Loving the BITE: Ultimate Pomegranate Crunch Smoothie
When it’s not quite the Holidays, it’s not quite Winter, but it seems less and less like Fall, what Season it is? Anyone? Well, to me, it’s none other than pomegranate season (I bet you didn’t see that one coming)!
Of course, a food would have to be extra special to have its own season…and pomegranate fits the bill. This week, let’s go beyond pomegranate juice, and eat the whole seeds in a delicious, crunchy smoothie. While not everyone prefers crunch in their smoothie, if you can embrace it, you’ll get more of the benefits from a whole food than if you only chose juice (it’s similar to raspberry seed crunch).
Our smoothie’s great for recovery or breakfast. While pomegranates are only available in-season September through December, they hold their own and an entire Season in my mind.
Recipe of the week: Pomegranate Crunch Smoothie
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt OR milk of choice + 1/2 scoop protein powder
- 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 banana (3″ total)
- 1 small beet (2″ diameter), peeled or unpeeled
- 1 cup spinach leaves, beet greens, or kale
- 1 Tbsp cocoa nibs (optional) OR 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add water and/or ice if needed for desired consistency. Blend well. Can freeze for up to 6 months or refrigerate for 48 hours. Enjoy!
Why’s a pomegranate worth all the trouble of getting out the seeds? It just happens to be a Super Food with high amount of antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber.
Hmmm. Cyclists need antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber. In fact, pomegranates may just help you stay on your bike and off the sick-bed. Research has correlated it with potentially reducing the risk of:
- Common Cold
- Heart disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rhinovirus infection
- Oxidative Stress
- Dental caries
First, your cardiovascular system. It takes free radicals to oxidize LDL cholesterol. Once oxidized, LDL cholesterol can enter the cell wall of an artery and form a dangerous plague. No oxidation, no plaque. In one study performed in 2000, daily consumption of pomegranate juice by healthy men increased antioxidant levels; decreasing their LDL cholesterol oxidation by 90%! What’s more, two weeks of pomegranate juice has also been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure.
Then, nasty bacteria and viruses. Pomegranates’ antimicrobial properties can help your teeth fight bacteria and your body fight viral infections.
Lastly, the intestines, colon, and for all our male cyclists, the prostate. Mice studies have shown that metabolites of pomegranate juice tannins localize specifically in the prostate gland, colon, and intestinal tissues. This has led researchers to hypothesize the benefits of pomegranate juice and begin studying its effects specifically in these organs. Remember, if your intestines aren’t healthy, your whole body isn’t healthy since they are the gateway for most all nutrients to enter the rest of the body. Antioxidants can’t fight free radicals if they can’t get in.
While it’s not hard to convince you of the health benefits, still some might find this fruit more intimidating than a 5000-foot-elevation-gain road ride! And, they are such a mess!
To buy: The pomegranates skin gives a clue to a ripe fruit. It should be tough, unbroken, and have its distinctive reddish color. When tapped, one should hear a metallic sound.
Blend all ingredients in a blender. If using as a recovery after hard ride, add 5 grams l-glutamine. Enjoy!
To get those delicious seeds out:
- Cut off the crown at the end
- Lightly score the rind in several places around all the way around the fruit
- Immerse it in a bowl of water for 5 minutes
- Hold the fruit under the water and break it apart, separating the seeds from the membrane. The seeds will sink while the membrane floats.
- Skim off and discard the membrane and rind (really, you’ll impress people with this one).
- Pour the seeds into the colander, drain and pat dry. A medium pomegranate provides approximately ¾ cup of seeds.
- Eat as a snack or as part of a meal. For upcoming Holiday dinners and parties, simply set a bowl of pomegranate seeds out on the table with a serving spoon.
- Roll a pomegranate on a hard surface. Press down and squeeze repeatedly until soft.
- Puncture the skin and bore a hole into the fruit.
- Simply cut it open or even stick a straw in it! A medium pomegranate should yield approximately ½ cup of juice.
To make life a little easier: Some stores are now offering frozen pomegranate seeds, no cutting, peeling or fetching the seeds necessary. If you live near own, many Trader Joe’s and Costco carry frozen pomegranate seeds.
Don’t wait…Pomegranates are here for a limited time only! The pomegranate season lasts from September through December. Buy them now, and you can actually store them in your refrigerator for up to 6 months without shrinking or spoiling. And, you’re in luck: the fruit improves with storage.
It’s time to add some crunch to your smoothie and pomegranate seeds + cocoa nibs are the ultimate in crunchy smoothies. This one will give you a good jump-start of energy for the day or help your muscles recovery after a hard ride.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.