8 Amazing Prickly Pear Benefits – Lose Weight Naturally and Stay Healthy
Prickly pear, also called Nopal cactus is healthy edible cactus (Genus Opuntia) high in fibers, aminoacids, nutrients, vitamins and minerals! All the prickly pear benefits we discuss in this article come from the plant that mostly grows in Mexico and in United States. It is known in many countries around the world in culinary uses such as salads, vegetable dishes, desserts and appetizers, breads, beverages, drinks, jelly and even candy. Prickly pear is more and more being recognized for its health benefits, medical uses and also as weight loss aid!
Prickly pear cactus is prepared in many ways, either grilled, boiled, pressed into juice, made into jams and more. The fruit, called “prickly pears” are very sweet and can be eaten raw. Prickles (sharp spines) must be removed, obviously, since they are very dangerous. The edible parts of nopal cactus are the fruit, stems, leaves and flowers.
In this article we will cover some of the known prickly pear benefits used as an extract in weight loss supplements. All the benefits are present no matter if prickly pear is eaten fresh, cooked, pressed into a juice or in a form as a herbal supplement. But we will focus more on the benefits of a high quality concentrated extract.
The 8 amazing prickly pear benefits are:
- supporting immune system
- providing good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- helping regulate blood sugar
- easing digestion and stomach problems
- protecting nerve cells from damage
- reducing fatigue and improving energy levels
- reducing cholesterol
- supporting weight loss
1. Prickly Pear Supports Immune System
An extract from opuntia cactus has been studied in suppressing viral infections and preventing replication of viruses. Prickly pear successfully supports immune system by reducing infections in cases of herpes simplex, influenza virus, equine herpes virus and even HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). The extract from nopal cactus is non toxic and in some cases it helped reduced inflammation up to 50%. (1)
2. Great Source of Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals
Another study confirmes that prickly pear benefits come from its strong anti-oxidant content. It decreases oxidative stress and improves antioxidant status in body better than vitamin C alone. Prickly pear does contain high amount of vitamin C but it seems that because of other plant molecules, pigments, nutrients and chemical interactions it is able to provide better anti-oxidant effect compared to vitamin C. (2)
Prickly pear is also very rich in fiber, nutrients and vitamins, including Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, A and K, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, potassium and calcium. It is also rich in other organic compounds like polysaccharides and phytochemicals that support your health.
3. Prickly Pear Benefits for Blood Sugar Levels
Extracts from Nopal cactus reduce blood sugar levels. Some people with type 2 diabetes use it as an aid (complementary) to regulating blood glucose levels together with medicine. If you are considering trying taking Nopal extracts or adding it to your diet and you have concerns or problems with blood sugar levels, or you have any disease connected with this issue please be careful with prickly pears, because they can cause a sugar drop in your blood. Get a medical advice or consult your doctor about this. There have been studies done on prickly pear genus Opuntia and they show that it can successfully reduce blood glucose levels. (3)
4. Helps Digestion and Relieves Stomach Problems
Prickly pear is very rich in dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. People that consume nopales have noticed that it helps with all sorts of digestion problems including diarrhea, constipation and cramps related to digestion troubles. These prickly pear benefits are probably present because of the high contents of fiber, enzymes and flavonoids found in the plant. There is not enough research done on Nopales to prove this scientifically, however, experience from millions of people around the world enjoying the taste and health benefits of prickly pears speaks for itself.
5. Protects Nerve Cells
In the last decade, nopal cactus is gaining popularity among companies and scientists searching for medical and therapeutic benefits. The amazing prickly pear benefit they’re researching is the neuroprotective effect. Scientists found out that it protects nerve cells against damage and may reduce nerve inflammation. There is some evidence that nopal cactus helped people recover sensory loss or reduce pain related to nerve inflammation. These findings are amazing and hopefully will lead into more amazing discoveries in neuroscience. (4)
6. Reduces Fatigue and Boosts Energy Levels
Nopales are very popular in some countries and millions love them for their taste. People noticed that lightweight prickly pear meal like salads provide good energy and refresh you when you feel tired. Same goes for pressed juice or other drinks and beverages made from nopales. So, you never tried eating cactus before or drinking a refreshing “prickly” juice, but the health benefits it provides convinced you to try? Great! But there is more…
7. Reduces Cholesterol and Supports Liver Function
Some limited research shows that nopales can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Due to its high contents of vitamins, minerals, fibers and other compounds it also protects and supports liver function. Researchers observed that prickly pear provides health benefits beyond the sole nutrients it contains. In our opinion nopales deserve more attention and scientific study. It is still unknown why it reduces levels of cholesterol in blood but it doesn’t affect absorption of cholesterol from food. So, it can help you reduce bad cholesterol that is already present in your blood. (5)
8. Prickly Pear (Nopal Cactus) Supports Weight Loss
Nopal cactus helps you lose weight by helping your body manage hormonal balance, regulate enzyme function, promote healthy muscle gain and tone entire body. It also helps you gain more control over your hunger.
And one of most amazing prickly pear benefits is that it can help flush excess fluids from tissues into your bloodstream. Obese people many times have this problem when excess fluids accumulate in tissues. This can be due to their unhealthy lifestyle or other health related issues. There are complicated mechanisms in body that regulate liquid levels in tissues. Even cellulite is a problem related to this mechanism and is not necessarily caused by fat cells as commonly believed. Prickly pear helps you lose weight and can even help reduce cellulite.
Because of all these amazing benefits of prickly pear (Nopal) cactus, some companies choose to add a high quality extract to their weight loss formulas.
PhenQ natural fat burner is a high quality multi-focused weight loss supplement that uses prickly pear (Nopal) extract as one of its unique ingredients. If you are looking into ways to lose some extra pounds easily and naturally check PhenQ, it already helped almost 200,000 people!