Praises of the Pomegranate
It is said that the Prophet Muhammad
encouraged his followers to eat pomegranate fruit to purge themselves of envy
and hatred. Now, the fruit is being touted for its ability to purge the arteries
of fatty deposits and therefore slowing down the process of hardening of the
arteries and cardiovascular disease.
The word pomegranate comes from the Latin pomum granatum, meaning apple of many
seeds. The pomegranate does look somewhat like an apple and contains many seeds.
health experts are singing the praises of the pomegranate for its apparent
protective powers. Pomegranates are loaded with Vitamins A, C, E and iron, and
the fruit is known as a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals
in the blood. Free radicals can cause damage to the body if they are not
controlled by antioxidants. Experts now believe that pomegranates contain the
highest antioxidant capacity of any other natural juice, red wine or green tea.
substances that occur in plants and help protect the body from free radicals.
Free radicals can affect cholesterol and can speed up hardening of the arteries.
This process takes place through what is known as oxidation, which causes
narrowing and sometimes blockages in arteries.
One great benefit of pomegranate consumption, according to experts, is that it
is believed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a BBC
News story by Jini Reddy, studies in Israel have shown that drinking pomegranate
juice slows down oxidation by almost half, thereby reducing the retention of LDL,
or bad cholesterol. In another study on pomegranate consumption in Naples,
Italy, researchers found that the effects of pomegranate juice in limiting
hardening of the arteries were even higher than previously presumed, according
to a National Geographic News story by Stefan Lovgren.
Mythology and cultural rituals have often attributed superpowers such as
resurrection and fantastic longevity to the pomegranate. It seems that science
is finally catching up and catching on to the possibilities of this amazing
Olive Oil: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
to Greek mythology, Zeus once held a contest to see who would be awarded
patronage of Attica. The patronage would be awarded to the god or goddess who
provided the most useful gift. Poseidon, to show that he would be a great
patron, took his trident and struck open the rock of the Acropolis and from the
crevice poured a great spring of water. When the Athenians tasted the spring
water, it was salty since Poseidon was a sea god. When her turn came, Athena
made an olive tree grow on the Acropolis. From this the Athenians were able to
produce oil. The oil was used to light lamps, anoint the body and prepare food.
Athena won and became the patron god of Athens. (Mythology,
Olives were cultivated in Crete as early as 2500 B.C., according to Peggy
Knickerbocker in Olive Oil: From Tree to Table. Today, health experts say that
even though Americans have a better healthcare system and Greeks smoke more than
they do, Greeks live longer and have lower rates of cancer and heart disease
than Americans. (“Olive oil fights heart disease, breast cancer, studies say,”
by Stefan Lovgren in National Geographic
Why is olive oil so good for you? The answer is simply this: Olive oil is high
in monounsaturated fat, which is the “good” fat you hear about when doctors are
preaching to you about cholesterol.
New studies have shown that oleic acid, which is the main monounsaturated fatty
acid in olive oil, can actually cripple a gene that is responsible for 25
percent to 30 percent of breast cancers today. Javier Menendez of Northwestern
University, one of the study’s authors, says that the Mediterranean diet, which
is laced with olive oil, has significant protective effects against cancer,
heart disease and aging. All of which makes Athena’s tree a pretty good gift.