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Pomegranate (Punica granatum
), a small deciduous tree that grows up to 33ft tall, is thought to have originated in Persia and Northern India. Categorized as a berry, pomegranate fruit is round and 2-5 inches in diameter, with a thick, tough, brown-yellow to deep red outer skin encasing hundreds of arils, or seed pods. These arils are sections of sweet, juicy, ruby red pulp surrounding a seed, and they are separated by a white-cream, spongy tissue. Pomegranates are popular for their juice, which is widely distributed throughout the world.
Pomegranate’s ruby red color is a result of its rich content of anthocyanins. It also contains abundant ellagitannin compounds such as granatin B and punicalagin, as well as punicic acid. The fruit is a very good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, and a good source of calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin C and K, and B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folates, pyridoxine, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.*