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The Pomegranate: a Healthy Food for the Last 5,000 Years

For VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

The pomegranate is one of the oldest known fruits. Pomegranates are found in ancient writings and pictured in the ancient art of many cultures and religions. Experts think the pomegranate is a native to northern India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

The pomegranate grows on trees. The skin of the fruit is strong. The inside is filled with beautiful dark red seeds that shine like the red jewels called rubies. It is not easy to get them out. These seeds are loaded with many nutrients and chemicals called antioxidants. These remove poisons from the body. The pomegranate is also a symbol of health, fertility and long life. Parts of the pomegranate tree and fruit are used to make medicine for many conditions.

However, the U.S National Institutes of Health says there is not enough scientific evidence to rate pomegranate as effective for any of them. Still, in traditional medicine, pomegranate is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure and “hardening of the arteries”. It is also used to treat high cholesterol and digestive conditions.

Some people use pomegranates for weight loss and as a treatment for sore throat. Pomegranate seeds contain substances called unsaturated oils, carbohydrates and fiber. Pomegranates are also high in vitamin K that helps to support bone health and vitamin B5 that helps the body process protein, carbohydrates and fats. The fruit is also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. You can use pomegranate seeds in many recipes. They make a delicious and healthful addition to your meals.