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MORE APPROPRIATE THAN A POMEGRANATE? NOT ONLY ARE ITS ARILS RED LIKE A HEART, THEY BOAST HEART-BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS. F OR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS ON VALENTINE’S DAY, WHAT FRUIT COULD BE Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate. After all, it is quite irresistible, and its name means “seeded apple” in its original Middle French form, “pomme garnete.” “It’s a sexy fruit,” says chef Ricky Martin of Cape Fear Seafood Company, “from its red color, to the heart ben-efits, to the way the juicy fla-vor explodes in your mouth.” Although the popularity of pomegranates is a new phenomenon in the American diet, other cultures have enjoyed them for many cen-turies. In addition to their Garden of Eden connection, pomegranates have defini-tive Biblical beginnings and are enjoyed throughout the Middle East today. Josh Axe, a clinical nutri-tionist, points to the fact that pomegranates are among the good things to be found in the Promised Land. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:7-8). Numerous writers, researchers, and medical experts have published stud-ies and written articles on the benefits of this wonder fruit. They all seem to agree the pomegranate seeds, or arils — glistening, ruby-red drop-lets of tart sweetness with an edible, crunchy center — may contain almost supernatural properties. Each pomegranate can produce more than 600 arils bursting with nutrients and antioxidants that offer posi-tive effects on many disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high choles-terol, hyperglycemia, inflam-mation and stress. Some stud-ies have indicated that pome-granates could also provide anticarcinogenic effects. Maia Appleby, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified trainer and fitness writer, breaks down the ben-efits of pomegranates for vari-ous body systems as well as for men and pregnant women on the website healthyeating. sfgate.com. Appleby states the flavanols in pomegranates may benefit the nervous system. She refers to a 2006 study published in “Neurobiology Disease” that compared mice that drank pomegranate juice every day for six months to those that did not. The juice-drinking mice, through maze tricks and other tests, showed superior brain function. 83 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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