What is the Prickly Pear ?

The Prickly pears or Opuntia as is its botanical name is a fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

It is a common plant used in Mexico for its nutritional and medicinal values.

These delicious oval fruits grow from the top of the prickly cactus leaves.

The fruit can be eaten raw or dried.

The fruit of prickly pears, also known as the cactus fruit or fig, is edible when the small spines are carefully peeled.

The nutrients in Prickly pears are carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fat and protein.

It also contains Vitamin A, B2, B3, B6, B9, C and E.

Trace minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Prickly pear has been used in Mexican folk medicine for the treatment of numerous ailments including type 2 diabetes, rheumatism, viral infections, cholesterol, obesity, hangover and diarrhea.

Lower blood glucose levels: Prickly pear cactus contains fiber and pectin, which has the potential to lower blood glucose levels by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine.

Cholesterol levels: The pectin in the prickly pear fruit has the potential to reduce cholesterol levels, and kill viruses in the body.

Digestion: The Fiber in the fruit aids digestion and helps prevent constipation.

Strengthens Bones and Teeth: Prickly pear contains calcium, which is crucial not only for the maintenance of bones and teeth.

Weight Management: The fruit is low in calories; a cup contains 61 calories only. It is a nutritious addition to any weight management system

Other uses: The prickly pear fruit is also used to produce dyes for food coloring and cosmetics. The flesh of the fruit is also used in water purification.

 

Photo by Mister GC. Published on 30 August 2013
Stock photo – Image ID: 100197861