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. Additionally, they can lower body fat percentages and minimize your chance of developing 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.
What are the advantages of cactus pears in terms of health?
The prickly pear cactus, often referred to as nopal, opuntia, and other names, is marketed as a remedy for hangovers, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. It is also praised for having anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities.
Is cactus fruit beneficial for losing weight?
The flat paddles of the Opuntiaficus-indica cactus plant bear prickly pear fruit.
It has a lot of antioxidant chemicals and is high in fiber. 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.
What occurs when you consume cactus fruit?
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Contrary to what the majority of people believe, almost all cactus fruits are edible and packed with beneficial minerals. The pads of the plants, for example, are also tasty. This wild fruit is sweet and healthful, just like any other fruit. But if you’ve never tried the fruit, you might be wondering whether it’s actually safe to eat. We’ve got you covered, so don’t worry.
Therefore, is cactus fruit toxic? No. Cactus fruits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but none of them are poisonous. Eaten cactus fruits are all safe. The sole distinction between the fruits of various cacti species is that some are sourer and more bitter than others. All of them, though, are edible and safe to eat. The Opuntia genus produces a sizable portion of the edible cactus fruits.
Continue reading to learn more about cacti fruits and some of the most popular varieties. So let’s get started straight away.
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
Do diabetics benefit from cactus fruit?
Consumed often in Mexico, prickly pear cactus pads can cut blood sugar spikes after meals by almost half and may aid in managing diabetes.
Since I live in the Southwest, I am particularly interested in the plants because of its culinary and therapeutic uses. The prickly pear cactus, also known as nopal in Spanish, is one plant that looks to have several highly advantageous traits. This plant, which is originally from Mexico and the American Southwest, is now widely planted across the world, particularly in the Mediterranean areas. I endorse prickly pear extract as a supplement to help those with diabetes or pre-diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, and so does Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., one of my mentors and a fellow desert dweller who is a recognized authority on integrative medicine, dietary supplements, and women’s health. Prickly pears are frequently suggested to patients by Dr. Low Dog as food, supplements, or juice with lots of pulp. Additionally, she instructs fellows at the University of Arizona’s Integrative Medicine Program on how to make straightforward recipes with delicious cactus leaves (pads).
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, a specialist in herbal medicine, demonstrates the correct methods for cutting, preparing, and cooking prickly pears.
When consumed with typical Mexican dishes like burritos and quesadillas, prickly pear cactus had a negative impact on blood sugar levels, according to a 2007 study published in Diabetes Care. The study’s objectives included determining the glycemic index of three popular Mexican breakfast dishes and determining the impact of cactus pads on type 2 diabetes individuals’ postprandial glucose response. A supper of scrambled eggs and tomato burritos, chilaquiles (cheese, beans, and tomato sauce with corn 1/2 tortillas), or quesadillas with avocados and pinto beans, with or without 85 grams of prickly pear cactus pads, was given to the 36 type-2 diabetic participants following an 18-hour fast. According to the study, when prickly pear cactus was ingested concurrently with all meal types, as opposed to when it was not supplemented, blood sugar levels were decreased. The percentage of reductions varied based on the meal, with prickly pear cactus with quesadillas being linked to a 48 percent reduction, prickly pear cactus plus chilaquiles to a 30% reduction, and prickly pear cactus plus burritos to a 20% reduction.
Cactus pears have previously been connected to improvements in diabetes-related health. The metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and abnormal glucose and insulin metabolism, demonstrated significant benefits in a previous trial using a prickly pear cactus extract. Increased type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks have been related to the condition.
Prickly pear is also well-liked in Mexico for reducing hangovers; a Tulane University study that was published in the June 28, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine supported the efficacy of this traditional treatment. Researchers discovered that taking a prickly pear extract five hours before ingesting five to seven alcoholic drinks resulted in considerably lower levels of nausea, dry mouth, and appetite loss the next day in participants than did taking a placebo. However, the extract did not stop the headaches and lightheadedness that come with a hangover. The benefits, according to the researchers, were associated with the potent anti-inflammatory properties of prickly pear. The juice contains betalains, an unique class of antioxidants that gives beets and red Swiss chard their vibrant color. Additionally, prickly pear juice is rich in vitamin C.
According to certain studies, prickly pear may also aid in lowering cholesterol. A tiny Italian study from 2003 found that prickly pear extract may lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels but had no impact on HDL (“good”) or triglyceride levels (only 10 patients participated). The Nuclear Medicine Review of Central and Eastern Europe published the study’s findings. Another small study at the University of Vienna in Austria with 24 participants discovered that prickly pear decreased total cholesterol (by 12%), LDL (by 15%), triglycerides (by 12%), blood sugar (by 11%), insulin (by 11%), and uric acid (by 10%), but had no effect on HDL or other lipid measurements.
