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Thursday
Nov182010

The Potent Pomegranate

November is National Pomegranate Month. It is a time to enjoy and celebrate this amazing fruit!

It is said that the pomegranate is indigenous to Iran and thus prominent in Persian homes, including mine. Used in traditional dishes such as Fesenjan, also know as Pomegranate Glazed Chicken with Walnuts, is a thick stew of braised chicken made with pomegranate juice and molasses as well as walnuts. Depending on the cooking method, it can have a sweet or sour taste and is always served with traditional saffron infused Persian basmati rice.

The use of health claims has been widely in the Western food market to sell food products. The capitalization of these claims has most recently been used by Lynda Resnick, founder of POM Wonderful juice. Resnick cleverly made pomegranates, in the form of juice, available for the American population to enjoy and was the brains behind its attractive packaging and marketing slogans such as “Overpower Your Genetics.”

Her ability to capitalize on the current trend and the multitude of current research and studies endorsing the high antioxidant factor and health benefits of pomegranates has generally brought more awareness to the potent fruit. To date, POM Wonderful has invested well over $25 million in pomegranate studies, and many of the studies found throughout this project has involved her product and her funding.

Recently, the FTC targeted POM Wonderful juice, stating that their ads made “false and unsubstantiated claims” about their products. That POM Wonderful juice would “prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.”

 

NUTRIENTS

There is very limited nutrition information for this red hot fruit. Although several reports exist on the web, they all appear to be from the same data derive from a single report by Nutritiondata.com (summarized from the USDA).  The simplest conclusion about the nutritional value of the pomegranate is its relatively low yield of macronutrients and micronutrients, being a significant source only of vitamin C (10% RDI).

It is said that dried fruit bears higher amounts of antioxidants due to their more compact and concentrated form, however, most of the fruits antioxidant benefits stem from its medicinal parts including the root, the bark and skin.

The potential value of pomegranate as a health food from research to date appears to lie in its phytochemicals, particularly those with antioxidant functions. Consequently, research to date suggests a unique pomegranate antioxidant phenolic group, punicalagins, and other flavonoids discovered in the aril pulp may aid in the treatment of several chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, diarrhea and atherosclerosis.

These studies however, have little relevance without determining the absorption and metabolism of these phytochemicals, their antioxidant properties or bioavailability. More research is still needed to prove such claims.

 

Pomegranate Glazed Walnut Sauce

Ingredients

1 C pomegranate juice

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

1½ C coarsely chopped walnuts

1¼ C vegetable broth

1 Tsp ground turmeric

S & P

¼ C olive oil

1¼ C chopped red onion

Directions

Prepare fresh pomegranate juice with molasses and vegetable broth, set aside

In a food processor combine walnuts, turmeric, salt and pepper, set aside

In a large, deep nonstick skillet sauté onion until it becomes translucent

Add both wet and dry ingredients with the onions. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat and cover for 20 min

Stir the sauce and allow it to simmer for an additional 10 minutes on med low heat without cover

Serve over chicken or tofu and steamed brown rice

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Reader Comments (1)

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December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkimored

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