Is Cactus Pear Good For You

Although it may be too soon to label prickly pear cactus as a superfood, it can still be included in a balanced diet. It contains lots of fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Prickly pear cactus is in fact well-liked throughout the world, especially in Latin America where it is a native plant.

How many cactus pears are safe to consume each day?

Eat no more than two meals at once each day. Whether or not you eat prickly pears, make sure to drink lots of water (2 liters per day). NB Because prickly pears contain tiny edible seeds, anyone with diverticulitis, colitis, or rohn’s disease should avoid eating them.

What advantages does eating cactus pears offer?

The flat paddles of the Opuntiaficus-indica cactus plant bear prickly pear fruit.

It’s rich in fiber and contains many antioxidant compounds. As a result, it’s believed to aid in a number of conditions, including liver health, blood sugar control, and weight loss. However, further human research is required.

Prickly pear fruit and pads are delicious in many dishes, particularly Mexican food.

Just one thing

Try it out now: To use in a recipe this week, buy a prickly pear fruit (or cactus pads, also known as nopales) from the market. Try hunting for them at a Mexican grocery shop or other establishment that sells unusual fruits if you don’t reside in a region where prickly pears are native.

Are cactus pears sugary foods?

  • The ability of prickly pears to treat diabetes and high blood sugar levels is just one of the many advantages of eating them. Prickly pears may help individuals with Type 2 Diabetes experience fewer side effects, according to tests and study.
  • It has a minimal sugar, starch, and carbohydrate content. As a result, they might be a fantastic complement to your diabetes care routine. In some people, the prickly pear can even lower blood sugar levels by 17 to 46 percent, according to experimental data.
  • Pears with spines are very high in fiber. It gains benefit from pectin, a type of soluble fiber. Incorporating fiber into one’s diabetic diet is essential. The presence of fiber slows down digestion, which controls and prevents any blood sugar spikes that can happen.
  • The same principles apply to pectin. It helps to reduce the cholesterol and glucose levels. The higher absorption of fats and carbohydrates is made possible by the delayed digestion. It is an effective approach to control how quickly the body’s blood glucose levels rise.
  • Eating prickly pears can also improve how well insulin works in the body. These foods increase the sensitivity of the body to insulin. They increase the hormone’s responsiveness, which facilitates optimal sugar absorption and release in the body.
  • Another excellent addition to the diet that does not cause weight gain is prickly pears. Diabetes individuals who maintain their weight effectively maintain their health. Pre-diabetics and people who want to lose weight are frequently advised to eat these pears.
  • Prickly pears are rich in vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are crucial for diabetes and are required for a balanced diet.
  • These fruits’ anti-inflammatory characteristics aid in managing and preventing other symptoms that may be made worse by diabetes. It promotes general health and immunity.

Possibly Effective for…

  • Diabetes. Some persons can have a 17–46% reduction in blood sugar after a single dose of prickly pear cactus. It is unknown, though, if prolonged daily use may reliably lower blood sugar levels. One variety of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia streptacantha) has roasted stems that may help persons with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. However, this species’ raw or unprocessed stems don’t seem to be effective. Other varieties of the prickly pear cactus don’t seem to work either.
  • Hangover. Before consuming alcohol, taking prickly pear cactus may lessen some hangover symptoms the next day. It appears to considerably lessen dry mouth, anorexia, and nausea. Other hangover symptoms including headache, dizziness, diarrhea, or discomfort do not appear to be lessened by it, either.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

  • prostate enlargement Men who have an enlarged prostate frequently feel that their bladder is full and have frequent, severe urogenital urges. Taken orally, powdered prickly pear cactus blossoms may help to lessen these symptoms, according to emerging research.
  • high cholesterol that is inherited (familial hypercholesterolemia). According to preliminary studies, people with hereditary high cholesterol can lower their total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels by ingesting the edible pulp of the prickly pear cactus everyday for four weeks while also following a diet.
  • high cholesterol levels. According to preliminary research, consuming prickly pear cactus edible pulp daily while adhering to a diet can lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol. The level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, does not appear to be impacted.
  • metabolic disorder According to preliminary research, women with metabolic syndrome who take a special supplement comprising dried prickly pear cactus leaves (NeOpuntia) daily for six weeks do not experience any changes in their blood fat levels.
  • Obesity.
  • Colitis.
  • Diarrhea.
  • treating virus-based illnesses
  • other circumstances

To assess the effectiveness of prickly pear cactus for various uses, more data are required.

According to the following scale, the effectiveness of natural medicines is rated by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

When used as food, prickly pear cactus is LIKELY SAFE. When used orally as medication in the right dosages for a brief length of time, the prickly pear cactus’s leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and standardized extracts are POSSIBLY SAFE.

Mild diarrhea, nausea, an increase in the volume and frequency of stools, bloating, and headaches are some of the negative effects that the prickly pear cactus can produce.

Does cactus benefit the kidneys?

Nopal is a big prickly pear cactus that is indigenous to dry regions of South and North America. It is traditionally consumed by Mexicans as food and used medicinally as a laxative, anti-inflammatory, and to treat high blood sugar and alcohol hangovers.

