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Superfood Fruit #1: Pomegranate


Nutrition never fails to amaze me, how so many simple foods available to us can have some extraordinary nutritional properties. I am often equally amazed how many people ignore simple foods in search of something more difficult for not necessarily much more nutritional value. More bizarre is how we are told by certain “diet gurus” that we should completely cut out entire food groups. Fruit is one that usually will get the damning finger.

Fruit is often out for those people that are following Keto or anti-candida diets. This may be necessary in the short term for these diets but in the long term they should be reintroduced in the appropriate portions.

This blog is part of a series into Superfood Fruit series. In this series I will be giving culinary and therapeutic inspiration from the plant species simply known as “fruit”.

POMEGRANATE (Punica Grantum L): is often associated with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Throughout Iran, Greece, India, Turkey pomegranate has been used for its therapeutic benefits for centuries. It has been used to cure everything from Malaria to parasitic infection. Pomegranate is often seen as a fiddly and awkward fruit to prepare. It is not however difficult to incorporate into many sweet and savoury dishes. Pomegranate should make its way into our regular diet for its powerhouse of antioxidants and flavonoids. Amongst a host of other compounds pomegranate contains ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a form of tannin that appears to have some exceptional therapeutic properties.

Pomegranate has been shown in various studies to assist in the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Disease: pomegranate is shown to reduce serum cholesterol, remove atherosclerosis and reduce hypertension.

  • Cancer: pomegranate appears to reduce tumor growth and inhibit cancer cell division in the following cancers: prostate, breast, lung, colon and skin.

  • Parasitic infection: pomegranate is effective in treating candida, staph. Aureus, E coli, and intestinal worms. Pomegranate assists in breaking down the biofilm in certain infections that often make them resistant to antibiotics. For those people who are on anti-candida and anti-SIBO diets they can happily consume pomegranate as it actually reduces the instance of overgrowth in the small intestine.

  • Urinary tract infections: pomegranate is effective in treating and prevent recurrent UTI’s. It may also assist in managing urinary frequency and inflammation associated with benign prostate hyperplasia.

  • Skin healing and regeneration: interestingly most of Australia’s pomegranate crops are used to produce skin care. Pomegranate has unique properties that accelerate skin healing and reduce sun damaged skin.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: pomegranate in mice studies has been shown to reduce the amyloid plaques that occur in AD.

  • Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis: pomegranate may reduce inflammation and assist in rebuilding of collagen fibers in both OA and RA.

Greek lamb salad with pomegranate

This salad is a twist on the traditional slow cooked Greek lamb. As you may already know, I am a great lover of slow cooked meats as they are easier to digest and the proteins are better absorbed. The addition of pomegranate adds another dimension of flavor and texture with a boost of antioxidants.

For the Lamb:

  • 1 shoulder and one shank of lamb, you may use a leg if you prefer

  • 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 3 teaspoons of paprika

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 6-10 bulb shallots, peeled

  • Bunch of thyme

  • 3 sprigs of rosemary

  • 3 teaspoons of oregano

  • 3 bay leaves

  • ½ cup of lemon juice

  • ½ tablespoon of sea salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 handfuls of baby rocket

  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach

  • 1 small radicchio sliced

  • 1 handful of basil leaves chopped

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa

  • 150 grams of Greek feta crumbled

  • 250 grams of Cherry truss tomatoes halved

  • ½ red onion sliced thinly

  • 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup of pomegranate vinegar or red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.

  • One pomegranate seeds separated.

Directions:

Combine rosemary, oregano, garlic, paprika, lemon, salt and lemon juice into a food processor, blend until it resembles a smooth paste. Score the lamb with sharp knife and rub the paste over the lamb. Allow to marinate for 3 hours or overnight.

Brown the lamb in a pan evenly, then add bulb shallots, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Roast in the oven for 3 hours or longer if you have a larger portion of meat. This can ideally be done in a slow cooker over 8-10 hours. Put it in the slow cooker before work and come home to a house filled with the delicious aroma of fragrant lamb.

Allow the lamb to rest while you prepare the salad. Toss all the ingredients together in a large dish or bowl. Make the dressing by whisking the oil, vinegar and pomegranate molasses.

Shred lamb from the bone and toss in with the salad ingredients. Add salad dressing and toss again.

Variation:

As life is busy not everyone has time to slow roast lamb, use lamb chops or backstraps as a quick cooking alternative.

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