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Nopal Prickly Pear Cactus Benefits

By | August 12th, 2016 | Modified - July 1st, 2019
Nopal Prickly Pear Cactus Benefits
Nopal Prickly Pear Cactus Benefits

Nopal Prickly Pear Cactus

The nopal prickly pear cactus belongs to the Opuntia genus of cacti. People refer to this cactus as nopal cactus or prickly pear cactus.

The individual green parts of the cactus are called nopal paddles or nopales. The cactus produces a red fruit called a prickly pear.

People in the Caribbean often call the prickly pear tuna, and also call the entire cactus tuna.

The nopal cactus, like all cactus species, is native to the Americas. They grow commonly in Mexico, the Caribbean islands, and dry areas of the Western United States.

They also grow along the East Coast of the United States. Producers now grow prickly pear in Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean, and Europe.

The nopal paddles can have spines, or can be spineless. The prickly pears have spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids.

It is important to thoroughly remove the spines and hairs of the nopales and prickly pear fruit before consuming them.

Learn more about alkaline foods on the Dr. Sebi Nutritional Guide »

Both the nopales and the prickly pear are nutrient-rich and have benefits that support health and vitality.

People use the nopal paddles in stews, salads, marmalades, and add them raw in blended vegetable juices.

People also make prickly pear juice from the prickly pear fruit.

Nopal Prickly Pear Cactus Nutrition

The nutrition list is for 100 grams of the prickly pear fruit and 100 grams of the raw nopal paddle.

1 prickly pear fruit is around 100 grams. The values are based USDA database and Self Nutrition Data.

Prickly Pear Fruit Nutrition per 100 grams
Nutrient Value DV
Energy 41 Kcal 2%
Carbohydrates 10g 3%
Protein o.7 g 1%
Total Fat 1 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Fiber 4 g 14%
Minerals    
Calcium 56 mg 6%
Copper 0.1 mg 4%
Iron 0.3 mg 3%
Magnesium 85 mg 21%
Manganese ~ ~
Phosphorus 24 mg 2%
Potassium 220 mg 6%
Selenium 0.6 mcg 1%
Sodium 5 mg 0%
Zinc 0.1 mg 1%
Vitamins    
Vitamin A 43 IU 1%
Vitamin B6    
Vitamin B12 0 mcg 0%
Vitamin C 14 mg 23%
Vitamin D ~ ~
Vitamin E ~ ~
Vitamin K ~ ~
Folate 6 mcg 1%
Niacin 0.5 mg 2%
Pantothenic acid ~ ~
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 4%
Thiamin 0 mg 1%
Nopal Paddle Nutrition per 100 grams
Nutrient Value DV
Energy 16 Kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 3 g 1%
Protein 1.3 g 3%
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Fiber 2 mg 9%
Minerals    
Calcium 164 mg 16%
Copper 0.1 mg 3%
Iron 0.6 mg 3%
Magnesium 52 mg 13%
Manganese 0.5 mg 23%
Phosphorus 16 mg 2%
Potassium 257 mg 7%
Selenium 0.7 mcg 1%
Sodium 21 mg 1%
Zinc 0.3 mg 2%
Vitamins    
Vitamin A 457 IU 9%
Vitamin B6    
Vitamin B12 0 mg 0%
Vitamin C 9 mg 15%
Vitamin D~ ~ ~
Vitamin E ~ ~
Vitamin K 5.3 mcg 7%
Folate 3 mcg 1%
Niacin 0.4 mg 2%
Pantothenic acid 0.2 mg 2%
Riboflavin 0 mg 2%
Thiamin 0 mg 1%

Prickly Pear Benefits

100 grams of the prickly pear fruit is high in:

  • Magnesium (21% DV)
  • Vitamin C (23% DV)
  • Fiber (14% DV)

100 grams of the nopal paddle is high in:

  • Manganese, 23% DV
  • Calcium, 16% DV
  • Vitamin C, 15% DV
  • Magnesium, 13% DV)

Fiber

Fiber helps to reduce the risk of hiatal hernia and acid reflex, reduces gut inflammation, and reduces the risk of stroke.

Magnesium

The body uses magnesium in the operation of over three hundred different enzymes that regulate numerous functions in the body.

It also uses magnesium to make DNA and RNA, and to support muscle and nerve function.

Learn more about foods high in magnesium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an naturally occurring organic compound and antioxidant found in plants. An organic compound contains carbon and vitamin C’s chemical structure is C6H8O6.

Antioxidants protect against free radical damage which attack and age cells. Vitamin C in plants protects against cardiovascular disease and supports the immune system.

Prickly Pear Juice

It is pretty to easy to benefit from the prickly pear fruit’s magnesium by making prickly pear juice. Thoroughly clean the hairs off 2 prickly pear fruit, and cut off both ends.

Cut each prickly pear in 4 to make them easier to blend. Add the 8 pieces to a blender jar and fill the jar to 32 oz. with spring water.

Blend it for 30 seconds on a high setting and that is it. The seeds settle to the bottom, so pour of he juice carefully so you can remove the seeds.

The prickly pear fruit has its own sweetness and I drink it without adding a sweetener. If you prefer, you can add some date sugar to make it sweeter.

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About Author:

Aqiyl Aniys is the author of the books Alkaline Herbal Medicine, Alkaline Plant Based Diet and the children's book, Faith and Justice eat an Alkaline Plant Based Diet." He received a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University, a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and studied social work. He enjoys boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging, and his alkaline plant-based diet supports all that he does. Learn more about transitioning to an alkaline vegan diet using the Dr. Sebi nutritional guide.

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