pomegranate surrounded by leaves and branches

Pump Up Your Health With Pomegranates

Last updated: October 2022

It's fall, y'all! So, embrace Mother Nature's seasonal offerings by including pomegranates in your fall menu. These nutrient-dense seeds are abundant in health benefits yet provide a tasty twist to any dish. Check out how pomegranates can help manage your type 2 diabetes while satisfying your tastebuds.

Nutrient breakdown of pomegranates

This robust fruit packs a fiber-filled punch while providing balanced nutrition in every bite. Below is the breakdown for 1 cup of pomegranate seeds:1

  • Calories: 144
  • Total fat: 2 g
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Dietary fiber: 7 g
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Potassium: 410 mg

Health benefits of pomegranates

These seeds may be tiny, but they sure are mighty! Pomegranates are best known for their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants may help reduce the risk of:2

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis progression

Pomegranates can also help slow down cancer cell growth, especially in the prostate.2

Research has shown that the polyphenol content found in pomegranates may improve memory, especially among older people experiencing cognitive decline.3

Phytonutrients and type 2 diabetes benefits

As a registered dietitian, I prefer the term "fight-o-nutrients" to remember the benefits of phytonutrients. These plant-based compounds help minimize cell damage. Pomegranates are particularly abundant in polyphenols such as tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid. Each of these provides its own unique benefit.3

In fact, pomegranates contain about 3 times the antioxidant strength of red wine and green tea. Talk about a powerhouse fruit! Research also shows that antioxidants from pomegranates may help improve cholesterol, endothelial function, and cardiovascular health. All of these are especially important for type 2 diabetes.4

How to eat more pomegranates

Pomegranates are widely available from October until January. So, now is the perfect time to start eating this heart-healthy fruit. Check out these easy ways to get your "pom' on!"

  • Eat fresh seeds straight out of a bowl for a fiber-filled snack.
  • Add pomegranate seeds into your yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or overnight oats. It adds texture and flavor.
  • Sprinkle seeds on your salad to balance sweet yet savory flavors.
  • Transform seeds into pomegranate juice. Then make a salad dressing mixed with vinegar, dijon, herbs, and spices.

How to properly peel a pomegranate

Although cutting straight through a pomegranate may feel like the natural way to do it, this can be a messy process. Plus, pomegranate juice may stain surfaces or clothes. So, check out this life hack for how to peel a pomegranate.

  1. Cut half an inch off the top of the pomegranate where the stem is sticking up.
  2. With the cut side facing up, make 5 to 6 shallow, vertical cuts going down the pomegranate.
  3. Find and cut along the natural ridges in the pomegranate. You can usually feel these running vertically along the skin of the pomegranate.
  4. Over a bowl, pull apart the sections made by the shallow cuts. The pomegranate should pull apart.
  5. Gently pull seeds from the membrane and place them into a bowl.
  6. To separate membrane pieces that fall with seeds, fill the bowl with water. The seeds will sink to the bottom while the membrane pieces float to the top.
  7. Once all the seeds get removed, skim the membrane pieces from the top of the water.
  8. Then, drain the seeds and enjoy

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