One of my favorite healthy snacks this time of year is the pomegranate. The kids and I just love to pick at the little gems and eat the sweet, crunchy seeds just as nature made them.
Pomegranates are native to the mediterranean region and are a good source of vitamins A, C, E , folic acid and potassium. The name “pomegranate” in Latin is translated as seeded apple. The polyphenols in pomegranate juice are antioxidants that can prevent and repair oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
In a recent study funded in part by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine researchers from Case Western Reserve University studied the effect that the dietary supplement made from pomegranate extract called POMx had on an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in mice. The mice were treated before and after the arthritis was induced. The mice that were treated with the POMx before the induced arthritis had significantly reduced incidence and severity of disease than the untreated mice. In mice that were treated to exhibit arthritis symptoms before receiving the POMx, the effected joints showed less inflammation and less destruction of cartilage and bone that those that did not receive the POMx.Future studies will test the disease modifying effects of POMx on mice that have been treated to mimic the symptoms of RA.
Pomegranates are available in the market in the northern hemisphere from September to February. In the southern hemisphere you can find them from March to May but the juice is available year round.