The Amazing Health Benefits Of The Prickly Pear Cactus
Most people think of cactuses as those strange looking spiky plants that live in pots on people's window sills. Whist these smaller cactuses are often used for decorative purposes around the house, some of the larger types that are native to the desert have many health benefits.
The cactus thrives in desert locations and both the pads and the fruit are edible, often being made into jelly's and jams. The cactus continues to be a food staple for the people who live in desert areas in the South-western United States.
About The Cactus
It's real name is the Nopal cactus and it has long been used as a traditional medicine throughout Mexico for treating diabetes. It was also used traditionally by native Indians for the treatment of burns.
Today it still used as a medicine amongst natives and can also be found in a number of juices. Although there have not been many human studies to discover the full benefits of the Prickly Pear cactus, people who drink health drinks containing the cactus juice have praised the way the products have given them a noticeable health boost.
The cactus is most commonly used to treat type II diabetes, due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Other conditions it is used to treat include the following:
- High cholesterol
- Viral Infections
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy
Another of the main benefits is the plants ability to naturally reduce inflammation throughout the body. As inflammation is a large contributor to conditions such as heart disease and arthritis, it is thought that the properties of the plant may help to protect against such diseases.
Vitamin A promotes healthy lungs, eyes and intestines and also helps to protect against cancer cells forming.
Vitamin C is required so the body can heal when wounded. It is also a powerful antioxidant.
B vitamins are essential for producing energy in the body and are also required to create new cells.
Adding the cactus to your diet is a great way to ensure that you are getting the daily recommended amount of each of these vitamins.
Prickly Pear Cactus Juice
The easiest way to add the plant into your everyday diet is to purchase a juice that uses the cactus as its main ingredient.
There are a few juices out there which contain it; however, it is important that only natural ingredients are used in the formula.
Although these juices can sometimes seem slightly expensive, the health benefits you receive as certainly worth the cost.
If you are interested in adding a healthy juice that contains the Prickly Pear benefits to your daily nutrition, health and wellness company, TriVita, makes a product called Nopalea which might be just what you are looking for. It contains the nopal cactus fruit, and other beneficial superfruit extracts and is sweetened with agave nectar.