Pomegranate provides numerous health benefits, some of which include cure for dental problems, cure for digestive disorders, remedy for diarrhea and dysentery, kills intestinal worms and protects liver.
Pomegranate is a tropical semi-seedy fruit which is popular for its sweet flavor when ripe. The fruit is a bright red colour fruit which is about the size of an average apple. The outer layers make way for tiny seeds covered in red, orange or white colored pulp. The fruit has been believed to be a cure for many ailments by many ancient civilizations including Roman, Egyptian, Persian and Indian civilizations. Pomegranate was cultivated from the Mediterranean region to India during ancient times.
The ancient Roman name of pomegranate was Punic Apple or Apple with seeds. The present name pomegranate is believed to have originated in Granada, Spain when it was introduced by the Arabs. The presence of pomegranate is quite evident in ancient Babylonian texts, the Book of Exodus, Homeric Hymns and in Qur’an as well.
The cultivation of pomegranate has been around for 5000 years and it is believed that Northern India is its native place. As the fruit mostly contains seeds, pomegranate has been revered as a symbol of prosperity and fertility apart from its medicinal and health giving properties. Today, there are about 500 cultivars or varieties of pomegranate available throughout the world.
Nutrition in pomegranate fruit
According to the National Nutrient Database from the US Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in pomegranate include
|Nutrition Component||Value per 100 g||Nutrition Component||Value per 100 g|
|Water||77.93 g||Energy||83 kcal|
|Protein||1.67 g||Total Lipid||1.17 g|
|Carbohydrate||18.70 g||Fiber||4 g|
|Sugars||13.67 g||Calcium||10 mg|
|Iron||0.30 mg||Magnesium||12 mg|
|Phosphorus||36 mg||Potassium||236 mg|
|Sodium||3 mg||Zinc||0.35 mg|
|Vitamin C||10.2 mg||Thiamin||0.067 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.053 mg||Niacin||0.293 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.075 mg||Folate||38 ug|
|Vitamin E||0.60 mg||Vitamin K||16.4 ug|
Can I give pomegranate to my baby?
Pomegranates can be given to your baby after he or she is aged between 6-8 months old. At this age, give only juice of pomegranate without seeds. As your child gets older, you can give the fruit pulp, but make sure you don’t give the whole seeds.
Health benefits of pomegranate
Here are some of the health benefits of pomegranate
Cure inflammations: According to some studies in the recent times, pomegranate juice effectively reduces inflammations by destroying bacterial infections, removing irritants from the body that cause inflammations. Several enzymes and biochemicals present in pomegranate juice have been identified with anti-inflammatory properties. (Viuda-Martos et al, 2010).
Cures digestive problems: Babies and toddlers often face digestive problems due to their underdevelopment of the digestive system. Pomegranate juice can act as a good remedy for such digestive problems such as vomiting. (Bhakru, Foods That Heal).
Remedy for diarrhea and dysentery: Diarrhea and dysentery can also be very common among babies. Both diarrhea and dysentery can be a result of bacterial or viral infections. Giving your baby pomegranate juice is a good idea to control diarrhea and dysentery, apart from regular treatment. Please do not neglect pediatric diarrhea or dysentery. Consult your pediatrician immediately. (Bhakru, Foods That Heal).
Eliminates intestinal worms: Infection of intestinal worms is another issue that babies and children can face. Intestinal worms are parasites that reside either in the small intestine or the large intestine feeding on the nutrients and multiply. The juice of pomegranate can be highly beneficial in killing these worms. (Bhakru, Foods That Heal).
Controls fevers: Babies can also be prone to fevers often times. Pomegranate juice can be given to your child with fevers. Pomegranate juice not only controls fevers but also supplies essential nutrients to your baby during fevers. (Bhakru, Foods That Heal).
Cure for dental problems: In the recent years, dental problems in children have increased exponentially. Not only does pomegranate taste well, but giving it regularly to your teething child, protects teeth from several oral diseases such as gingivitis, stomatitis, etc. (Viuda-Martos et al, 2010).
Liver protection properties: Apart from the above mentioned properties, pomegranate also improves liver functioning. Liver functioning must not be neglected, even in case of children. Oxidative stresses can develop in childhood as well. The antioxidants present in pomegranate act as great defenders against oxidative stresses, thus protecting the liver. (Viuda-Martos et al, 2010).
Measures to be taken while giving pomegranate
Here are some measures to be taken up front while planning to introduce pomegranate to your baby. As the edible portion of the fruit is seeds, there is a risk of choking and hence you need to strip off the flesh from the seeds before giving it to your baby. Make sure that the stripped off flesh does not contain any seeds. Though, it is a time consuming process, the end result be that your baby gets the best nutrition.
When introducing it for the first time, you can give pomegranate juice without the seeds. Also one thing that must be kept in mind is that while introducing a new fruit or vegetable, do not mix with others. Instead, give it separately so that you’d know right away, if there is an allergic reaction.
How to make pomegranate juice for babies: Pomegranate juice can be easily made at home. First take half of pomegranate fruit and take out all the seeds and collect them. For an easy way, take a wooden spoon and bash the pomegranate fruit with it. The seeds should loosen and fall. Blend these seeds in a blender and use a strainer to collect the juice. Do not add extra sugar if the juice is not as sweet as you want it to be. Feed it to your baby in small quantities. The best time to give this juice to your baby is during late afternoon or early evening, but not after dark or during day time or before your baby goes to sleep. Dental caries can develop due to the fruit pulp left behind.
Do not introduce new fruits rapidly or at least daily: After introducing one fruit, wait for at least 5 days to a week before introducing another fruit or vegetable. In the mean time, keep an eye out for allergic reactions on the skin.