November is National Pomegranate Month

December 1, 2011

Today is the last day of National Pomegranate Month! Celebrate with a fresh one, or add its juice to recipes. If you have trouble removing the seeds, try opening it underwater or smacking it with a wooden spoon.

All About Pomegranates

This seed-filled fruit has had ritual or mystical significance in many cultures. To the ancient Egyptians, pomegranates were a symbol of prosperity; the ancient Greeks believed it to be the fruit of the dead. People in China, India, and Persia saw its many seeds as a promise of fertility. Today, we enjoy its health benefits. Dark-colored fruits are stuffed with antioxidants, organic compounds that fight aging at a cellular level. Even though we need oxygen to breathe, it causes damage – if you’ve ever seen rusted metal, you’ve seen oxidation at work. Antioxidants are naturally occurring forms of Vitamins A, C, and E.

Pomegranates aren’t the only dark fruits that have these nutritive superpowers. Blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, and black raspberries are usually easy to find at your local grocery store. More exotic fruits you might need to search harder for are açai berries, goji berries (also called wolfberries), and maqui berries. You can find powders, pills, and smoothie mixes containing one or several of these fruits, but it’s best to eat the fruit itself or drink fruit juice. Look for juice blends without added sugar, or that are sweetened only by other juices, like apple or pear.

The Dark Side: How Pomegranates and Other Dark Fruits Can Stain Teeth

There is a downside to the deep hues of these super-fruits. These dark fruits can stain clothing and tablecloths, so be careful when eating them or drinking their juice. You may have heard, anything that stains a white tablecloth can stain teeth, and it’s usually true. The dark colors in these fruits come from chromogens, pigment-bearing molecules. The tart or astringent tastes come from tannins. When you eat these fruits or drink their juice, the acid in them temporarily softens tooth enamel. The tannins are then able to sink below the surface and, along with the chromogens, bind to teeth. This is why wine can contribute to tooth discoloration. To avoid staining, rinse well with water after enjoying dark fruits. Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth. The softened enamel can be damaged by brushing, and waiting gives your saliva time to neutralize the acid and re-harden the enamel.

December is just around the corner, and time is running out to use your dental insurance benefits. Call Lake Orion Family Dentistry today at 248-693-6213 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenfield. We serve families in Oxford, Auburn Hills, Independence Charter Township, and the communities surrounding Lake Orion.

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