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Recipes for Beauty: Pomegranates

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Now that there’s a juice bar on every corner, while every other celebrity publicly extols the virtues of raw-food fasts, we’ve never as a society been more aware that fresh fruits and veggies keep skin healthy and glowing. Registered dietitians (and twin sisters) Tammy and Elysse, known as The Nutrition Twins, have made fresh eating their passion project. In their book The Nutrition Twins‘ Veggie Cure, the duo, who have more than 15 years of experience as dietitians, are especially pumped about the pomegranate—one of the most nutritionally-rich foods of the season.

This ancient wonder food contains lots of antioxidants that help protect skin, hair, and nails from damage by free radicals. Pomegranates are also great for keeping skin hydrated, since they’re about 82% water. The twins explained further in a recent email: “Pomegranates provide almost as much fluid as pure water, yet they also saturate your cells with skin-enhancing nutrients that plump the skin up and make it look youthful.” The fruits also have high concentrations of vitamin C, which tightens and tones skin by boosting collagen production, as well as potassium to help lock in moisture.

Pomegranate seeds are super easy to incorporate into your diet. Whole pomegranates can be tricky to open, but most grocery stores carry fresh seeds in the cut-fruit section. Just toss a handful into a salad or on top of your morning oatmeal. Here are three healthy recipes that incorporate this juicy, antioxidant-rich fruit, including a fruit-forward take on guacamole from Veggie Cure (available now on Amazon and in stores January 2014).

Good for a Party: Holy Fruity Guacamole

1 Haas avocado
1/2 small shallot, minced
1–2 jalapenos, minced
1/2 cup red grapes, cut into quarters
1/3 cup cubed mango
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the avocado and mash it with a fork. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and serve with cut up veggies for a healthy snack. Serves8.

Healthy Side: Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds

recipe from EatingWell

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add wild rice and barley and saute for a few seconds. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the rice and barley are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45–50 minutes. While that’s cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until golden and fragrant, about 2–3 minutes. Mix toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, lemon zest, and parsley into the rice and barley and fluff with a fork. Serves 6.

Antioxidant-Packed Salad: Pomegranate-Spinach Salad

For the salad:
4 slices bacon
4 cups baby spinach
1 tart apple, cut into small bites
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
2 oz. bleu cheese

For the dressing:
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss bacon with the baby spinach, apple, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and bleu cheese in a large bowl. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad, tossing to coat. Serves 4.

Photo: Cathy Scola