Pomegranate — the Pakistani powerhouse of health and vibrance

Pomegranate — the Pakistani powerhouse of health and vibrance

Pakistan is plagued by processed foods and in desperate need of a food revolution.
25 Dec, 2015

Having touched down in Karachi four weeks ago after a smooth 20-hour flight, the health nut in me had to make a trip to the local street vendors to stock up on seasonal fruits and vegetables for my morning tonic — juices.

Once that was checked on the to-do list, our next stop was the fancy high-end grocery stores across the city. I was curious to explore the 'imported items', which had flooded the stores in the last eight years or so that I had been away.

To my surprise, I saw aisles loaded with processed, canned and genetically modified foods packed with sugar daddies and salty sins. I walked further down and the frozen, microwaveable food section was massive and even more horrifying. By then, I had come to a realisation that just like most places in the world, Pakistan too, was plagued by processed foods and in desperate need of a food revolution.

With this thought, I requested the salesperson to take me to the fresh produce section. As he guided me, he spoke confidently in English (a pleasant surprise for me) and said, "Baaji! All imported fruits and vegetables here from [across the] world. You will like very much!"

I saw blueberries and ecstatically flew to grab them; turning a few heads and inviting a few glares! Of course, that’s me, in my wellness-junkie element and larger-than-life spirit.

Also read: Health benefits — The pomp of pomegranate

One way to increase your pomegranate intake is to put it in your salad
One way to increase your pomegranate intake is to put it in your salad

As I flipped the packet over for pricing, it said Rs650 and I began to convert. "$8! Woah!" I say to myself.

Now, let me clarify, as much as I am mindful about investing in my health, giving my body the best of what it needs and empowering my clients to do the same, I was outraged at the price (considering the purchasing power of the country) and was open to exploring alternative antioxidant-rich foods that the local landscape had to offer!

Upon my journey, I quickly discovered the powerful pomegranate. This ruby red beauty is loaded with polyphenols, an excellent antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage caused by inflammation from the standard Pakistani diet (rich in rancid oils and unhealthy fats), unmanageable stress levels and poor sedentary lifestyle.

Since pomegranates are a rich source of Vitamin C, they strengthen the immune system, detoxify the body from heavy metal toxicity (mercury-loaded with fish and pollution from the environment), enable the body to better deal with stress, eliminate free radicals from the liver and heal the gut lining, which, in turn, improves digestion.

Furthermore, the good news is: they also reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) — the leading cause of heart disease and cancer — two very common chronic diseases in Pakistan.

Pomegranates are a phenomenal source of potassium; a powerful mineral that optimises the nervous system, regulates metabolism and maintains healthy kidney function. This powerhouse is also rich in iron, therefore, helps with anemia (deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood), which causes fatigue, weariness, headaches and lack of energy.

Anemia affects day-to-day living, imbalanced moods and sex drive, especially in women. Anemia affects approximately 2 billion people worldwide (30 per cent of the world population), with the greatest distress in resource-constrained countries such as South Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Moreover, this super food’s astringent and anti-bacterial properties help with cavities, ulcers and sore gums. Oral health is the doorway to optimal overall health, because digestion begins in the mouth from the first bite.

Also read: Olives for life — 4 health and beauty benefits of the fruit's leaves and oil

Pomegranate juice is both healthy and delicious
Pomegranate juice is both healthy and delicious

Research shows that bacteria in the mouth can cause infection in the body and that chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer are directly correlated with oral health. Rightly so, in the Middle East, pomegranates are referred to as 'The Queen '.

This glorious fruit has excellent moisturising properties that nourish and protect the skin. It also helps with regeneration of cells and improves circulation to aid with wound healing and repair of wear and tear.

As mentioned earlier, the standard Pakistani diet is inflammatory, which directly affects the skin condition because the inside reflects the outside. Pomegranates contain Omega - 5 (Punicic acid) that has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and protects sensitive skin from UV rays.

However, all skin types can greatly benefit from pomegranate's nutrient density. Indeed, this fruit can be dubbed as a 'super fruit' because it helps increase our bodies’ production of anti-oxidants, Glutathione — 'The Mother of All Antioxidants'.

We can enjoy pomegranates in our diets in many creative ways, such as: juicing, teas, on salads, dips, marinades and cold-pressed pomegranate seed oil to fight those dirty free-radicals, maintain balanced health, vibrant skin and be the powerhouses we are!

All photos by author.


