4 ways to add more pomegranate into your diet

There's great news for fruit lovers. A University of Huddersfield study revealed that an ingredient found in pomegranates can help slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease, and the promising findings have researchers working on turning it into a drug to help neuro-inflammation. The benefits also include potential relief for other types of inflammation that can be found in patients with arthritis, Parkinson's Disease and cancer, the study found.

In addition to the healthy aging benefits of the fruit, Southern Living noted that pomegranates can improve certain parts of your body. The fruit boosts collagen production and reduces UV damage to your skin. It also helps to break down plaque that can build up in your teeth and cause gingivitis. 

To reap the inflammatory benefits of the fruit, Olumayokun Olajide, Ph.D. and University of Huddersfield scientist, recommended using juice products that are 100 percent pomegranate, which will provide a large amount of the compound. While you could just drink pomegranate juice to get all of these benefits, there are other ways to incorporate the ingredient into your diet. It could be fun to get your friends together at your independent living community and try some of these recipes:

1. Pomegranate Guacamole
Even though it's far from Cinco de Mayo, this dish from Just A Taste provides a unique spin on homemade guacamole that your guests will love regardless of the time of year. 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Combine the onion, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl, and mix in the avocados and lime juice. Then stir in the fruit, and you're finished. For best results, keep it covered in the fridge until you're ready to serve it, and be sure to have a big bag of tortilla chips to go along with it.

2. Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce
Try this recipe from Myrecipes.com for a special approach to cranberry sauce the next time you make a turkey dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 3 small sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Put all ingredients except for the pomegranate seeds into a saucepan and boil over medium-high heat. Stirring frequently, cook until most cranberries pop. After about five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and mix in the pomegranate, and discard thyme before serving. Drizzle over meat as desired for a sweet addition to your dinner.

3. Spinach, Pear and Pomegranate Salad
An easy way to spice up your salad, pomegranates can give vegetable lovers a sweet kick of flavor. Try this variation from Williams-Sonoma:

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

Add ingredients into a large salad bowl and toss with as much dressing as desired. Serve alongside a meat dish, or add in grilled chicken for protein.

4. Virgin Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis
​If you'd prefer to drink the benefits of the fruit, try this spin on ordinary juice. While you can add alcohol if you wish, this version can be enjoyed by all ages.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 cups simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice, chilled
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice, chilled
  • 1 (25.3 fluid ounces) bottle sparkling water, chilled
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, for garnish
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds for garnish

Directions

Fill one third of a large punch bowl with ice, and add the simple syrup and fruit juices. Stir, and gradually pour in the sparkling water. Garnish with lime slices, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds. Serve in martini glasses for a fun twist.