Pomegranate has always been high on my too-much-trouble-to-even-bother ingredient list. I always considered it as a fruit that’s just too much work to eat because it’s such a pain to de-seed, so I didn’t have it very often.
In my pre-vegan days, it was up right there with crab legs. Now that I’m vegan (it took me 46 years to get there), and I’m experimenting with various new and old ingredients that I haven’t used very often – like pomegranate.
So, finally, I decided to tackle this pomegranate situation. I bought a big pomegranate lately and it’s been sitting on my counter-top for over a week, so I knew it was time to try it. And surely enough, after just a tiny bit of research, I discovered that a whole pomegranate (minus the skin) can be blended up into a creamy froth, with no bitter flavor from the pith, using my Vitamix, so there you go!
The Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate
The effort needed to extract pomegranate seeds and blend them into the smoothies or make them into juice is definitely worth it. This fantastic little fruit recently made its way into the news after some spectacular clinical studies. Here’s what you need to know:
Compounds found only in pomegranates called punicalagins are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagins are the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. They not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.
In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals. Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans. (read more on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s website).
Health Benefits of the Pomegranate
- Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
- Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
- Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
- Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
- Lowers blood pressure
- Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies
- May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis (read more on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s website)
Pomegranate Smoothie Recipes (No Juicing Required)
I experimented a little with various ingredient combinations, and here is what I discovered:
- Even a high-powered blender will not be able to break up the seeds completely, so be ready for some crunchy unblended seeds in this smoothie. Kinda like a raspberry smoothie may have. Personally, I don’t mind them at all – but if you are super-sensitive you have been warned! In my opinion, even if it’s a little chunky, it’s still delicious, so just get over it!
- If you want to get rid of chunky seeds, you can juice the pomegranate first using a manual method; or blend the seeds and strain them with a cloth.
- Green smoothie with lots of spinach and other greens was delicious, but when I tried the pomegranate-strawberry-banana-almond-milk combination, it was beyond yummy!
For all you health nuts (and that includes me), pomegranates are a great source of vitamin C, B5, potassium, fiber and antioxidants. Studies suggest that regular consumption of pomegranates or its juice may reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce high blood pressure and inhibit viral infections.
You can make this smoothie with or without the greens. I’ve provided a few different variations in the recipe below.
Pomegranate is really photogenic, so I took this opportunity to do a little photo shoot with my fancy Cannon 5D Mark III camera.
Strawberry-Pomegranate Skinny Shake
Last but not least, here is a pomegranate strawberry smoothie recipe that I found on Dr. Fuhrman’s blog.
It’s a nutrient-packed “Skinny Shake“. Dr. Fuhrman came up with this recipe in preparation for his appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. He was asked to share a recipe for a healthful drink that would support weight loss efforts and promote detoxification – something satisfying and delicious while low in calories. He chose a simple blended frozen drink of whole strawberries and pomegranate juice with ice plus a squeeze of lemon for a tangy flavor.
Why strawberries and pomegranate juice? He did not make those choices arbitrarily – these are powerful foods with several human studies to substantiate their profound benefits. The “Skinny Shake” has much more to offer than taste and satisfaction with minimal calories. Looking at these effects all together, it is astounding what these foods can do for our health.
Dr. Fuhrman’s Skinny Shake Recipe
4 ounces pomegranate juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup of ice Squeeze of lemon
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Enjoy!
For all my blending recipes I use Vitamix. If you don’t already own a VitaMix, I strongly encourage you to check out what this machine is capable of! For more information about VitaMix you can go directly to the VitaMix website. You may also want to read my post about the Best Blender.
I LOVE my VitaMix and highly recommend investing in one if you are ready to make serious changes to your diet. I have had mine for almost 5 years and use it daily!
If you decide to purchase Vitamix – be sure to use Promotional Code 06-004554 to get free shipping.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!