November 7, 2012

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Pomegranates - A Mythical Food Of The Gods, And Good For The Health

Pomegranate Fruits. EspaƱol: Una granada, frut...
Pomegranate Fruit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
HellasFrappe would like to dedicate this article to one of our readers in North America who might want to stay anonymous, but was kind enough to drop us a letter and signal out the importance and health benefits of this fruit to our daily diets!

Pomegranates are a symbol of joyous times, fertility, prosperity and good luck. In ancient Greek mythology there are a plethora of images and tales concerning the pomegranate. One such myth, apparently claims that the fruit sprung about when the beautiful Persephone was kidnapped by Hades. According to mythology, Hades wanted her to be his wife and decided to kidnap her and take her to his underworld. When Persephone's mother Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, found out she was so distraught that she caused every single plant on the Earth to die and to avoid a catastrophic loss of all life, Zeus then commanded Hades to allow the beautiful maiden to return to her home. Being the wicked villain he was and determined not to give up so easily, Hades tricked Persephone into eating four seeds from the pomegranate, before she was able return. This action condemned her to life in the underworld for four months out of every year, and this is probably why the fruit is in harvest only during the winter season.

The fruit was also very prominent in the Greek myth of Orion’s wife. According to Greek mythology, she was very beautiful, even rivaling the beauty of Zeus’s wife Hera, but because she even attempted to compete with Hera, her children were killed and she was persuaded to believe herself the culprit. In agony, Orion's wife jumped off a cliff. The blood that eventually spilled from her body after the jump also produced the first pomegranate tree.

Today, it is very customary to adorn holiday tables with pomegranates throughout Greece in honor of the fertile land and its bounty. On New Year's eve Greek citizens still role a pomegranate through the front door and smash it against a wall for good luck. On the other, its seeds are also seen in dishes at weddings and at funerals.

Today, the pomegranate is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. It might not be native to Korea or Japan, but it is used for bonsai because of its beautiful flowers and for the unusual twisted bark.

Unfortunately it is not that popular in the West. This could be because many people are put off from the pomegranate fruit because they don’t know really know how to enjoy it and they have no idea what types of health benefits it has.

We here at HellasFrappe say this is hogwash. If consuming tiny bits of fruit is really not your thing, then why not consume pomegranate juice to get some of these amazing health benefits, or why not purchase some pomegranate oil online or at your favorite health food store and enjoy the benefits it can give to your hair, cuticles, and nails? (Just make sure you’re buying 100 percent pomegranate oil, because some companies use it as the primary ingredient in an oil blend.)

Pomegranate juice is such a super food that one study actually discovered that it was healthier and more beneficial than grape juice or even red wine (when it came to protecting your body from harmful free radicals and at preventing high blood pressure.)

But that is not all. If you struggle with joint inflammation such as arthritis. then you should regularly consume pomegranates. The nutrients in these juicy red suckers help to reduce swelling in the joints and arteries. At the same time, the fruit reduces our risk for heart disease and keeps our cardio-vascular system healthy. On top of that it helps us to stay sharp since its rich in anti-oxidants keep dementia and Alzheimer’s at a distance. For women of course the best benefits are its anti-aging proprieties while men who consume it regularly have a smaller risk for cancer (especially prostate).

Here are some more benefits in brief: 
  1. Rich in antioxidants, it can keep bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidizing.
  2. Beneficial for people suffering from heart disorders.
  3. Helps to avoid clumping of blood platelets and also formation of unnecessary clots.
  4. Pomegranate compounds can eliminate prostate cancer.
  5. Pomegranate aids prevent heart attacks and strokes.
  6. Helps people who are suffering from diarrhea, but excess consumption may cause constipation.
  7. Effective in reducing plaque in arteries and raising HDL levels.
  8. Reduces chances of breast cancer.
  9. Reduces blood pressure levels and also enhances oral health.
  10. Prevents and slows down Alzheimer’s disease.
  11. Prevents cartilage deterioration and keeps osteoarthritis at bay.
  12. Maternal intake of pomegranate juice can protect the neonatal brain from damage after an injury.
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