The Power of the Pomegranate

Pomegranates not only taste great, but they also have lots of medicinal benefits.

The composition of pomegranates is quite unique, being composed as a mixture of different bioactive compounds. The high levels of bioflavonoids, ellagitannins, catechins and anthocyanins give powerful health benefits to pomegranates.

The Benefits of Pomegranates

Here are 5 benefits of this powerful fruit:

  1. Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients. Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, potassium, fibre, vitamin K and folate. These nutrients are needed for the body to carry out regular functions, like digestion, breathing and preventing illness.
  2. Pomegranates may prevent and be used to help treat certain cancers. Some primary research suggests that pomegranates may help prevent cancer development and slow down the spread of cancer, particularly prostate, breast, skin, lung and colon cancers.
  3. It lowers blood pressure. Pomegranates are considered anti-hypertensives meaning that they can reduce blood pressure. Studies have shown that drinking 1 cup a day of pomegranate juice can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. We love Pom juice! Available at local grocery stores.
  4. It is anti-inflammatory. Pomegranates are great at reducing inflammation. They have been studied in a number of different inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease.
  5. Pomegranates may help with depression. Pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals

The De-Seeding Technique

Taking the seeds out of a pomegranate is no easy task. It can be a messy, sticky scene. When we eat a pomegranate this way, we lose out on some of the nutrition that is in the pomegranate juice.

Luckily, Dr. Mason-Wood ND has a trick for getting pomegranate seeds out while preserving the juiciness and reducing the mess. Cut the pomegranate in half, put the cut half face down into your palm and fingers. Hold your hand over a large bowl. Then, take a wooden spoon and hit the back of the pomegranate. The seeds should fall out of the pomegranate, through your fingers and into the bowl.

Watch the video to see Dr. Mason-Wood’s ND trick for pomegranates in action.

Pomegranate Recipe Ideas

Because pomegranate seeds are so small, they are easy to add to a number of different dishes. Two of the easiest ways is to throw it into your favourite salad for a burst of flavour or add it to your smoothie. Here are 3 dishes we are excited to try.

Turkey Tacos with Pear Pomegranate Salsa Taco

Adapted from Ali Martin’s Pear Pomegranate Salsa and Dr. Chris Bjorndal ND in The Essential Diet:  Eating for your Mental Health. 


Pear Pomegranate Salsa

      • 2 fresh pears (any kind), cored and diced
      • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
      • half a red onion, diced
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
      • juice of half a lime

Jack’s Taco Seasoning 

      • 1 tsp ground cumin
      • 1 tsp ground oregano
      • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
      • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
      • 1⁄2 tsp paprika
      • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper (ground) 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

Turkey filling

      • 1 tsp olive oil
      • 1 lb. ground lean turkey
      • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
      • 3⁄4 C water
      • Whole-wheat tortillas
      • Optional: fresh lime wedges, extra chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream,  diced scallions, and tomatoes.


    1. Make the seasoning by tossing all the ingredients together
    2. Make the salsa. Toss the pears, pomegranates, red onion, cilantro leaves and lime together until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the ground turkey into small pieces and cook thoroughly (5 minutes). Drain the fat and reduce the heat. Add the taco seasoning mix and water, then stir to blend the spices with the meat. Reduce the heat to simmer.
    4. Lay one tortilla out on a serving plate.  Place a few slices of turkey in a line down the center of the tortilla.  Then add a few spoonfuls of salsa and a sprinkle of cotija cheese on top of the Turkey.  Serve immediately.


Pomegranate and Orange Salmon from Taste of Home

Taken from


      • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
      • 1 skinned salmon fillet (about 2 pounds)
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced
      • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
      • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill


      1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place a 28×18-in. piece of heavy-duty foil in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Place onion slices in a single layer on foil. Top with salmon; sprinkle with salt. Arrange orange slices over top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds; drizzle with oil. Top with a second piece of foil. Bring edges of foil together on all sides and crimp to seal, forming a large packet.
      2. Bake until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork, about 25-30 minutes. Be careful of escaping steam when opening packet. Remove to a serving platter; sprinkle with dill.


Pomegranate & Pear Green Salad with Ginger Dressing by Cookies and Kate

Taken from Cookies and Kate  



      • ½ cup raw pecans (halves or pieces)
      • 5 ounces baby arugula
      • 2 ounces (about ½ cup) goat cheese or feta, crumbled
      • 1 large ripe Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
      • 1 Honeycrisp or Gala apple, thinly sliced
      • Arils from 1 pomegranate


Ginger dressing

      • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, to taste
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
      • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
      • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
      • About 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper


  1. To toast the pecans, place them in a skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring often, until they’re fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pecans from the heat and roughly chop them (no need to chop if you started with pecan pieces). Set aside.
  2. Arrange the arugula across a large serving platter (or bowl, but the salad looks prettiest on a platter). Sprinkle the chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese over the arugula. Fan out your slices of pear and apple and arrange them across the salad in sections (see photos). Sprinkle all over with fresh pomegranate seeds.
  3. To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until blended. Taste, and if it isn’t quite zippy enough, add another teaspoon of vinegar.
  4. Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve (the dressing will wilt the greens over time). When you’re ready, drizzle the ginger dressing lightly all over the salad (you might not need all of it). Serve promptly.