SBB Dec 25, 2015 11:56am
You're so cool man. Thanks for showing us the light.
Satt Dec 25, 2015 12:06pm
Pomegranate my favorite fruit...a fruit from heavens.
faryal Dec 25, 2015 12:07pm
its my favourite fruit
Amin Zaman Dec 25, 2015 02:06pm
I don't think Pakistan grows pomegranate itself. It is also an imported fruit, mainly from Afghanistan.
adil Dec 25, 2015 02:26pm
a very good article, thanks Anushae
observer Dec 25, 2015 03:22pm
**Pomegranate — the Pakistani powerhouse of health and vibrance** Ooops.. I always thought Pomegranates originated in Iran. Never knew Pakistan had a Copyright on the Pomegranate. Thanks for enlightening.
Vijay B. Dec 25, 2015 03:52pm
I like to compare prices of goods between the Us and south asia, and just out of curiosity I'd love to know what pomegranates are selling for in India and Pakistan. These days, here in the US, you can buy the biggest and best pomegranates you can imagine for about $1.50 each, which I think is a great bargain.You might have tasted any and every fruit juice on the planet, but in my humble opinion none of them come even remotely close to pomegranate juice, which has been freshly hand squeezed using just a wet cheese cloth in order not to get the seeds crushed as well and mar the taste. Yes it might seem like a bit of work but then you get out what you put in. "No pains, no gains" as I am sure you've heard. This stuff is pure nectar and one of God's greatest gifts to mankind.
Vijay B. Dec 25, 2015 04:00pm
A good pomegranate was always coveted and considered healthy and envigorating especially to the elderly and the sick. But it was always relatively expensive and not available to just everybody. Hence the old saying "Ek anaar, saat bimaar"
Javid Abbas Dec 25, 2015 04:15pm
I am a great fan of pomegrantes. Eat about a kilo everyday. Mix with salad, natural yougurt or just eat them. Season starts October to feb.
Guru Dec 25, 2015 05:50pm
What I've read is that it is the fleshy part that holds the pomegranate seed pods within the fruit that is rich in anti-oxidants, so crushing the whole fruit in a juicer is the best way to enjoy it's health benefits to the fullest. But since it is bitter, it's an acquired taste.
Masood Dec 25, 2015 06:56pm
@Vijay B.: You must be buying them in Rodeo Drive or Times Square. Down south they are plentiful @ 0.59 cents.
Truthseeker Dec 25, 2015 08:01pm
After partisan, all the exotic food growing area like pomegranate, Grapes become part of Pakistan. Before partisans India was getting very good quality Pomegranate from kabul, and near by area. In my childhood these fruits were very costly and rare as India has to import these fruits. But in last 10 years due to Indian agricultural scientist efforts , India growing best quality of Pomegranate and Grapes. I have seen Indian Sonaka grapes box with tag imported from India in Europe . Indian scientist hard work and technology changed situation completely. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh are now growing very good quality grapes, pomegranate and other exotic fruits.
Javed Dec 25, 2015 09:04pm
As the saying goes Aik Aanar So Beemar!
Karim Dec 25, 2015 09:16pm
Add 'Grape Fruit and/or Pomegranate' in your regular diet to keep your Colon and Liver happy. Caution; Do Not eat 'Grape Fruit', if you are taking Statin medicine- a drug that lower LDL-cholesterol levels in the body.
Sunny , Dec 26, 2015 03:14am
Love this fruit ! Sells here for $1.50 each for a decent size fruit. Just sprinkle the seeds on yogurt or add them to roasted peanuts to make a healthy snack ! Yummmmyyyy
meharali Dec 26, 2015 07:53am
@observer Its not matter of copyright what she is saying is that this fruit is available abundantly in Pakistan, grown in Balochistan, KPK and also in some areas of Punjab. My parents house in Punjab had pomegrenate trees.
just_someone Dec 26, 2015 09:53am
@Masood In NYC, they are 3 bucks a pop.
kamal Dec 26, 2015 09:59am
Thanks for sharing. Need to create awareness. More of such articles will benefit our young boys and girls. Thanks
Shkhrp Dec 26, 2015 10:30am
20 hr direct flight to Karachi! From where? Are there any direct flights to Karachi other than from ME?
Guru Dec 26, 2015 10:55am
My favorite is a cocktail of pomegranate juice and tender coconut water. Each has delicate taste that complements without overpowering the other so the tangy sweetness of the former with the refreshing coolness of the latter makes for a great summer drink.
Tim Dec 26, 2015 11:48am
@Amin Zaman Balochistan and KPK are a large source of pomegranates. We had two trees in our home in Quetta
Tim Dec 26, 2015 11:50am
Sorry, but the intro has a white-knight-touching-down-in-a-land-of-savages vibe.
siri Dec 26, 2015 01:55pm
@Javid Abbas One kilo pomegranate every day sounds excessive! This could lead to kidney problems. Remember the Islamic pathway: Always follow the middle way! - and you will be fine.
aa Dec 26, 2015 03:10pm
@Masood, I just bought one @ 2.99 in Midwest!!!
Jim Bo Dec 29, 2015 01:08am
Very good writeup. I liked the jest within the prose. As for the nutritional value, the writer seems to know alot more than most people who use it for its taste, color and family traditions.
Trollslayer Dec 29, 2015 04:41pm
The best pomegranates are from Kandahar, Afghanistan and the Afghan pomegranate is now sold throughout the world through Carrefour super markets.