Pomegranates are proof that you shouldn't judge a fruit by its cover. They're not the most appetising fruit in the bowl, and don't even offer edible flesh - but they are packed with sweet seeds, which are extremely good for you.

In fact, they're often hailed as one of the healthiest fruits around, which is why it's been used as medicine for thousands of years.

"Pomegranates provide vitamin C, fibre and polyphenols - plant compounds which may be linked with reduced heart disease and cancer," says dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton. "However, much of the evidence on pomegranates is in animals or small groups of people, so we still don't know whether pomegranates really have clinical effects.

"But this is no reason to avoid eating them, as pomegranates are great on their own or sprinkled on a salad or breakfast cereal. They are naturally sweet too, and could help people to reduce their added sugar intake."

Here are 12 reasons to include pomegranate in your diet...

1. There are around 600 seeds, or arils, in one pomegranate, and they're packed with vitamin C - the seeds from just one fruit provide about 40% of your daily vitamin C requirement.

2. Pomegranates are also full of fibre, protein, vitamins K, folate and potassium.

3. The fruit - classed as a berry - is rich in the phenol antioxidant ellagic acid, which is thought to have anti-cancer properties, although these have not yet been proven.

4. The polyphenols found in pomegranate extract have been found to reduce inflammation, which can help lower the risk of many chronic diseases including Alzheimer's, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

5. Pomegranate's anti-inflammatory agents are also thought to help the skin resist cell damage caused by UVA and UVB rays.

6. Flavonols found in pomegranates are thought to help block the inflammation that contributes to the destruction of cartilage.

7. A study by the University of Auvergne in France last year found pomegranate strengthened bones and helped prevent osteoporosis - although the study was only done on mice.

8. Drinking a daily glass of pomegranate juice significantly slowed the progress of prostate cancer for men in whom the disease recurred, according to a 2006 University of California study.

9. Evidence suggests that drinking pomegranate juice daily may help lower blood pressure.

10. A 2004 Israeli study on patients with narrowing of the arteries found a daily glass of pomegranate juice over three years reduced the damage caused by cholesterol in the artery by almost half, and also cut cholesterol build-up.

11. A 2005 American study on patients with coronary heart disease found a daily glass of pomegranate juice over three months resulted in improved blood flow to the heart and a lower risk of heart attack.

12. Studies suggest drinking pomegranate juice every day helps improve performance in learning and memory tasks.


:: British Strawberries

In season throughout summer, strawberries are truly one of nature's finest candies. The sweetness of a perfectly ripe, juicy strawb is hard to beat - plus, as well as being packed full of vitamin C (just seven strawberries provides the recommended daily amount), they're one of those foods that always feel like a treat.

:: Perfect peaches

Ah, the humble peach. Along with subtle sweetness and that sublime juicy texture, peaches are a fab source of antioxidants to help support your immune function, and also contain iron and potassium. They'll top up your dietary fibre levels too.

:: Zespri Sungold kiwifruit

If you've never tried a Sungold kiwi, look out for them in supermarkets through summer. One of the most vitamin C-loaded fruits you can find, they're also delicious; super sweet and soft, without the tartness you sometimes get with green kiwis (though those are great too!).


:: Andy Welch taps up a mouse and keyboard designed to minimise RSI


A pen-shaped computer mouse aimed at heavy mouse users worried about developing, or in the early stages of developing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), and s mall, compact keyboard designed to help users beat the condition - which can be common in people who work at a computer for long periods.


When is a mouse not a mouse? When it's a Penclic B3, which is shaped more like a pen than a traditional pointing tool. The idea is to help stave off RSI by altering the grip and button position. It does take a bit of getting used to, and, for the first few days, I found it a little clumsy and trickier to use than a traditional mouse. Once mastered though, I can see how the altered positioning could be beneficial. Being on the compact side, the Pencilic Mini Keyboard is designed to make RSI due to typing less likely. However, it wasn't great with my sausage fingers, resulting in far more typos than usual! The best thing about it is that it's wireless, which gives you more flexibility in terms of where and how you use it - and you can position yourself comfortably a decent distance away from your computer. Handy for travel too.

:: B3 Pencilic Mouse B3 Bluetooth, £79.98, Pencilic Mini Keyboard K2 (Wireless), £54.98 ( Posturite.co.uk)


:: Over a third of UK adults can't touch their toes

Hands up if you've ever bemoaned the fact that you're simply not as flexible as you used to be?

Tried doing anything about it? While being 'too' flexible is often more of a problem for many than being a tad on the stiff side, having a healthy degree of flexibility can help ward off aches and strains, manage stress, keep us active and balance out sedentary lifestyles (important if you work at a desk all day). Touching your toes is often used as a measure of flexibility, but according to new research by women's sportswear retailer Sweaty Betty, more than a third (38%) of UK adults struggle to do so. And those who are able to touch their toes are mostly people who do regular exercise. Plus, certain exercises were linked with higher rates of flexibility, with yoga coming out tops (no surprises there!). For people who do yoga every week, 87% can touch their toes.

The same figure was found for those who do regular aerobics, followed by 85% for those who run regularly, 80% for those who do dancing, and 79% for people who cycle regularly. Alexia Aronsten, senior people and development manager at Sweaty Betty, also a qualified yoga instructor, says: "Many of us may neglect our flexibility in favour of toning or endurance, for example. Although these aspects of fitness are important, we must also remember to keep our flexibility in check. The best way to do this is to incorporate stretches into your regular workout, consider exercises such as yoga or dance that gently improve flexibility - the results won't be immediate but with time it will be worth it." To find out more, visit www.sweatybetty.com/blog/how-to-improve-flexibility/