1. Zarfeshany A, Asgary S, Javanmard SH. Potent health effects of pomegranate. Adv Biomed Res. 2014;3. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.129371
2. Pomegranates, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. Accessed December 10, 2020.
3. Sharma P, McClees SF, Afaq F. Pomegranate for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer: An Update. Molecules : A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry. 2017;22(1). doi:10.3390/molecules22010177
4. Asgary S, Keshvari M, Sahebkar A, Sarrafzadegan N. Pomegranate Consumption and Blood Pressure: A Review. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(7):1042-1050. doi:10.2174/1381612822666161010103339
5. Sahebkar A, Ferri C, Giorgini P, Bo S, Nachtigal P, Grassi D. Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2017;115:149-161. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.11.018
6. Danesi F, Ferguson LR. Could Pomegranate Juice Help in the Control of Inflammatory Diseases? Nutrients. 2017;9(9). doi:10.3390/nu9090958

What’s In Your Summer BBQ? Series (Part 2 of 2)

This is part 2 of a super summer BBQ series, following from part 1 that talked about hot dogs, burgers, veggie burgers and buns. Now read up on all the other trimmings that come with a BBQ so you can enjoy your next summer hang to the fullest!

#4: Condiments

Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Relish

Classic ketchup is made with tomatoes, vinegar, lots of sugar, and artificial flavouring. A tbsp of it contains 4g sugar, and the average person puts at least 2 tbsp on a burger or hot dog, giving you another 8-10g sugar – yikes!  Conventional ketchup is also made with conventional tomatoes, which are on the Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen list of the most chemically-sprayed agricultural products. For a healthier choice, choose organic ketchup and reduce the amount you use to cut back on sugar. Dr. Mason-Wood, ND loves his ketchup so he makes it himself or buys the Simply Naturals Organic ketchup.  The same applies to bbq sauces and other sweet-type sauces and relishes. When using these condiments, choose organic and low-sugar when possible, and limit use as much as possible.


There is a bright side to condiments: mustard! Mustard is relatively low in preservatives and is usually very low in sugar (but check the label). Mustard seed is also a good source of vitamin B1, selenium and magnesium, which are important nutrients for various body functions. Its only downside is that it can contain a high amount of sodium.


It’s especially important to pay attention to mayonnaise because there is so much variation between the different kinds. Regular Hellman’s mayonnaise is mostly fat from canola oil and low-quality eggs, along with preservatives, salt and sugar. Canola oil is becoming a dangerous food the more that its agricultural source, rapeseed, is becoming genetically modified. It can also be partially hydrogenated, but this is now banned because of the well-documented negative health impacts from hydrogenation. A good alternative to regular mayo is a version made with avocado oil, cage-free eggs and honey instead of sugar.

#5 Toppings

It’s hard to go wrong here because they’re vegetables, right? There are always options that can make your choices healthier.


Iceberg lettuce, for example, while being a lettuce is just basically water: not a lot of nutrients or vitamins. Swap this out for Boston lettuce, romaine or even leafy kale and you’ll get B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals with your meal.


Tomatoes are generally great to add, but make sure they are organic because they are in the top 12 foods most heavily sprayed with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group, one sample of conventional tomatoes contained 15 different pesticides and their harmful breakdown products. Also something to think about: have you ever considered if you have a food sensitivity to nightshades? This is a family of vegetables that include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes, and for some people these foods can cause inflammation and exacerbate conditions like arthritis, skin conditions, autoimmune conditions, and even mental health concerns. A good way to test for this is by doing an elimination diet or food sensitivity testing with your Naturopathic Doctor.


Sauerkraut is generally a healthy food traditionally consisting of fermented cabbage, other vegetables, and salt. This means it is a live food with gut-healthy bacteria that will support your bacterial microbiota. But did you know that the grocery-store types that are sealed or canned are actually devoid of fermented bacteria? This is because they’re eliminated in the canning/processing. You can find a good, healthy, natural version at the Italian Centre locations in Edmonton.

#6: Drinks

Often at BBQs there are all sorts of sugary drinks, especially when there are kids around. Keep an eye out for pops and sodas with sugar, caffeine and artificial colours and flavours and carbonated drinks. Opt for water instead, or diluted juices or cooled herbal teas. Try an iced peppermint tea or iced hibiscus tea- refreshing, delicious and good for you! The reason that carbonated drinks (including water) are to be kept to a minimum and best avoided is that regular consumption contributes to osteoporosis.

#7: Socialize and run around

Don’t forget that the point of barbecues is to get together and enjoy summer. The guidelines of the most widely recommended diet, called the Mediterranean diet, has a whole section that recommends sharing meals and socializing with others. Lowering stress and increasing face-to-face contact with other humans actually changes the way we digest and metabolize food. So maybe once you’ve done your best with your food choices, let yourself relax and enjoy being with others. Let yourself make some Vitamin D naturally by running around in the sun without lathering yourself up in sun screen.

Here’s to a happy summer!


  1. Nutritional info on ketchup
  2. Bad condiments
  3. Canola oil 
  4. Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen 
  5. Sauerkraut
  6. Mediterranean diet