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PomegranatePomegranates are in season and although the ancient Greeks and Egyptians revered them as symbols of fertility and immortality, recent research further attests that pomegranates possess the following health benefits.

Aid in weight-loss. One serving (100 grams) of carb-rich pomegranate seeds contains only 83 calories, giving you a burst of energy and keeping you alert and active throughout the day. If you are on a diet, indulge in pomegranates because their high fibre content will prevent you from feeling hungry and increase your metabolic rate. Better yet, pomegranates contain no saturated fats, making them an effective diet food.

Boost immunity; reduce acne and hair fall. Containing almost four times as much vitamin C (the ultimate immunity booster) as apples and a substantial amount of vitamin E, eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily will give you acne-free, youthful and glowing skin. Rich in punicic acid, you can use the juice as a toner during winter to keep your skin hydrated and smooth; the acid also strengthens hair follicles and reduces hair fall, which is why people are increasingly applying pomegranate oil directly to their skin and hair.

Prevent and ward off disease. Pomegranate extract contains a higher dose of antioxidants than green tea, and since it is packed with natural inhibitors, regular intake boosts the body’s immunity against breast, colon and prostate cancer. The presence of ellagic acid in pomegranate peel is believed to inhibit the growth of skin cancer, causing oncologists to encourage patients to consume ground pomegranate regularly. Furthermore, pomegranates are loaded with iron, potassium and manganese, making them essential for overall health, as well as prenatal care, as these minerals prevent anaemia and cramps during pregnancy.

 Protect the heart. Phytochemicals in pomegranates lower cholesterol and blood pressure, while an ounce of unprocessed pomegranate juice every day clears carotid artery blockages, the root cause of strokes and cardiovascular diseases.

So whether you sprinkle them over salads or desserts, blend them in yoghurt or drink their juice, make sure to make pomegranates part of your diet!

– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a dietician.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 23, 2014.