Let’s talk for a minute about one of my favorite ingredients to use during the holidays: pomegranate seeds.
These beauties are juicy and nutritious; they are literal gems, both in their health benefits as well as how they look on food! I’m obsessed with them, and I love to use them in lots of my recipes.
I decided to create a post to share with you exactly all the health benefits of pomegranate seeds, along with a video for how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate, PLUS delicious recipes with pomegranate seeds.
Here we go! But first…
What Exactly Is a Pomegranate?
If you aren’t sure, don’t worry – you’ve likely seen pomegranates already at your local grocery store. They are round, red fruit with tough, leathery skin. They have a little knob at the top that reminds me of a Christmas ornament.
The word pomegranate comes from the Latin phrase pomum grantum, which loosely translates to “apple of many seeds.” And once you get into one, you can see why: underneath that tough skin you’ll find several chambers, each filled with hundreds of red, juicy little seeds.
The outside skin and white membrane are not edible, but all those juicy seeds are (and they are delicious!).
In the botanical world these little seeds are called arils. Arils are the fleshy part that covers each seed, and when you break it (by biting into it), the seed breaks and releases a delicious, red juicy pulp. This is the gold! I’ll show you how to extract these seeds in just a moment (or skip down if you prefer). But first, let’s look at the health benefits of pomegranate seeds.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds
When it comes to health benefits, pomegranate seeds are a powerhouse food. To start, they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also rich with antioxidants and polyphenols. These help the health of your heart, preventing your artery walls from becoming thick, and they lower the buildup of both cholesterol and plaque (read more about that here).
If you juice the seeds, pomegranate juice has high amounts of plant pigments called anthocyanins and anthoxanthins, which also support heart health.
Pomegranate seeds have also been shown to possibly lower the risk of cancer thanks to their antioxidants and flavonoids, which can help to prevent free radicals from causing cell damage, as well as inhibit the growth of tumors.
Eating pomegranate seeds can help lower inflammation in your body, which is associated with many chronic conditions, while also enhancing the good bacteria in the gut. They’ve even been shown to promote urinary health, reducing the formation of kidney stones.
Because I love to marry Eastern and Western medicine, let’s look at the benefits of pomegranate seeds according to Chinese Medicine…
More Health Benefits of Pomegranates According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pomegranate seeds are believed to possess multiple health benefits. Here are a few examples:
1. Blood circulation: Pomegranate seeds are considered to be beneficial for promoting blood circulation. TCM believes that they can help improve blood flow, reduce blood stasis, and enhance overall cardiovascular health.
2. Digestive health: Pomegranate seeds are thought to have a positive impact on the digestive system. They are believed to help regulate digestion, alleviate symptoms of indigestion, and improve appetite.
3. Qi and Yin nourishment: According to TCM principles, pomegranate seeds have properties that nourish both Qi (vital energy) and Yin (essential fluids). Consuming them is believed to help replenish these vital substances, enhance vitality, and maintain overall well-being.
4. Antioxidant properties: Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which are believed to help combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. In TCM, this is associated with promoting longevity and maintaining youthful vitality. Who doesn’t want that?!
5. Skin health: Pomegranate seeds are often used in TCM for their potential skin benefits. They are believed to help nourish the skin, improve complexion, and promote a healthy glow. (Again, a no brainer!) TCM practitioners may recommend pomegranate seeds for various skin conditions, such as dryness, inflammation, or acne.
I think the takeaway here is go get you some pomegranate seeds.
How Do I Get the Seeds Out of a Pomegranate?
Removing the seeds from a pomegranate is easy to do. I’ve made a video for you showing how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate; you can watch it here: Removing the seeds from a pomegranate.
It’s also worth it to note that some grocery stores will sell the seeds already removed from the pomegranate, either fresh or frozen. So check your local produce aisle as well as the freezer aisle, or ask an associate if they sell any pomegranate arils.
When Are Pomegranates In Season?
The season for pomegranates is from September to November, but you’ll see them in grocery stores all the way through January due to their long shelf life. This makes them perfectly ripe for the holidays! It also means that, since we’re eating them in their season, we can reap even more benefits.
Now, onto my favorite part: the food!
Pomegranate Seed Recipes for the Holidays
Pomegranate seeds are a perfect ingredients to add to your holiday dishes. The deep, ruby-rich color of pomegranate seeds make such a visual impact on a holiday table, but I think my favorite part is that pomegranate seeds involve ZERO cooking. None!
So, if you want to elevate a salad or appetizer, or even a main dish, to look gorgeous at any holiday event, think pomegranates.
Here are 5 simple ways you can use pomegranate seeds in your recipes:
- Eat them straight out of the pomegranate! Seriously, we snack on these raw all day long
- Toss them over any salad for an instantly upgraded look (and crunch!)
- Sprinkle them into your holiday drink as a beautiful garnish
- Press them into soft cheeses on your charcuterie board
- Juice the seeds and add to your morning juice to amplify those health benefits (I am currently obsessed with this handheld juicer. It’s ideal for those arils!)
Here are a few of my favorite recipes with pomegranate seeds:
- Easy and Festive Pomegranate Mocktail
- Pomegranate Margarita with Cinnamon Sugar Rim
- Christmas Morning Punch
- Harvest Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
- Garlic Yogurt Recipe: An Easy Homemade Dip and Sauce
- Best Spiced Lentils and Crispy Tofu with Brown Rice
- Baked Christmas Salmon
- Moroccan Salmon
- Pomegranate Pavlova
- Spiced Holiday Fudge
Was this post helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments! And tell me if you have any favorite recipes that involve pomegranate arils. Thanks for reading!