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Superfoods: Powerful Pomegranates
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Superfoods: Powerful Pomegranates

I'm so excited that fall is finally here! Not only is it the end of another hot, humid Charleston summer, but my supermarket shelves will soon be stocked with one of my favorite fruits: pomegranates.

Pomegranates are another of the so-called "superfoods" that provide a host of potential health benefits, including:

  • Reducing heart-disease risk factors
  • Relieving hypertension
  • Fighting prostate cancer

And, as with goji berries and acai, proponents of pomegranates argue that including them in your diet can help you lose weight.

I've already said that I don't consider "superfoods" to be weight-loss miracles, although I agree that they can be an excellent addition to a balanced, healthy eating program. However, there is some basis for claims that pomegranates may help speed weight loss. This is because pomegranates are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which increases feelings of satiety and helps prevent overeating.

In addition to its fiber content, a serving of pomegranate contains 17% of your daily value of vitamin C and 20% of your daily value of vitamin K. Plus, the antioxidants in pomegranates - called polyphenols - fight free radicals, potentially eradicating cancer cells and increasing the survival of healthy cells.

In addition to the health benefits pomegranates offer, they're just downright delicious! Consider these tips for incorporating them into your diet:

  1. Add pomegranates to your breakfast routine. Healthy eating starts as soon as you wake up! Whether you're partial to a bowl of cereal, a handful of granola, or a cup of Greek yogurt, pomegranate seeds are a fantastic tart-sweet addition to your morning meal.

  2. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on soups or salads. Pomegranate seeds - also called arils - are a great topping for soups and salads, providing an unexpected burst of antioxidant-rich juice in every bite. (Healthy eating tip: The seeds may offer just enough flavor for you to forgo salad dressing.)

  3. Try pomegranate juice. Pomegranates can be tough to open and even tougher to peel. Luckily, many grocery stores sell the seeds removed from the skin. If you can get the seeds, juice them yourself. If not, look for pomegranate juice that is unsweetened and as close to unprocessed as possible.

  4. Try pomegranate as a snack. This is how I used to fight my sweet cravings. Pomegranates take a long time to eat, especially if you're eating them seed by seed. Rather than reaching for chips or candy, grab a pomegranate. They're healthy and you'll have to work for it.