By Shauna Roberts
Time for pomegranates, another fall gem. Pomegranate is an old French word meaning, "seeded apple". Full of crimson colored seeds, they have a sweet and sour flavor that is juicy, fun and interesting. They contain manganese which is needed for strong bones and also potassium which may help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Pomegranates also contain an abundance of ellagic acid which may work with other antioxidants to protect one from environmental toxins. Catechins found in pomegranates peels may defend against cancer and anthocyanins that protect against free radical cell damage are also found in this fruit.
You can offer pomegranates so they can be torn apart, or if you don't want the potential mess, just mix some of the seeds into the bird’s daily meal. Watch out though – the color is intense and can stain the carpet and walls! I hope that you and your parrots enjoy the abundance of this fall’s harvest of nutritious, delectable and colorful fruits and vegetables. Bon appetit!
"Antioxidants in pomegranates include polyphenols, such as tannins and anthocyanins. In fact, pomegranates may have even more antioxidant power than cranberry juice or green tea, Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN" from WebMD
Side note: a reminder to continue to be wary of advertised health claims of “health” food products:
Pomegranate Juice Claims Ruled Deceptive, But Controversy Continues
In a split decision on a 2010 complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, an administrative law judge ruled that the product has not been proven to treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction. While upholding the FTC's false-advertising complaint, however, the judge sided with POM in denying the agency's demand that the juice company seek prior approval of any future advertising health claims.
If you think of cranberries as strictly Thanksgiving fare, you may be missing out on some unique health benefits. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD at Tuft's HRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, "The profile of cranberries' biologically active constituents is distinct from that of other berry fruit."
"Daily consumption of a variety of fruit and other foods is necessary to achieve a healthy dietary pattern, meet recommendations for micronutrient intake, and promote the intake of a diversity of phytochemicals," the review notes. Berry fruits can play an important role in that mix of dietary fruits. Cranberries, due to having compounds called polyphenols are a good addition.
Of the fruits polyphenol compounds they have high levels of anthocyanins, which contribute to their bright red color. Cranberries are especially tart and astringent. A way to sweeten them up is to include another sweeter fruit but we also don't know exactly how something may taste to a parrot and many wild species have been seen eating very tart fruits in the wild.
Canberries are probably best known for their benefits against urinary tract infections (UTIs) in humans.
Several studies and two meta-analyses have supported the effectiveness of this long-standing folk remedy. It's speculated that cranberry compounds might interfere with how bacteria adhere to the urinary tract, Blumberg says, and perhaps also by modifying the gut microbiota to contain fewer that cause UTIs, though this has yet to be tested in a clinical trial. But other studies have failed to find a link between cranberry intake and reduced UTI recurrence.
This is a reminder of the complexity of studies in relation between cranberry consumption and health results. This research may be affected by the wide variation of those with infections, age, health, gender, activity etc. There can also be poor compliance such as high dropout rates of those participating in studies.
Cranberries may also have possible health benefits for cardiovascular health. Here are some mentioned by Blumberg:
- Reducing bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol
- Combating oxidative stress, which contributes to atherosclerosis
- Decreasing inflammation and concentrations of inflammatory compounds
- Improving the function of the lining of blood vessels and increasing levels of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels
- Reducing arterial stiffness.
Even thought cranberries my be great it's important not to forget other berries, fruits, vegetables, not concentrating on only one food but including it some days as “part” of the dietary balance providing each day.
Ellagic acid, pomegranate and prostate cancer — a mini review
In vitro antiproliferative, apoptotic and antioxidant activities of punicalagin, ellagic acid and a total pomegranate tannin extract are enhanced in combination with other polyphenols as found in pomegranate juice
Evaluation of antioxidant properties of pomegranate peel extract in comparison with pomegranate pulp extract
Pressurised water extraction of polyphenols from pomegranate peels
Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf020728u Oxygen Radical Absorbing Capacity of Phenolics in Blueberries, Cranberries, Chokeberries, and Lingonberries
Evidences of the cardioprotective potential of fruits: The case of cranberries