Kabul: This ancient land is telling the world that it has a trendy, new replacement for its dreaded poppy crop: sweet, juicy pomegranates.

The country will stamp a logo on all boxes of the pomegranate for export: a drawing of the sliced, red fruit with seeds spilling out and a label that announces, “Anar, Afghan Pomegranate”. Anar is the word for pomegranate in various regional languages.

Afghanistan officials hope the Western-style sales savvy will raise the pomegranate’s cachet and provide its farmers with a lucrative alternative to growing opium poppies.

It’s the latest step in a $12 million (Dh44.13 million), US-funded initiative to modernise and expand Afghanistan’s pomegranate industry, which has long depended on domestic sales and small-scale exports to nearby countries. Even these exports have been severely hit by years of border fighting.

Even though the Afghan pomegranate is considered one of the best in the world, it has been very much a local delicacy. The fruit is about the size of an apple, with a thick, reddish skin and hundreds of seeds embedded in tough, white pulp. This time of year, the red seed casings are consumed everywhere in Kabul — as juice, spooned straight from the fruit, or piled on a tray and sold by the scoop to picnickers in parks.

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Health Benefits
POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is the only pomegranate juice backed by $25 million in medical research. Actually, we are the only pomegranate juice backed by any medical research at all.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the role of pomegranates in promoting heart health, prostate health, and proper erectile function. But while these results are promising, keep in mind that all of the research has been done on POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. Our juice comes from a unique pomegranate variety (the Wonderful), which is grown in a unique location (California), and which is juiced with proprietary technology (ours!). No other pomegranate juice can claim these distinctions, and no other brand has been clinically tested.

So what are the medical results on POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice?
A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed improved blood flow to the heart in patients drinking 8oz. daily of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice for 3 months. Researchers studied a total of 45 patients with coronary heart disease who had reduced blood flow to the heart. Patients drinking POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice experienced a 17% improvement in blood flow, compared to a 18% worsening in patients drinking a placebo...Read more

One pilot study on 19 patients with atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) at the Technion Institute in Israel demonstrated a reduction in arterial plaque growth. After one year, arterial plaque decreased 30% for those patients who consumed 8oz of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice daily, compared to a 9% worsening for patients who drank a placebo. ..Read more.

Prostate Health
An initial UCLA medical study, published by The American Association for Cancer Research, found hopeful results for prostate health. The study tested 45 men with recurrent prostate cancer who drank 8 oz. of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice daily for two years. Post-prostate surgery PSA doubling time increased from 15 to 54 months. PSA is a protein marker for prostate cancer, and slower PSA doubling time indicates slower disease progression.

Erectile Function
A pilot study released in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2007 examined 61 male subjects with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Compared to participants taking a placebo, those men drinking 8oz. of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice daily for four weeks were 50% more likely to experience improved erections.

Antioxidant Superpower
Numerous independent laboratory tests have shown that POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice has superior antioxidant content, ounce-for-ounce, compared to other juices and beverages...Read more