The pomegranate is a fruit with healthful benefits and ancient roots. Its antioxidant power exceeds that of red wine, blueberries and green tea. Not only do pomegranates have a higher concentration of antioxidants, bu theirs is also of a higher quality. The antioxidants in pomegranates neutralize 77 percent of free radicals they come into contact with, as compared with red wine (46 percent), blueberries (33 percent) and green tea (10 percent). You don't have to eat the fruit to reap the benefits of the pomegranate; you also can drink the juice or take pomegranate-extract supplements.
A pomegranate is an apple-sized fruit with a red, leathery exterior. Inside is a spongy material that holds several red, pea-sized seeds. These seeds are the only edible part of the fruit.
Pomegranates have been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. The pomegranate is one of the foods mentioned in the Bible and also was praised in ancient Egyptian writings and art.
Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants, which are molecules that neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals. It is believed that free radicals are the leading cause of disease and aging, because they can damage DNA and kill healthy cells. They're found in air pollution, tobacco smoke and the sun's UV rays, but eating foods with high-antioxidant content, such as pomegranates, can help combat their effects.
Juice vs. Extract
When considering whether to add pomegranate juice or pomegranate extract to your regimen, the juice is the less expensive option, because it requires less processing time and effort. However, fruit juice can add a lot of calories and sugar to your diet, so many people choose the extract instead.
The extract comes in capsule and liquid form. While plant extracts tend to be more expensive than juices, they are convenient. Plus, extracts are more concentrated, so you don't have to consume as much.
Which Is Better?
People with active lifestyles probably need not worry about pomegranate juice having a negative impact on their diet. It has a pleasant, fruity flavor, and it poses no health threats when it's consumed in moderation. However, if you're trying to limit your calorie intake or you have diabetes or other blood-glucose problems, the extract would be a better choice.
While pomegranates are a healthful food, their juices and extracts are not meant to replace a healthy diet and exercise. These products are meant to complement a healthy lifestyle. Also, drinking anything high in calories and fructose in excess will do you more harm than good in the long run.
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