Pomegranates don’t necessarily hit a home run when it comes to vitamins, but they are loaded with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients simply mean “plant nutrients,” and anything that’s good that comes from plant-based food that isn’t a vitamin, mineral, protein, carb or fat falls into this category. A lot of research has been done in this area in recent years – a bulk from the mid-90s through today. So it’s no surprise that fruits and vegetable that were relatively obscure 15 years ago are making the scene today. “New” phytonutrients are discovered all the time. Pomegranates are no exception to the new-ish type of nutrition.
Here are a few benefits of the amazing pomegranate via the phytonutrients within them:
- Free Radical Scavenger: Think of free radicals as rust on a car. It’s corrosive and makes the car look old and beat up. That’s what free radicals do to our body. Pomegranates contain cyanidin, a phytonutrient found in red-shaded fruits and vegetables, that gobbles up the nasty free radicals that eat away at our body (inside and out).
- Fungus Fighter: Fungal infections are just icky, but they happen. Athlete’s foot, jock itch, ring worm and yeast infections make the ranks of common fungal infections. Pomegranates contain the phytonutrient, gallic acid, which has strong anti-fungal properties.
- Inflammation Fighter: Anything that can help keep inflammation at bay is incredibly important to your health, and thanks to betulinic acid, a phytonutrient found in pomegranates, your joints might ache a little less.
I’ll be writing a lot more on the benefits of phytonutrients in the future. The bottom line is to look beyond the label. If what you’re eating is a fresh, whole food – it’s probably really good for you. If it’s packaged, processed or overly-refined, your body probably won’t get much benefit.
I made a really yummy pomegranate compote that I mixed with plain low fat yogurt. Think of it as fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. The recipe follows, but the compote itself can be used in so much more than yogurt. What’s more, it’s really good for you. Enjoy.
Pomegranate Compote Yogurt Parfait
|Prep time||1 hour|
|Cook time||5 minutes|
|Total time||1 hours, 5 minutes|
- 2 c. Pomegranate Seeds
- 2/3 c. Pomegranate Juice
- 2 tbsp. Honey
- 3 tsp. Corn Starch
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 2 c. Plain Low Fat Yogurt
- 3 Pomegranates (Option to substitute pomegranates (whole) for store-bought seeds and juice. )
If you're making this recipe with store-bought pomegranate seeds and juice, all you need to do is measure out your ingredients, and set them aside. If you're working with whole pomegranates, which is what I did, you'll need to seed the fruit. Three pomegranates yield about four cups of seeds. Two cups of seeds yields about 2/3 cup of juice. To extract the juice from the seeds, I put two cups of seeds into a mesh strainer covered with a big piece of plastic wrap. I the placed the strainer over a medium-size bowl and pressed the seeds into the strainer with my hand (hence the need for the plastic wrap). It worked better than using a pestle - for me at least.
Also, if plain yogurt isn't your thing, don't be tempted to go with a sweeter version. The tangy plain yogurt blends well with the sweet pomegranate compote. Too much sweetness would be overkill. Think fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt.
|Wisk together pomegranate juice and corn starch in a sauce pan. Add in the seeds, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, until mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until cool. |
After the mixture is cooled, layer four to short glasses with pomegranate compote and the yogurt. Garnish with mint and serve.