with some of the most important findings are list below among with the results of other prior studies done by other universities.
- A 2005 study done by the University of Naples and that of the University of California has shown that pomegranate limits the hardening of the arteries
- In 2008 a study done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that pomegranate helps fight lung cancer.
- A 2010 study done by the University of Haifa, Israel, and several hospitals verified previous findings about the antioxidants effects of pomegranate and how pomegranate protected the damage of the tissues.
- A 2011 study has shown that 500 ml of Pomegranate juice reduced the stress levels at work. This was attributed to the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol,
- The same study showed that Pomegranate reduced the risk of prostate cancer and reduced the cholesterol levels
- A study done by the University of Michigan has shown that pomegranate has anti-aging properties and that the ellagic acid and antioxidants that it contains had many benefits to the skin.
- A new and recent, 2012, study has shown that pomegranate juice increases the testosterone levels thus increasing the sex drive and therefore the sex life of people who drunk the juice. In fact during the presentation of the study it was said that a glass of pomegranate had the ‘’Viagra effect’’ and is becoming the natural aphrodisiac for men and women. It is believed that this is the reason many civilizations in the Mediterranean Sea consider pomegranate as the fruit of fertility.
- The 2012 study has also shown that drinking pomegranate juice as part your healthy Mediterranean diet and/or eating the seeds of the pomegranate increased the positive feelings while at the same time supressed the negative ones
The pomegranate has been part of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years and it is consumed in many forms: fresh as a fruit, as a nice and very nutritional fresh juice, as syrup in desserts, salads or cooked food, as stuffing and as a sauce. It is used in all Mediterranean countries and local Mediterranean cuisines.