Pomegranates are an ancient food source originating in the Middle East. I learned a lot about them from an article in the journal Foods, including that pomegranates were thought to be symbols of fertility, good luck and abundance.

The edible parts of the pomegranate are the arils, which are the red, liquid-filled little pouches that also contain a seed. You can eat the seed if you want. Don't eat the white membrane or the skin.

The study authors reviewed a bunch of publications to find out pomegranates. They found that arils have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. They say regular consumption may boost health by protecting your from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers.

The American Heart Association (AHA) notes in an article that the red pigment of pomegranate juice comes from the presence of polyphenols, an antioxidant. And that the fruit also contains folate, potassium and vitamin K. One other important point in the AHA article is that pomegranates may lower blood pressure. So if you're on blood pressure medications or have low blood pressure, talk to your health care provider to make sure it is okay to eat the fruit.

I like to sprinkle pomegranate arils on top of fresh spinach salads with walnuts, red onion and poppy seed dressing. I also enjoy pomegranate juice purchased at the grocery store.

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