One of the major risk factors for heart disease that most of us are aware of is cholesterol. We see commercials on television for cholesterol lowering meds, advertisements in magazines and education materials everywhere we turn urging us to lower our cholesterol.
I have to admit that I used to get just a bit impatient with all the ads and hype about cholesterol. It seemed a bit like overkill. That is, I felt like that until I started writing about women’s heart issues and understood the very serious nature of heart disease as it relates to our future longevity.
Since longevity and beating the odds on heart disease sounds like a good thing to me, I’m always on the lookout for anything that will help all of us sisters keep from being one of the statistics on heart disease. I came across an interesting string of articles about pomegranates and their beneficial impact in lowering blood cholesterol. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never eaten a Pomegranate. In fact, I’m not really certain that I’ve ever seen a pomegranate down at the local grocery store but if it could help lower my cholesterol levels, I wanted to know more.
Pomegranates originated from the Mediterranean, Indian and Southeast Asian parts of the world. They were introduced into California by Spanish settles in the mid-1700s. They are about the size of an orange, with a reddish outer rind or skin which is very tough. The interior of the pomegranate is filled with red pulp (very juicy) and hundreds of seeds. Unlike some fruits, you only consume the pulp and the seeds and do not eat the rind/skin. Pomegranates are similar to an apple in that they have a long storage life (7 months if stored between 32° - 41° F).
According the California Rare Fruit Growers, Pomegranates are like a fine wine – they get better with age, becoming juicier and more flavorful the longer they are stored.
Pomegranates are also filled with flavonoids and polyphenols, which are major antioxidants. Antioxidants shield plants from environmental toxins and help to repair environmental damage. They also protect against free radicals and the damage that they cause.