Easy way for Cyclists to improve their fitness

Improve your Cycling, Eat a Pomegranate

Enjoy the Andalucian Mediterranean Diet and the Noble Pomegranate

Looking for a way to give your cycling and fitness performance a boost? Eat a pomegranate. Studies have shown that this Mediterranean fruit helps lower blood pressure, decrease some types of heart disease and are superb anti-inflammatories. To top it off for athletes, this amazing fruit consists of three times as many antioxidants as both wine or green tea. 

For active people where osteoarthritis is a fear, the fruit has also been shown to slow cartilage deterioration and help with type 2 diabetes.  For those cyclists who are worried about time in the saddle harming their... ahem.. performance, good news, amazingly this fruit is also known to be very helpful in erectile dysfunction.

Granada's symbol, the PomegranateA study from the National Institute of Health in America also supplies the information that patients who were given pomegranate juice had a better chance in fighting infections.

So make this super food part of your diet and get going on that bike knowing you are a healthy fitter person!
Pomegranates, the symbol of Granada

Super food for cyclists and the Gods

Ancient Egypt gods presided with them and their Kings were buried with them for the afterlife

Some believe this to be the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve fame.
Buddha favoured one that was gifted by an elderly woman, Greeks and Persians both believed they were a symbol of life and fertility.

Manhole cover with Pomegranate motifGreeks believed it was planted by the Goddesses of love, Aphrodite (or Venus in Roman mythology) on Cypress and Hera, the wife of Zeus, is often portrayed holding one representing autumn harvests and regeneration.

Mentioned in the Qur’an, Mohammed, the Prophet, also advised pregnant women to eat them, for they were a symbol of beauty and thus, they would have gorgeous children.
This is the royal pedigree of the Pomegranate.  A majestic looking fruit in all ways, from its thick red hide and fanciful corona top, to its resplendent crimson glistening seeds on the inside, it surely is the fruit of nobles.

Where do Pomegranates grow?

Pomegranates, a super food for athletes

A pomegranate tree in Granada

Cultivated for centuries in the whole of the Mediterranean for centuries, Afghanistan is actually known as the country of it.  

The Punica granatum, (the name derives from latin, pōmum apple and grānātum “seeded.”) has always been associated with fertility, due to its copious seeds which spill from it once broken open and the love of its taste and the desire to feature it in dishes around the world has seen it commercially cultivated through Malaysia, the East Indies, North America (introduced by the Spanish in the 17th century) and even parts of Africa.

Southern Spain's obsession with Pomegranates

pomegranate fruit found in Granada, Spain
Luckily we are blessed by the Gods, and live in the land of Pomegranate, which is what Granada Province, and city was originally named by the Moorish community for, “Granata” (the Spanish word for the fruit, being a derivative of Granada) due to its popular cultivation by them.  They also developed “Morocco Leather” by using the ruby skin in the tanning process and Islamic gardens of the mid-11th century A.D. adored them including pomegranate shrubs and various other fruits in them.

Granada's symbol, the Pomegranate, found everywhereWhen the Spanish Reconquest was underway in the 15th century, that hell on wheels, Queen Isabel herself said, “Just like the pomegranate, I will take Andalucía, seed by seed”  and she did.

A fountain with Pomegranate motif in Granada
Her daughter, the last princess to live in the beautiful Alhambra Palace in Granada (and where she considered her home), Catherine of Aragon, took with her to England this love of the fruit and the heraldic symbol of her and Henry 8th was the Twining of and English rose and a pomegranate. Even now if you visit Katherine’s tomb in Peterborough Cathedral, you will see that people place pomegranates on it in commemoration of her Granadino roots.

For a simple fruit, few have such accolades to boast of.

To press the point home how beloved they are, they are found everywhere in this Southern Spanish city from City traffic bollards to souvenir ceramics.

Granada's symbol, the PomegranateGrowing a Pomegranate in your own garden

For the keen horticulturalist, the plant prefers alkaline soil, so southern Spain has that in abundance.  Upon planting, really give them a good soak until established, however afterwards, they can withstand long periods without moisture.  They may bear fruit in one year after planting but normally, you might wait until 2-3 years. The blooms, very pretty and resembling fuchsias, give you a hint that fruit will be arriving in 6 months.

The Mediterranean Diet is perfect for cyclists

It is also a perfect fruit Cholesterol free, fat free, very low sodium and a superb source of Vitamin C.  Added to salads or as a garnish on meat, it makes a gorgeous and colourful addition to a elevate a meal. 

Here is a lovely Mediterranean dish and a gorgeous take on the simple Spanish ensalada mixta:

Recipe for Pomegranate Andalucian Salad

Serves 4-6
300g mozzarella slices
1–2 oranges, segmented (blood oranges if possible)
1 bunch of basil ripped up or arugula
Seeds from 2 pomegranates

*The addition of Bonita tuna from Spain’s north coast if you like the salty taste, to lay over the salad makes it a real meal

For the dressing
500ml pomegranate juice
200ml orange juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
250ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

 Visit Granada on many of our bike tours and enjoy this amazing city and its culinary treasure. Our guided bike tour, Granada & Sierra Nevada stays 4 nights in this classy town and several others like the Enchanted Andalucia Bike Tour, White Villages of Andalucia Cycling, and Quiet Paths all pass through.

Granada's symbol, the Pomegranate, in Southern Spain


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