If you could believe everything you read or hear, pomegranates are the wonder fruit of the 21st century.
Articles, advertisements, talk shows, health food literature and a myriad other sources tout the health potential of this fruit.
Does the fashionable hype have substance?
“It is true. Pomegranates are a superfood,” said Vicki Stoepzer of Five Seasons Whole Foods Market in Ocean Springs. “Pomegranate is one of the highest anti-oxidant fruits that there is.”
Stoepzer says pomegranates rate a 106 on the ORAC scale, or “oxygen radical absorbance capacity” scale, which measures anti-oxidant capacities of foods.
Simply put, anti-oxidants go to war against free radicals produced during normal metabolism and cell function and are implicated in everything from aging to DNA damage.
Foods high in anti-oxidants are touted as defenses against premature aging, heart disease, inflammation, blood sugar levels and other concerns. Compared to the pomegranate’s 106 ORAC, blueberries, one of the best-known anti-oxidant fruits, are 32.
The anti-oxidant qualities of pomegranates are included in ongoing studies on hypertension, Alzheimer’s, hemorrhoids, fertility, cancers such as breast, skin and prostate, osteoarthritis, cholesterol, premature births and more.
If anti-oxidant qualities don’t impress you, you should know that pomegranates are high in vitamin C, A and E and folic acid. In a move to get Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it a “Fruit of the Month.”
As in any health claims, research and decide for yourself. Several studies indicate pomegranate juice may interfere with certain medications, as grapefruit juice does, so if you are in that category, consult your physician.