Prickly Pear Juice Benefits

Prickly Pear Juice Benefits

Research shows that the ingredients present in prickly pear juice benefits to lower blood glucose, decrease cholesterol, and kill viruses present in the body. Read on, to learn about the various benefits of prickly pear.
NutriNeat Staff
Last Updated: Aug 7, 2018
Prickly pear is also known by other names like nopal cactus, barbary fig cactus, opuntia, Indian fig prickly pear cactus, tuna cardona, westwood pear, etc. The juice of this fruit gives a deep red color, and has many benefits. Prickly pears have flattened oval or round stems with spines, these can be long or thick in shape or short or fine in shape.
It is found in North American deserts, Southwest US, Mexico, and can also be found in Canada. This cactus plant gets red, yellow, or reddish-purple blooms and grows to a height of 1 to 6 feet. The juice of prickly pear fruit and stem is known to have many important nutrients, which provide many health benefits.
Prickly Pear Health Benefits
Listed here are the various prickly pear juice health benefits from the fruit and stem part of the plant.
Antioxidant Benefits
The cactus pads of prickly pear contains many essential vitamins and minerals. It contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It is also high in dietary fiber and antioxidant vitamin A, which is present in the form of beta-carotene. It also contains antioxidant vitamin C.
Antioxidant acts as a scavenger against free radicals in the body and prevents arterial cholesterol and helps to reverse the arterial damage. Antioxidants, thus help prevent cancer and pre-mature aging.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Among thousands of botanical species of plant, nopal cactus is the only plant known which contains 24 of the known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Hence, prickly pear benefits in chronic inflammation problems.
Hangover Cure
Many researches show that taking prickly pear cactus juice before drinking alcohol can reduce some of the symptoms of the hangover which will occur the next day. The juice seems to significantly reduce anorexia, nausea and dry mouth symptoms. However, it doesn't reduce symptoms like headache, diarrhea, soreness, or dizziness.
Amino Acids
The pads of prickly pear fruit contains a full-range of amino acids, which are building blocks of protein including the 8 essential amino acids, which are not produced by our body. It is very rare that a plant provides so many essential amino acids.
Diabetes
The stems of one of the species of prickly pear cactus called opuntia streptacantha, helps in lowering blood sugar levels of people having type 2 diabetes. Single doses of this cactus pulp can decrease blood sugar levels by 17 to 46%. Though, it is not known if everyday use can consistently reduce the blood sugar level.
Immunity Booster
The mucilage found inside the sticky pads of the stem contains polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are the primary active ingredients which is found in other immune system stimulating plants like aloe and oriental mushrooms.
Prickly Pear Syrup Recipe
1. To make a prickly pear juice syrup, use 20 prickly pears; remove their spikes, wash the fruits and chop them into small pieces.
2. Puree them in a food processor, then push everything through a coarse food mill, to get maximum pulp.
3. Then run the pulp through a fine mesh sleeve, a cheesecloth works fine too.
4. Add 1 and half cup sugar to the juice, simmer it slowly to medium heat for 15 minutes.
5. Then add juice of one lemon to it. Pour the juice while its hot into clean Mason jars and seal them shut, refrigerate, and consume within few weeks.
Prickly pear jelly
Apart from making syrup from prickly pear, you can use it to cook various other interesting dishes. You can make jelly, marmalade or pickle. This way you can refrigerate it and enjoy it for many days.
You can also try combining shrimp or chicken with prickly pear to create some yummy and healthy dishes. If you are not sure how to use it to create such dishes, then a quick search on the Internet will reveal to you various interesting recipes.
While selecting prickly pear, avoid the ones which are soft or have dark soft spots on them. The fruit is generally harvested in late summer or early fall. If you are picking the fruit from the plant, then use leather or rubber gloves, and ripen the fruit at room temperature. Remove all the spines before using it for cooking or making juice.