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Pomegranate: Still Healthy at 5,000 Years Old

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This file photo taken Sept. 3, 3009 shows sliced pomegranate. The ruby red fruit, which resembles a large apple but only its seeds are edible, is in season in September. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
This file photo taken Sept. 3, 3009 shows sliced pomegranate. The ruby red fruit, which resembles a large apple but only its seeds are edible, is in season in September. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

The pomegranate is one of the oldest known fruits. Pomegranates are found in ancient writings and pictured in the ancient art of many cultures and religions. The pomegranate is also a symbol of health, fertility and long life.

Experts think the pomegranate is native to northern India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Today it also grows in Southeast Asia, the western U.S., Armenia and parts of Africa, among other places.

The skin of a pomegranate is strong. It can be red, purple or orange-yellow. The inside is filled with beautiful dark red seeds that shine like rubies. It is not easy to get them out. But the reward is great.

Health benefits

The pomegranate grows on trees. Parts of the pomegranate tree and fruit are used to make medicine.

The pomegranate is used for many conditions. However, the U.S National Institutes of Health says there is not enough scientific evidence to rate pomegranates as effective for any of them.

Still, in traditional medicine, the pomegranate is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure and "hardening of the arteries."

The jewel-like seeds of the pomegranate are loaded with many nutrients and chemicals called antioxidants. These antioxidants remove poisons from the body.

The antioxidants found in pomegranates may help remove build-up of damage in blood vessels. So, it is a very heart-healthy fruit.

Antioxidants slow the progression of age-related sickness and may slow the growth of cancer cells. Men who have prostate cancer may benefit from a daily serving of pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates are used for weight loss and used as a treatment for sore throat. Pomegranates are also high in vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.

Let's just say pomegranates are loaded with great things for the inside of your body.

Beauty benefits

But let's not forget the outside, too!

Pomegranates are great for the skin. They protect the skin by encouraging new skin growth, healing wounds and repairing tissue. Pomegranates protect the skin against sun damage as well. They may help skin look younger by providing moisture and elasticity.

Iranian women in Tehran prepare pomegranates to serve at a celebration for Yalda, the longest night of the year, December 20, 2008. (FILE PHOTO)
Iranian women in Tehran prepare pomegranates to serve at a celebration for Yalda, the longest night of the year, December 20, 2008. (FILE PHOTO)

Recipes for pomegranates

But how does one eat a pomegranate?

Pomegranates seeds are both sweet and tart. A thick liquid, or syrup, from the pomegranate tastes great with lamb, pork or chicken dishes.

Pomegranate seeds provide extra flavor to salads and other vegetable dishes. The seeds are also delicious in rice and grain dishes. And, of course pomegranates make great desserts. In the U.S., pomegranate juice is often added to sparkling drinks, drinks called smoothies and alcoholic drinks.

Fresh pomegranates are only available in the United States from September to January. They can keep, or remain good to eat, in the refrigerator for about two months if kept in a plastic bag.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Are pomegranates popular where you live? Share recipes or other health and beauty benefits in our comments section!

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Words in this Story

ruby - n.a deep red stone that is used in jewelry : a dark red color

moisture - n. a small amount of a liquid (such as water) that makes something wet or moist

elasticity - n. the quality or state of being elastic

elastic - adj. able to return to an original shape or size after being stretched, squeezed, etc.

tart - adj. having a sharp or sour taste. For example, lemonade without enough sugar is tart.

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