By Dr. Janet Brill
You just can’t find a more perfect food for the month of February (heart health month ablaze in the color red) than the ancient pomegranate seed. They have been around for 4,000 years and have been a symbol of hope, prosperity and abundance. Here are some fun facts about the pomegranate fruit that may interest you:
1. The pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 16 and 25 feet tall.
2. The pomegranate originated somewhere between Iran and the Himalayas of northern India. It has been grown and cultivated across Mediterranean Europe, Asia, and Africa since ancient times.
3. The pomegranate was introduced to the United States in the late 1700’s by Spaniards who planted the trees at their missionaries.
4. The fruit is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud.
5. Pomegranates can be stored for up to two months in the refrigerator.
6. Small but mighty these little bubble-like (juice packed) seeds are considered a true “superfood” because of their high nutrient content. For a mere 70 calories per half cup of seeds you get a nice amount of the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as a shot of vitamin C and a whopping 5 grams of dietary fiber. Try sprinkling red pomegranate seeds on anything and everything from salads to pancakes!
7. You might also consider pairing your pomegranate with oats, and you will create a match made in heart health heaven! Oats contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels by removing plaque buildup in the arteries—making the heart pump more efficiently. Oats can be made into oatmeal or added to yogurt, pancakes, and smoothies! Try my recipe Valentine’s Day Heart Healthy Breakfast of Love: Oatmeal and Pomegranate Pancakes!
I urge all of you to make a special effort this month, the month of heart health, to take care of your heart. Eat fresh whole foods that soothe the arteries, stay active, and you will be doing what it takes to prevent heart disease—the leading cause of death in American men and women.
Best of health,
From the kitchen of
Give your valentine the gift of heart health.
Start off your Valentine’s Day with love by adding shredded beets to your pancakes for a natural red food coloring and additional antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Yield: 2 pancakes (1/3 cup of mixture per pancake)
*if you don’t have beets on hand, you can substitute minced or pureed strawberries
Mix all the ingredients into a small bowl to make the pancake batter. Spray a pan with olive oil or canola oil. Place 1/3 cup of the pancake batter on the pan. On medium heat, lightly brown each side of the pancake. Serve immediately with optional toppings.
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 210 calories, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 116 mg, Carbohydrate: 35 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 10g, Protein: 11 g