Dinner Diva: Partake of the Pomegranate

Dinner Diva column by Leanne Ely

Consider this: Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, claiming more women’s lives each year than the next five leading causes of death among women. Half a million women will die this year from heart disease! And while October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast cancer, after lung cancer is third in the lineup.

We all know the causes of atherosclerosis — high cholesterol; low HDL, high LDL and triglycerides, right? This is the reason the arterial walls thicken. What if I told you there is a way to reverse the wall thickness and it doesn’t mean surgery? I promise you, I’m not crazy!

Some fascinating studies have been done showing the wonder and miracle of something as simple as pomegranate. In a 2004 study by Clinical Nutrition, found that those who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day decreased arterial wall thickness by 30 percent as opposed to a 9 percent increase in arterial-wall thickness by the group who did not drink the juice. Another 2006 study showed that it may halt the development of heart disease in diabetics!

The nutrients in pomegranate juice seems to reduce oxidant stress and free-radical damage as well as protect and enhance the biological benefit of nitric oxide on blood vessels. Nitric oxide naturally decreases as we get older, but its importance in keeping blood flowing cannot be emphasized enough — we need that protection for our entire vascular system, especially our hearts.

Add to those already impressive benefits, pomegranate contains powerful antioxidants at even higher levels than red wine or tea.

So to celebrate the wonder of pomegranate and in the name of being heart healthy, I’ve got a few recipes here to help you get pomegranate into your life!

Leanne’s Super Smoothie
Serves 2
Makes 2 super food smoothies
– 1 very ripe banana, frozen
– 1/2 cup frozen (organic if you can) blueberries
– 2 scoops protein powder (I use a vanilla whey protein powder)
– 8 ounces pomegranate juice
– 4 ounces plain low fat kefir
– 1 squirt of honey (if it’s not sweet enough for you)

That’s it. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Throw it all into a blender and let ‘er rip! That’s how easy breakfast can be in the morning.

How about an afternoon dose of pomegranate, too? Here’s another fabulous way to get pomegranate into your daily routine.

Red Tea
Serves as many as you need
– Equal parts brewed tea (you can use green tea or black tea) and pomegranate juice
– Serve warm or over ice.

This is quite tart, but you could add a little honey. I would add the honey into the hot tea first, then add the juice, if you’re having it on ice. And remember, to let the tea cool before putting it over ice or the glass will break!

For more help putting dinner on your table, check out Leanne’s website, www.SavingDinner.com, or her Saving Dinner book series (Ballantine) and her New York Times bestselling book Body Clutter (Fireside). Copyright 2008 Leanne Ely. Used by permission in this publication.

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