Anne Rollins MS RD CSSD LDN

What even is an anti oxidant?

One of my favorite seasons for food (and sports) is upon us!  I’m going to discuss food because sports are a tough conversation currently, especially for football in New England. Pomegranates have arrived in giant boxes to the stores, and now is the time to scoop them up.  Pomegranates contain powerful anti oxidants (vitamin C and E) and in high concentrations, as well as folate, fiber, vitamin A, K, copper, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and magnesium. All that?! What a bargain!  Well, just how does that break down and why is that important?

Anti oxidants keep the body healthy and decrease risk of disease states including heart disease, diabetes, certain mental disorders/illnesses and anything related to oxidation and/or inflammation.  That covers most things that go wrong in the body.  Pomegranates have been specifically associated with lowering blood pressure, blood sugars and decreasing tumor growth.  Anti oxidants, in general, manage the oxidative states sometimes created in the body and that mechanism helps decrease the incidence of many cancers.  That right there, earns this fruit the title of Superfruit.  The benefits don’t end there.  Pomegranates have been shown to be antimicrobial and antiviral!  This is amazing news as we are experiencing a global pandemic.

Pomegranates effect on bacteria and vituses.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23762148

The red jewels in the pomegranate are called anrils, and this is what we mostly eat, although some studies look at the pith (white part around anrils), the skin and the flowers of the plant for health benefits.  Pom juice is also a yummy popular treat, and while I do love me some pom juice, I always try to eat fruit whole so that I get the benefits of the fibers and other nutrients that maybe removed in the juicing process. (Juicing can be beneficial, but let’s discuss another day.)

How to Get to the Anrils

Slice your pomegranate in half, and then score the skin so you can turn the antils inside out.  Best to do this in a bowl of water to contain the juice that will stain everything and anything. Use your fingers to gentle knock against the anrils of the inner skin, they will sink to the bottom of the bowl. The pith floats.  Pour the water out slowly allowing the pith to go with the water.  You can use a strainer or just place your hand on the lip of the bowl as you continue to pour out the last of the water. 

What to Do with Them

  • Eat as is – so good!
  • Sprinkle on top of salads – brings a shot of tartness to a salad
  • Add to fruit salad, oatmeal or other breakfast dishes
  • Create a relish, sauce or marinade
  • Add to cocktails, mocktails or as a mixer

Enjoy this sweet seasonal treat knowing that you are providing your body with needed anti oxidants – the things that keeps disease at bay!!

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