Since my recent post on the health benefits of pomegranates, I've gotten lots of questions about pomegranate juice. Is it as healthy as the fruit?
You'll often hear advice to eat the whole fruit rather than drink the juice in order to take in fewer calories and benefit from fibre. This is good advice (I should know, I say it often)! Most of your fruit intake should come from whole fruit, but there is a place for 100% juice that has no sugar added, is packed with antioxidants and can be used to sweeten up recipes instead of sugar or other sweeteners.
For five delicious recipes that feature pomegranate juice -- and are all created by dietitians -- check out this slideshow!
Registered Dietitian Katie Cavuto of Healthy Bites has an incredible smoothie recipe that packs in pomegranate juice and the arils (seeds). I love the addition of walnuts to give this smoothie extra staying power!
This roasted winter root vegetable salad from Registered Dietitian Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutritioulicious is bursting with colour, texture, flavor, and nutrition. Enjoy it as a starter to your meal, in a smaller portion as a side dish, or top it with your favorite cheese, beans, chicken, salmon, or tofu for a protein punch.
This cranberry chia jam from Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Shaw of Shaw's Simple Swaps features cranberry pomegranate juice for lots of flavour, nutrients and natural sweetness. You'll love it on toast, pancakes and over goat cheese for an impressive appetizer.
Registered Dietitian Abbey Sharpe of Abbey's Kitchen shares her delicious dessert recipe featuring pomegranate molasses. To make pomegranate molasses, boil pomegranate juice down to a syrup. You can also find this popular Middle Eastern ingredient ready-to-use in the "International" section of your grocery store.
Kim Melton, Registered Dietitian at Nutrition Pro Consulting, uses pomegranate juice to make a delicious and nutritious salad dressing.
I recently shared the health benefits of pomegranate seeds, called arils. Pomegranate arils may help lower inflammation, making them a food to include as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Many of the nutrients I highlighted for pomegranate arils are also concentrated in pomegranate juice.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice has 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar in a ½ cup serving. This isn't the same as having sugar from "empty calories" like pop and candy, because this natural sugar comes with a ton of nutrients. Read the label of your pomegranate juice to make sure it is 100% juice and no sugar has been added.
The ingredient list should say "100% pomegranate juice" or perhaps have some other juices. Also check to see that preservatives and artificial colours haven't been added to it.
Pomegranate juice is lower in vitamin C than pomegranate arils because the juice has been pasteurized or heated for food safety. However, it still maintains many other antioxidants. Pomegranate juice is higher in antioxidants than red wine, blueberry juice or green tea!
(Photo credit: John Keogh via Flickr).
Love Your Heart
As part of a heart-healthy diet, pomegranate juice could have several benefits. The juice may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent platelets from clumping together. Prevention of this clumping is important for preventing buildup of plaque in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Pomegranate juice is a very good source of vitamin K which plays a role in blood clotting. The juice is also a good source of folate and potassium, nutrients that are needed for healthy red blood cells and to manage blood pressure, respectively.
In cell and animal studies, pomegranate juice or juice concentrate has been shown to help prevent breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers from growing and spreading . We still need more research in people to know whether this juice has cancer-fighting benefits.
(Photo credit: Faungg via Flickr).
Check Your Meds
Are you taking medications such as blood thinners, or for lowering blood pressure or cholesterol? Because pomegranate juice is rich in vitamin K, it improves blood clotting. For most people this is a good thing - but this isn't helpful if you're on blood thinners! Pomegranate can also impact how the liver breaks down medications. Because pomegranate lowers blood pressure, if you're already on blood pressure-lowering medicine, it's possible your blood pressure could go too low. Check with your doctor to see if drinking pomegranate juice regularly can interact with your medications.
How to Enjoy Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice tastes great on its own or mixed with sparkling water for a tasty spritzer. For more ways to enjoy it, check out these delicious dietitian-approved recipes:
Root Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate Ginger Dressing from Nutricioulicious
(Photo credit: Jessica Fishman Levinson. Used with permission).
How do you use pomegranate juice? Share on Facebook at 80 Twenty Nutrition.
Disclosure: I received coupons for POM juice. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.
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