Pomegranates, a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, have grown in popularity as a healthy juice option. Pomegranates have crunchy seeds that are covered in a beautiful deep red fleshy pulp that tastes both sweet and tart.
The seeds are often eaten as they are with salads or they can be blended into juice. Fresh pomegranates are mostly cultivated in Southern India, Iran, Caucuses, and some Mediterranean regions.
They are available between October and February. When buying pomegranates, search for ripe, deep, reddish-brown colored fruits. You can also buy packaged seeds separately.
What Makes Pomegranate Juice So Healthy?
Pomegranate is placed in the category of super foods. In fact, a recent UCLA study ranked pomegranate juice as the #1 healthiest juice.
The fleshy seeds of pomegranates are nutrient dens and moderately low in calories. They contain zero saturated fats and no cholesterol.
The seeds are also a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, required for proper bowel function.
The fruit is a good source of the antioxidant punicalagin, responsible for reducing the risks of heart disease.
Pomegranates have 3 times the antioxidants of green tea and red wine. Pomegranates also contain vitamins C and K, which help to boost immunity and fight infections.
Heart Healthy Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
While pomegranate juice has many wonderful nutrients and disease fighting properties, it is perhaps most notable for its cardiovascular health benefits.
Here are some of pomegranate juice benefits.
- Pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties that protect against chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
- Antioxidants in pomegranates reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Phytochemical compounds in pomegranates reduce LDL cholesterol formation.
- These same phytochemicals have blood pressure-reducing properties.
- Taking one ounce of pomegranate juice per day has been shown to reduce plaque build-up in patients with carotid artery blockages, as outlined in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
How to Make Pomegranate Juice at Home
To prepare the fruit for juicing, first wash the outer skin. Take a sharp knife and cut the skin all the way around, as you would cut an avocado. The fruit can then be broken in half.
You can lift the fleshy seeds out from the surrounding pith with your hands. Or, hold the section of fruit seed side down over a bowl and beat gently with a wooden spoon to dislodge the seeds.
Next, place the seeds in a high sped blender and cover with filtered water. Blend until smooth. Strain the juice to remove the crispy seeds, and enjoy. Here is a video showing how easy the process is.
It is possible to reduce the juice over heat to use as sauce ingredient for main dishes. The arils (fleshy seeds) store well in sealed baggies in the freezer to enjoy all year round.
If you can’t wait or don’t have time to make your own, I HIGHLY recommend buying Lakewood “PURE” organic pomegranate juice on Amazon because it is 100% pure, not from concentrate and it’s reasonably priced—you’ll realize this after you shop around a bit.
They actually cold press 10-12 pomegranates in every 32 oz bottle and is USDA certified organic and Kosher Certified by KOF-K.
Pomegranate Juice & Drug Interactions
Similar to grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice may interact with your medications, making them less effective. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking pomegranate juice if you take any of the following medications:
- Blood pressure medications
- Anticoagulant medication or blood thinners like Warfarin (Coumadin)
- ACE inhibitors, that include: Ramipril (Altace), Captopril (Capoten), Moexipril (Univasc), Perindopril (Aceon), Trandolapril (Mavik), Benazepril/hctz (Lotensin), Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), Enalapril maleate (Vasotec), Fosinopril sodium (Monopril), or Quinapril hydrochloride (Accupril).
- Statins used to lower LDL cholesterol, which include: Crestor (rosuvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin) or Zocor (simvastatin).
The cardiovascular health benefits of pomegranate juice are impressive. Is it a coincidence that the fleshy seeds are blood red in color?
If you haven’t tried pomegranate juice yet, consider giving it a shot. You won’t be disappointed with the flavor and, you will be doing your heart a favor.