Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pick of the Week: Pomegranates

Pomegranates: No. 11 in's list of super foods. It's a strange time for me to be talking about pomegranates, because they are not in season, but since I committed to exploring the foods on this list, pomegranates it is. Today, the focus is on pomegranate juice.

I loved pomegranates way before they became an it food. Everyday Health loves pomegranates because they have three times the amount of antioxidants of red wine and green tea, and the juice has been shown to reduce artery-clogging plaque, which in turn prevents heart disease and stroke. In addition, Everyday Health says it MAY also help slow aging and protect against cancer. I highlighted the word may because it's not definite, but drinking the juice certainly cannot hurt.

What is so frustrating is that Everyday Health does not suggest how much pomegranate juice or pomegranate arils (aka fruit or berries) we should be eating. I came across an article on WebMD about pomegranates, which cited a small study of 45 people with ischemic heart disease (CHD) and myocardial ischemia (not enough oxygen getting to the heart). Half were given 8.5 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for three months; the other half, a placebo drink (fake drink with similar calories, color and flavor). In those drinking pomegranate juice, blood flow to their heart improved 17%, and decreased 18% in the placebo drinking group. In addition, there was no negative effect on those drinking pomegranate juice, even on blood glucose levels or body weight.

The article was written by Elaine Magee, whose syndicated column, Recipe Doctor, ran in The Advocate and Greenwich Time for years. She researches well, and we never had a complaint from anyone about what she wrote -- which is truly amazing. Check out her post on WebMD, in which she cites other studies, and touches on pomegranate juice and prostate cancer.

The following recipe is from POM Wonderful -- the company that began America's love affair with pomegranates. Come September, I'll revisit the fruit, because there is always lots to tell about those wonderful seeds!

1 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk or regular low-fat milk
2 ice cubes
1 large banana, peeled and broken into chunks
2 Tblsp. slivered or sliced almonds
2-4 Tblsp. protein powder (optional)
1 tsp. honey or to taste

  • In a blender combine the pomegranate juice with soy milk, ice cubes, banana, almonds, protein powder (optional), and honey to taste. Cover and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
  • Pour into 2 tall glasses and serve immediately.
  • Makes 2 servings. Per serving: (11-1/2 oz., with protein supplement): 283 calories, 11g protein, 51g carbohydrate, 6g total fat (.5g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 102mg sodium, 824mg potassium.

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