Anar (is the) Key

Perhaps Uncle “all things desi are good for your health” was right. Turmeric may prevent Alzheimer’s. Mangosteens may combat bird flu. Ice in your soda may be bad for you. And now it turns out that pomegranate juice may reduce the risk of heart disease and even fight off prostate cancer.

Seeds of life?

Although Persephone’s consumption of pomegranate may have consigned her to the land of the dead, it looks like the fruit may have the opposite effect on us:

Scientists in Israel have shown that drinking a daily glass of the fruit’s juice can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Pomegranate juice contains the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other juices, red wine and green tea,” said Professor Michael Aviram, who led the team. [Link]

Drinking a daily eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice can significantly slow the progress of prostate cancer, a study suggests. Researchers say the effect may be so large that it may help older men outlive the disease. Pomegranates contain a cocktail of chemicals which minimise cell damage, and potentially kill off cancer cells. [Link]

No word on whether cooking with anardana has a similar effect. Of course, you know where the best anardana in the world comes from, don’t you?

Pomegranate seeds are sometimes used as a spice, known as anardana … The seeds of the wild pomegranate daru from the Himalayas is considered the highest quality source for this spice. [Link]





Other fun pomegranate facts:

  • “One pomegranate delivers 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement.”
  • “Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. For this reason and others many Jews eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah.”
  • “Grenada, an island nation off the coast of South America, was named after the Spanish and French word for ‘pomegranate’.”
  • “The pomegranate also gave its name to the hand grenade from its shape and size (and the resemblance of a pomegranate’s seeds to a grenade’s fragments), and to the garnet from its colour. In many languages (including Bulgarian, Spanish, French, and Hebrew) the words are exactly the same.” [Link]

19 thoughts on “Anar (is the) Key

  1. i’ve recommended it to some prostate cancer patients that i’ve seen, and it’s decreased their psa’s somewhat.. they have also received the normal treatments for their cancer (xrt, surgery, hormone ablation, brachytherapy, etc…)… it works (i believe, but will stand by it with harder data to ‘prove it’)… pomegranates are the little ruby jewels whose secrets are just becoming more visible to the western world… i just wish it was easier to peel but i guess that is what moms are for :)….

  2. When you consider how bad upper class desi heart health is, maybe everbody in desilandia should drink a glass:

    In several human clinical trials, the juice of the pomegranate has been found effective in reducing several heart risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and heart disease. Tannins have been identified as the primary components responsible for the reduction of oxidative states which lead to these risk factors. [Link]
  3. Anar is one of my favorite fruit, after lichee and Mango. I think peeling is the fun part. I am hooked on drinking the pure juice from any Organic Store. It’s supposed to be really good for your health. It works.

  4. In a lively folk song I once heard, the beloved’s teeth were compared to the pomegrenate (daant lage jaise anaar). It was puzzling at first to hear an ode to red teeth until I realized that the reference was to the perfect and evenly shaped, glistening seeds. A luscious fruit indeed.

  5. mmmmm…..pomegranate juice (Ahem).

    I remember Dr. Oz on Oprah was on about the perks of pomegranate juice not too long ago.

  6. Come on Ennis, this is old news. My father in law has been stocking up on pomegranate juice since last year.

  7. It’s finally being made a big deal in the US what desis have always known. The Pom Wonderful campaign has been hugely successful. The stuff is really sweet and tart so I end up diluting it. But you can throw pomegranates into a good summer salad with beats, pineapple, carrots, cucumber and walnuts. Yummmy 🙂

  8. look at the american chutzpah. you guys want the cake and eat it too. we would be happy if we get a withered anar in the boonies out here. seriously though, the quality of fruit you get in the US is way better than what we get here – hats off to your transportation network.

    Personally, I dont believe in power drinks. I’d eat one fruit and enjoy it rather than expect the fountain of youth by inhaling a pureed bushel. I drank that concentrated pom thing and gagged… the people who like that must also like the wheat grass stuff … i was belching sour bubbles for an hour after that… i have an image in my mind of the person who likes this stuff – 60+ male, has hair implants, probably dyes, drives a muscle car, leaves top two buttons on his shirt unbutoned to show off grey matted hair, probably takes viagra, has a loud booming voice, tells racy jokes to his daughter’s friends and has had penile enlargeent, or maybe calf implants.

  9. the best anardana comes from the himalayas huh? oh come on man…we know u edited that wikipedia entry to say that and then linked it here on sepia 😉 – ennis is lying i tell ya…tis a conspiRACY i say 🙂

  10. Pomegranate is love. It looks really pretty in fruit salads, it has a wealth of nutrients, it’s juice is just sweet enough and just tart enough and, best of all, it’s hella fun to break apart and eat straight up. Just watch out for the squirting juice because it will NEVER come out. Also, it’s not quite desi (kinda in the vicinity- Middle East), but muhammara is divine!

  11. “Anarkali, Salim ki mohabbat tumhe marne nahin degi aur hum tumhe jeene nahin denge……”

    (Translation for the non-Hindi speakers: Anarkali, Salim’s love will not let you die and I will not let you live).

    I couldn’t think of anything else to say in relation to pomegranites 😉

  12. Pomegranate juice from Iran (available in Tetrapaks in many desi grocery stores) or Trader Joe’s is better than the overpriced POM stuff. It’s great in martinis (vodka + tsp lemon juice + half tsp sugar + dash Triple Sec + two oz pom juice). Also used a lot in Iranian cooking, especially the divine fesenjoon or lamb rummaniya. But my favourite form is still, of course, anar dana scattered on chaat with ginger juliennes in Delhi. Or anardana in aloo ki tikki. Mmmmm…..

  13. Come on Ennis, this is old news. My father in law has been stocking up on pomegranate juice since last year.

    Sonia, the news about the heart benefit is a year old. The news about the prostate cancer benefit I just read 2 days ago in the BBC.

  14. Badmash,

    Seen it ? Man, I own it on DVD !

    Some of the re-colourised segments obviously look a little artificial, but others are superb — eg. close-ups of Madhubala during the song “Mohe Panghat Pe” (along with her vibrantly coloured clothes) — remember the first time you saw that ? — along with the detail on Dilip Kumar’s embroidered clothes and some of the jewellery worn by the female characters, the “feather brushing the face” segment with Madhubala and Dilip Kumar (with Tan Sen’s singing as the backing soundtrack), etc etc.

    Mughal-e-Azam is probably my favourite Hindi film of all time. Not suprising, considering some of my Mughal/Rajput-themed 55s, eh 😉

  15. I agree – colour did bring out another dimension to the movie… but there’s just something about Madhubala ni b&w (sigh!)

  16. Trick to peel an anaar. I am surprised I didn’t know this or think of this.. until I saw a Juice walla in daryaganj doing it.

    Cut it in half along the equator. Make a few 1″ cuts perpendicular to the circular half, but dont cut deeper. Turn it upside down holding it in hand over a salad bowl. Hit it hard with a heavy object (Laddle or belan/pin roller etc.. ) and the seeds will start to fall. Takes sometime to get all of em out.