Can cactus help lower blood pressure?
In addition to their medical use, cacti are known for their nutritional worth. Both cactus pads and cactus fruit have anti-infective properties that can assist with everything from hangovers to high cholesterol problems.
The following are a few of the cactus’ health advantages:
The cactus fruit and pad are both rich in fiber, which can reduce blood cholesterol levels. 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.
Iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and more are all found in cacti. This extensive spectrum of nutrients and others can aid in lowering inflammatory levels in the body. According to research, taking cactus extract after consuming five to seven alcoholic beverages helped reduce the severity of hangover symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, or dry mouth). The body’s inflammation, which is frequently related to alcohol consumption, was also decreased by the cactus extract.
A number of diseases, including diabetes, a stroke, and heart disease, can all be indicated by high blood sugar levels in the body. A Mexican study compared the diets of those who regularly ate cactus pads to those who didn’t, and it found that those who did had significantly lower blood sugar levels than those who didn’t. According to the study, eating cactus may be a cheap approach for those with diabetes to lower their blood sugar levels.
Particularly cactus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, one of the finest immune enhancers. White blood cell production is boosted by regular vitamin C intake, which can lower your risk of infection and help your body fight off viruses if you become infected.
What benefits does cactus provide for skin?
What image does the word “cactus” conjure up for you? It is a stony, arid plant. Right? What if I, however, told you that this prickly plant could be a useful addition to your skincare regimen? Many of us are unaware of the numerous advantages the cactus plant provides for our appearance. Similar to the aloe vera plant, cacti have a pulpy, gel-like substance that is good for your skin. Let me quickly go over the incredible advantages of applying cactus on your skin.
- Antioxidants found in cacti are vital for healthy skin. These antioxidants defend against free radical damage to your skin. Vitamin K, which nourishes your skin, is also found in cacti. Including it in your skincare routine also aids in the treatment of premature aging. It lessens the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines, two indications of aging.
- Additionally, this herb is renowned for treating skin issues like pigmentation and sunburn. Cactus has qualities that might help lighten skin.
- Because cactus contains a lot of water, it is excellent for your skin. Your skin will stay hydrated and moisturized if you use cactus on it.
- Additionally useful for treating skin issues including irritation and redness, the plant.
- Vitamin E and fatty acids found in cactus give your skin an incredible glow.
- Cactus gel will give you shining, immaculate skin. It contains vitamin E, which promotes the creation of new cells and illuminates your skin.
Does cactus benefit hair?
Commonly used in shampoo and conditioner formulas, cactus water transforms lifeless, dry hair into lustrous, bouncy, healthy hair. Due to its high concentration of amino acids and iron, both of which are necessary for hair growth, it contains qualities that help revitalize hair.
What three purposes do cacti serve?
NARI recently gave 200 kg of fresh cladodes—the flattened organ that grows from a plant’s stem—to farmers in the Andhra Pradesh district of Medak. Numerous other institutions in India have also conducted studies on this plant.
It would be fantastic if farmers began experimenting with it as Nandini Nimbkar continues to raise awareness about this great crop.
Packed with antioxidants
While we don’t want to bore you with a science lesson, antioxidants do merit a little explanation. Antioxidants help to maintain good health by assisting in the battle against free radicals, which are to blame for the development of many chronic illnesses. In the simplest terms possible, antioxidants maintain our cellular health. The most well-known ones include vitamins (vitamins A, C, and E), selenium, and flavonoids, all of which naturally present in fruit and vegetables. If that seems a little too abstract, let’s just state that they are all vitamins. The water from prickly pears has been scientifically related to the elimination of toxins and contains some of the most potent plant-based antioxidants.
We all know that water makes up the majority of our bodies. We need water to maintain a healthy metabolism, maintain healthy skin (that glow you’re chasing), enhance cognition, and avoid headaches.
Although we are all too aware with the daily water intake guidelines, in reality we fall short of them. To quench our thirst or to receive an energy boost, we frequently turn to coffee or a carbonated beverage.
Another issue is that we frequently confuse hunger and thirst. According to a recent study reported in The Seattle Times, respondents mistook hunger for thirst 62 percent of the time and properly identified thirst only 2 percent of the time. This is due to:
- Some signs of mild dehydration, such as headaches or trouble concentrating, are similar to hungry signs.
- Even our own brains can occasionally become confused because hunger and thirst are processed by the same area of the brain (the hypothalamus!).