Nopal has a blood sugar-lowering function, but the precise mechanism is unknown, despite the fact that it contains significant levels of soluble fiber and pectin, which may impact how well glucose is absorbed. Although earlier research disputes fiber’s significance in lowering blood glucose levels in animal trials, it does not propose a substitute mechanism. 34 Opuntia extract (1 mg/kg body weight) used for 7 weeks in conjunction with insulin and then Opuntia extract alone allowed blood sugar levels to quickly revert to those of non-diabetic rats. In a recent animal experiment, diabetic rats treated with streptozotocin (STZ) were given liquid and filtered extracts of Opuntia streptacantha to see how they would react. 35 The extracts weren’t able to lower blood sugar levels. But when administered before an OGTT, it had an antihyperglycemic effect, indicating a potential mechanism involving inhibiting hepatic glucose outflow.

A mild to moderately positive effect on people with T2DM has been confirmed by a number of small (N = 732) published clinical trials (all carried out by the same research group) utilizing various forms and doses of Opuntia species.


The broiled stem of Opuntia streptacantha, which was administered as a dose of 100–500 g per day, was the most popular type of nopal utilized in the experiments.

Nopal should not be consumed by those who are nursing, pregnant, or have kidney problems. Bloating in the stomach area, diarrhea, and nausea are possible side effects. In people using antidiabetic drugs, it should be used cautiously (one case report). 40

Is it OK to eat prickly pears raw?

Mexican food features a lot of cacti and their fruits. The broad, flat cactus pads, also known as “nopales,” are a common ingredient in many main dishes in Mexico, including salads, eggs, and other cuisines. The cactus fruit, sometimes known as “prickly pears,” is extremely delicious and can be consumed straight from the plant. They can be mildly sweet or syrupy sweet, depending on the degree of ripeness.


In a 3-month clinical study, cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) fiber was found to encourage weight loss. In vitro studies have shown that cactus fiber binds to dietary fat, reducing absorption, which in turn reduces energy absorption and, eventually, reduces body weight.

Subjects and Methods

For about 45 days, healthy volunteers participated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study for this clinical investigation. Twenty healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to receive 2 tablets of cactus fiber or a placebo with each of their three main meals. During the research period, all subjects received meals (with the exception of washout) in accordance with a predefined meal plan, with fat making up 35% of the daily energy requirement. Both the baseline and treatment periods saw the collection of two 24-hour feces samples for the evaluation of the fat content.

Prickly pears—are they superfoods?

We have a suggestion for one fruit you’ll definitely want to include in your collection the next time you’re wandering past the vividly colored stalls at the weekend farmer’s market: the prickly pear.

It’s actually quite difficult to find a reason not to include the vibrantly colored fruit that grows from a cactus in your diet, according to Peggy Kotsopoulos, RHN.

According to Kotsopoulos, “Prickly Pear is rich in potassium, iron, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C, which helps the immune system, potassium, and magnesium, which helps the muscles and nerves. Not to add, prickly pear water is loaded in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. What do you think of that resume?

Steaz Prickly Pear Water, a revitalizing concoction of prickly pear and green tea (and the buzzy functional beverage you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP), is one definite way to acquire the fruit, despite the fact that it can occasionally be difficult to obtain in conventional grocery shops.

Can cactus help lower blood pressure?

According to a study, eating cactus can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and body fat. Your chance of developing conditions including stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral vascular illnesses can be lowered by include cactus fruits in your diet.

What is the fruit that treats diabetes miraculously?

A plant known as “miracle fruit” thrives in West Africa. As medicines, the berry, leaf, and seed oil are all employed.

Miracle fruit is allegedly used to treat diabetes, obesity, taste problems in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and other diseases, however there isn’t any solid scientific proof to back these claims.

Special Precautions & Warnings

There isn’t enough trustworthy information about the safety of taking prickly pear cactus while pregnant or nursing, therefore avoid doing so. Avoid use to be on the safe side.

Diabetes: The prickly pear cactus may help diabetics with their blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and take prickly pear cactus, watch out for symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels.

During and after surgery, blood sugar control may be challenging due to prickly pear cactus’ potential impact on blood sugar levels. Prior to a scheduled surgery, stop using prickly pear cactus by at least two weeks.


Diabinese (Chlorpropamide) Interaction Rating: Moderate Use this combination with caution. Consult your healthcare practitioner.

Diabetic patients take chlorpropamide (Diabinese) to lower their blood sugar levels. The prickly pear cactus may also lower blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar may drop too low if you take prickly pear cactus and chlorpropamide (Diabinese) at the same time. Keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar. You might need to adjust the chlorpropamide (Diabinese) dosage.

Glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase)

Moderate interaction rating Use this combination with caution. Consult your healthcare practitioner.

People with diabetes can lower their blood sugar levels by using glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase). The prickly pear cactus may also lower blood sugar levels. The combination of prickly pear cactus and glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase) may result in dangerously low blood sugar levels. Keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar. There may be a need to adjust the dosage of glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase).

Diabetes medications (Antidiabetes drugs)

Moderate interaction rating Use this combination with caution. Consult your healthcare practitioner.

In type 2 diabetics, prickly pear cactus can lower blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are also reduced by diabetes medicines. When combined with diabetes treatments, prickly pear cactus may cause your blood sugar to drop too low. Keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar. Your diabetes medication dosage may need to be adjusted.

What advantages do cactus fruits have?

Amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants like betalains, polyphenols, and flavonoids are all present in the fruit of the Opuntia cactus.

Although the nutrients in cactus fruits vary, they all contain a range of antioxidants that are known to shield cells. These antioxidants aid in lowering your body’s levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol. They’re also able to reduce body fat percentages and help lower your risk for metabolic syndrome.

Because of its betalain and potassium levels, cactus fruit can aid in bettering digestion. While betalains are anti-inflammatory and aid in protecting your digestive tract, potassium improves food absorption.