Two healthful and delicious fruits to try

Isn’t it amazing how so many of the best-for-you foods are also the tastiest? That’s certainly the case with pomegranates and mulberries. Both of these fruits are found on the Phase 1 food list for the Fast Metabolism Diet, so use them to mix up your fruit choices.

Both of these fruits are extremely rich in resveratrol, ellagic acid and anthocyanin — antioxidant polyphenols that promote a healthy metabolism and help protect your heart. All those antioxidants also help your body resist cell, tissue and organ damage from pollutants — and the rich vitamin C is great for your immune system.

Pomegranates have also been shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation  due to arthritis, protect your cartilage, balance your blood sugar, protect your liver and maybe even help fight some cancers especially those related to hormones.

Mulberries are a little more obscure, so there hasn’t been as much research on them — but since they share so many of the beneficial compounds in pomegranates, it’s a pretty safe bet that they offer many of the same benefits. Mulberries look a bit like an elongated blackberry, but they grow on trees instead of thorned bushes.

Finding seasonal fruit

Fresh mulberries are in season from late June to September, when you’ll find them at farmer’s markets. Also, mulberry trees are often used as a decorative species — so it’s surprisingly easy to find and pick your own. (Just make absolutely sure that what you’re picking really is a mulberry!)

The easiest way to tell if mulberries are ripe is also the best way to harvest them. Lay a clean cloth on the ground beneath the tree and give a branch a shake. The ripe berries will fall down onto the cloth — it’s just that easy.

There are three species of mulberries out there. Pair them with pomegranates, and you can enjoy in-season fruits from early summer through mid-winter. Here’s how the usual growing seasons stack up:

June and July: White and red mulberries

August and September: Black mulberries

October through January: Pomegranates

How to get the seeds out of a pomegranate

Even though mulberries and pomegranates have a lot in common medicinally, they couldn’t be more different in terms of eating. Mulberries are very easy to eat — just watch out for the fibrous stems. Pomegranates, on the other hand, run contrary to what you do with most fruit. Instead of keeping the flesh and discarding the seeds, you keep the sweet-tart-tangy seeds and throw out the bitter-tasting flesh.

Good news! Getting the seeds out of a pomegranate is a lot easier than it looks. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Fill a bowl with water. Cut the pomegranate in half and place both halves in the water, cut sides facing down.
  2. Bend each half flat, exposing the seeds and pith. Pull the seeds and pith loose in the water.
  3. The white pith will float to the top. Scoop it out, discard it, and drain the seeds. Easy! Eat the seeds (which are called arils) on their own as a snack, add them to your oatmeal, or sprinkle them on a salad as a tangy treat.

Interactions to look out for

Remember, food is medicine — so you should consult your doctor if you regularly consume large amounts of a food that has the same effect as any medications you’re taking. In the case of pomegranates and mulberries, that includes meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and possibly blood-thinners like warfarin, AKA coumadin. Please check with your doctor if you’re taking any of those.