Health Benefits of Prickly Pears
Prickly pears are oval tasty fruits from the tops of prickly cactus leaves and the color can range from yellow-green to deep red or purple depending on the variety and ripeness. It is very important to remove the skin before eating a prickly pear – peel it off so all of the spines are removed. After peeling this fruit can be eaten raw or dried, and also can be used as an ingredient into various jellies and jams, candies, or alcoholic beverages like vodka. Prickly pears are actually often used by native Americans for alternative medicine treatments because the fruit itself possesses a wealth of valuable nutrients and potential health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Prickly Pears
Weight Management. Prickly pears are diet-friendly which means that are a good choice for those people who paying attention to their weight. Without a doubt, holding in check the intake of calories and saturated fats is an important part of any weight-loss or weight management plan. In one serving of 100g fresh prickly pear is contained just 41 kcal and 0.5 g Fat as well as
2.5 g Protein and 9.6 g Carbohydrates.
Immune System Booster. Prickly pears are a rich source of Vitamin C – a single serving of this fruit contains more than 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. This vitamin is also known as ascorbic acid and has an important role in the immune system, stimulating the production of white blood cells and even acts as an antioxidant in the body. Moreover, vitamin C is an essential part of various enzymatic and metabolic processes, such as the creation of bone and muscle tissue.
Strengthen Bones and Teeth. Prickly pears contain a significant level of calcium in every serving. It is widely known that this mineral is an integral part of the human diet. Calcium is not just important for the development, but it is also important for maintenance of the health of bones and teeth as well as it is beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis. An interesting fact is that around 99 % of the calcium in the body is found in the bones and teeth. Eating just 100 g prickly pears provides you 56 mg calcium or 6% of the recommended daily allowance.
Digestive Health. Like most fruits and vegetables, Prickly pears are loaded with a significant level of dietary fiber, which means that this fruit can help you to regulate your digestive process. Fiber is able to bulk up the stool and for that reason, food can pass through the digestive tract a lot easier thus avoiding constipation, bloating and even more serious gastrointestinal problems like for example, colon cancer or gastric ulcers.
Supports Body Functions. Minerals such as magnesium and potassium are also found in Prickly pears. Thos two minerals are really important in activating enzymes that regulate your body’s functions. They are beneficial in the regulation of the heartbeat as well as ensure proper nerve and muscle function. Furthermore, those two minerals can contribute to the development of your body’s DNA and RNA. 100 g serving of prickly pear contain 85 mg Magnesium of 24 % of the recommended daily allowance and in the same serving size contain 220 mg Potassium or 5% of the recommended daily allowance.
Antioxidant Potential. Prickly pears are rich a source of flavonoids, polyphenols, and betalains, all of which work as antioxidant compounds and they can neutralize free radicals before they can do some damage to our body (free radicals cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells). These antioxidant compounds can also protect skin health, lower the chances of premature aging, can do improvements to vision, prevent macular degeneration as well as can increase the strength and functionality of the brain. While also Polyphenolic compounds are linked to increased cognitive activity.
Nutritional Value of Prickly Pears
Side Effects of Prickly Pear Cactus
It is recommended by doctors, nutritionists, and holistic practitioners to add prickly pear to the diet, but gradually. Prickly Pear into your diet along with taking dietary supplements can cause negative side effects in some people. The most common side effects are increased stool volume and frequency, nausea, mild diarrhea and abdominal fullness. While they are not the norm, easing prickly pear into the diet can minimize these effects.