Prickly Pear Cactus Benefits
Prickly Pear Cactus
The prickly pear cactus belongs to the Opuntia genus of cacti. People also refer to the prickly pear cactus as the nopal cactus. The nopal cactus’ paddles are called nopales and its reddish fruit or cactus pear is called the prickly pear or tuna.
The prickly pear cactus, like all cactus species, is native to the Americas. They grow commonly in Mexico, the Caribbean islands, dry areas of the Western United States. They also grow along the East Coast of the United States. Producers now grow prickly pear in places like Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean, and Europe.
The nopales of the prickly pear cactus have large spines, and the prickly pear fruit has hairlike prickles. It is important to thoroughly remove the spines and hairs of the nopales and prickly pear fruit before consuming them.
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The nopales and the prickly pear are both nutrient-rich and have benefits that support health and vitality. People use nopales paddles in stews, salads, marmalades, and also eat it raw and add to blended vegetable juices. People also make prickly pear juice from the prickly pear fruit.
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.
|Total Fat||1 g||1%|
|Vitamin A||43 IU||1%|
|Vitamin B12||0 mcg||0%|
|Vitamin C||14 mg||23%|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Vitamin A||457 IU||9%|
|Vitamin B12||0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin C||9 mg||15%|
|Vitamin K||5.3 mcg||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.2 mg||2%|
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)
The body uses magnesium in the operation of over three hundred different enzymes that regulate numerous functions in the body. The body uses magnesium to make DNA and RNA, and to support muscle and nerve function.
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 2 prickly pear fruits and cut off both ends. I 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. I blend it for 30 seconds on a high setting and that is it. 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.