Woah, that fiber.
Riddle me this: What’s sweet, red, and only available three months out of the year?
No, it’s not a new Fenty lipstick—it’s pomegranate.
The winter fruit makes really good juice (and goes great in salads and on top of yogurt), and like the latest beauty launch at Sephora, it’s got a cult following. But does pomegranates’ ultra-healthy, superfood reputation truly stand up?
Spoiler alert: Pomegranates are pretty much worth the hype.
Unlike other trendy foods (ahem, apple cider vinegar), pomegranate nutrition facts and benefits are not overhyped. The winter fruit is packed with polyphenols, says Patricia Bannan, R.D.N., author of Eat Right When The Time Is Right and nutrition consultant for POM Wonderful—a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your body’s cells from free-radical damage (the stuff that is linked to certain cancers, inflammation, and signs of aging).
Pomegranates are also a great source of potassium, an important electrolyte for healthy muscles, Bannan says.
Here’s the specific breakdown for a one cup serving of pomegranate arils (you know, the little seeds inside):
- Calories: 144
- Fat: 2 g
- Saturated fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 33 g
- Sodium: 5 mg
- Sugar: 24 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 3 g
Admittedly, it is higher in sugar compared to other fruits (a cup of raspberries, for example, has only five grams of sugar). But it also has a LOT of fiber, which can tend to help keep your blood sugar levels even. But you have diabetes or another condition where you really have to be careful of your sugar intake, it might be wise to not totally go overboard on these babies.
Cool, so they’re good for me…but how do I get those freaking seeds out?
That’s the million dollar question. After all, you can’t really eat the skin or the white pith (the white skin on the inside).
There are two ways to de-seed a pomegranate to get at the antioxidant-packed morsels inside:
- Cut your pomegranate in half horizontally, then hold one of the halves upside down over a bowl. Smack the uncut side hard with a wooden spoon repeatedly to force those arils to fall out of the bowl. Repeat with the other half of the pomegranate. Bonus: It’s a great stress reliever.
- Cut through the pomegranate about an inch from the crown, recommends celebrity chef Akasha Richmond. Discard the top. You’ll see an “aerial view” of the pomegranate, with arils divided into groups. Cut between each group of arils. Above a bowl of water, pull the sections apart. With your thumbs, gently nudge the arils out of the rind. The arils will drop to the bottom of the bowl. Discard fibers that float to the top. Then, drain and eat.
If you can’t eat all the seeds at once, store them in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge. The arils can be refrigerated for three days, or frozen for up to six months, according to the Pomegranate Council.
Nice! So what should I do with pomegranate seeds to make the most of that sweet, sweet nutrition?
Whether you’re pounding ‘poms by the fistful or incorporating them into dishes, they’re the ultimate palate pleaser. Bannan’s suggests are super easy:
- Blend them into a smoothiefor a seasonal alternative to berries.
- Toss them into salads to add crunch, texture, and color.
- Sprinkle them over yogurt or oatmeal.
- Use them as garnish for festive holiday cocktails or mocktails.
Cindy Weinstein, president of the Florida Pomegranate Association, makes her own pomegranate syrup to slather on top of ice cream, coffee cake, and lemon bars. It’s super-easy: Juice the arils, add sugar to taste, and reduce the mixture by half over the stove. Be sure to hand-press lightly when juicing to avoid releasing the pomegranates bitter tannins.