I suffer from high blood pressure. I’m not overweight, I exercise, and I eat an extremely healthy diet. However, there was a time when at a completely restful position, my blood pressure could exceed 160/90.
While pregnant with Scott, my blood pressure issues started, and they never went away. My bp spiked at 29 weeks with him, and at 30 weeks they did an emergency c-section. I was in ICU for 3 days after that, trying to get it back down. It stayed at a steady high afterward.
While flying from somewhere to somewhere, Gregg read an article in Men’s Health magazine that said that if you drank an ounce of pomegranate juice a day, your blood pressure should drop significantly — like by 20 points drop. So, after looking into the medical reasons for that, and reading how the Israeli army makes pomegranate juice part of their daily regimen, we decided to see what it could do for me. Because, it couldn’t hurt, right?
My blood pressure dropped so rapidly that for days I ran into walls. I dropped things. My ears rang. Until I got used to the change in pressure, it impacted everything. Once I got used to it, everything was put on an even keel. Then I got pregnant with Jeb.
I went from a positive blood test with my general practitioner to a high risk obstetrician. There was no pass Go and collect a regular OB blessing. My history of near death was all the insurance company needed for a referral.
Gregg and I had a long introductory visit with this doctor. He came HIGHLY recommended, and we liked him on sight. He was a Christian, had taught in the medical school here, was very hands-on, and had an amazing staff with an office filled with up to the minute technology. I saw him every week for 36 weeks and miss him still. We came to find out, during that long first consultation, that his father grows pomegranates in South Carolina, and he was THRILLED that I drank pomegranate juice daily as part of my blood pressure fight, and that it had been successful for me. He thoroughly recommended that I continue with it.
With pomegranate juice daily, and blood pressure medicine gradually added to my life, we made it to 36 weeks before they had to do an emergency c-section on Jeb. Praise God.
My blood pressure still has never really evened out, so I still regularly consume pomegranate juice. I drink a smoothie every day, and put an ounce of the juice in that. So far, it’s working good for me. I just took it, as I write this post, and it’s 138/84. Those of you who know me know that’s a very good bp for me.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be contacted by Pom Wonderful about creating some recipes from pomegranate juice. Gregg and I had already been talking about doing a post on what it had done for me personally, and here they were, out of nowhere, sending me samples to use in cooking!
I’ve had a blast doing it, and I really really appreciate the opportunity.
In my research on pomegranate juice in order to create this post, I unearthed some awesome Biblical facts about pomegranates:
The Hebrew word for pomegranate is rimmon. Known in Palestine since earliest times (Numbers 13:23) the pomegranate grew wild in western Asia and northern Africa and was cultivated in Palestine. This beautiful rose-red fruit with its many seeds was a favorite among the Israelites. the abundance of seeds was symbolic of fertility and it was grown both for its tasty fruit and for its beauty in the garden. The juice of the pomegranate was high prized (Song of Solomon 8:2) and it was one of the fruits that grew in the Promised Land (Numbers 13:23). This sweet-tasting fruit was used in many ways. Its juice was enjoyed as a cooling drink and as wine. Symbols of the fruit were embroidered as decorations around the bottom of the high priest’s robe (Exodus 28:33-34) and carved on the pillars of Solomon’s Porch at the temple (1 Kings 7:20).
This is from the Pom Wonderful website:
Our Health Story
For centuries, the pomegranate has been valued as a symbol of health and has been the centerpiece of many traditional folk medicine practices. Learn more about the History & Culture of the pomegranate.
In 1998, POM initiated modern medical research to understand the health benefits of the Wonderful variety of pomegranates. To date, we’ve invested $32 million. This research has involved a number of top scientists from leading universities around the world, including a Nobel Laureate.
So far, 47 total studies, including 14 clinical studies, have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Primary research areas have included prostate, cardiovascular, and erectile function as well as antioxidant composition and safety/bioavailability.
Preliminary results have been encouraging and many additional research studies are in progress. Learn more about POM’s published studies.
There is a wealth of information on the Pom Wonderful website about the health benefits of pomegranate juice. I’d like to put it all here, but it would fill up the page. Instead, I’ll just link you to here. I encourage you to read it.
In the meantime, here is a list of some of the recipes I’ve come up with. I will be adding to this list as time goes on. I hope you enjoy them!
Crockpot Cranberry Pomegranate Turkey Breast
Sparkling Pomegranate Drink
Beefy Black & White Bean Soup
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Awesome! I remember my mom eating them. I never liked them but I do like the juice when added to other juice.
yum! i have to suck up that fact that its REALLY expensive! someday perhaps ill try it. after attacking a pom one night for over an hour my sister and i decided it must take a LOT of poms to get juice. i completely understand why its so expensive.
In the Vedic (Hindu) system of diet, pomegranates reduce Pitta in the body. Pitta is the subtle energy associated with bile and the heart and blood. More broadly it is represented by fire. It manifests in the mind as charisma but also anger. Pomegranates are cooling, thus balancing to people with a tendency toward a lot of Pitta in their minds and bodies. I just found it interesting that there is a Western medical confirmation of this.
Do you ever get fresh pomegranates? As with all fruit, fresh is much better and more potent than bottled or canned (which tends to just turn to sugar). At Whole Foods, we sold fresh pomegranate seeds for $15/lb. In the prep room when they were cutting and seeding the fruit, the workers would save the juice that was always left in the big stainless steel bowl and drink it! They would often share it with me and it was so good, like Pom Wonderful but way better — thinner, but more intense.
In Abu Dhabi I was delighted by the custom of baba ghanoush being garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds — I had never seen or heard of that before, but it’s apparently what’s done in the Middle East — you should try that (with sprigs of curly parsley).
Thanks for the additional information and the suggestion, Jim.
For my readers who may not know, Jim is my awesome big brother. He and his lovely wife, Alyssa, Just moved to Australia and Gregg and I look forward to visiting them someday soon.
Awesome post, Hallee! Funny how we both had a post on pomegranates. Maybe we need to coordinate in the future!!! My little post was inspired by our morning snack and how beautiful and nutritious the “rubies” are. Your story was amazing. I had pregnancy induced hypertension the last week of my last pregnancy. It was weird because it stayed high for 3 months after Caden was delivered. The doctor wanted to put me on meds but I wanted to try nutritional treatments first. I am glad I did. Thankfully, my blood pressure is back to its normal low. But, it’s good to know that pomegranates help with its regulation. Thanks again for a great post!