FRUIT OF THE MONTH:
Information assembled by Isabel Rodriguez, Iskashitaa Nutrition Intern
Common name: Pomegranate
Scientific name: Punica granatum L.
Origins: The pomegranate first grew in Iran (previously known as Persia) and the Himalayas, then traveled to India and Southeast Asia where it was cultivated and harvested. The pomegranate was then imported by Spanish settlers to California in the late 1700's.
Cultural Importance: Some cultures, including Buddhist and Jewish, refer to the pomegranate as a sort of apple. The significance of the fruit was beyond that of a food - it was a symbol. A pomegranate would symbolize strength, marriage, or eternal life in some cultures. Pomegranates were considered a blessed fruit by the Buddha, and in India they consider the fruit as a symbol of good wealth.
Food Uses: People began using the pomegranate as a source of food, but there are other uses as well. In Ancient Egypt, they used the juice from the fruit to make medicine that would kill bacteria, and used the crushed blossom as red dye. Now, the pomegranate is easily accessible to anyone and many people are consuming the seeds raw or in juice or syrup form. Other uses include using the fruit in natural remedies to cure ailments such as diarrhea or mouth ulcers.
Pomegranates are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help support the immune system. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and help to prevent heart disease. Some warnings could include not to consume pomegranates if you are allergic or to limit consumption as too much of the fruit could cause extremely low blood pressure (if already taking high blood pressure medication).