10 Benefits Of Cactus Juice

The prickly pear, scientifically known as Opuntia ficus-indica, is a cactus plant that grows in arid Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California. This plant has two edible portions, the tuna or the pear, which is the fruit, and the soft, oval pads or nopal which is the stem.

Cactus juice can be extracted from both the fruit and the nopal. In the case of the nopal, one can simply pull out the spines, clean the pads and remove all its bruised parts, and then crush them to extract the juice. The fruit can be washed under cold water, and the spines can be removed with a brush. Whether handling the fruit or the stem, be very careful as getting pricked by cactus spines can be very painful.

Owing to its numerous health benefits, cactus juice is a staple food of residents of South America, Mexico, Middle East, Europe, and a few parts of India.

Health Benefits Of Cactus Juice

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1. Anti- Inflammatory Properties

Cactus Juice Has Anti- Inflammatory Properties

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Cactus juice is known to have the ability to fight inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, muscles, and arteries. 1 It has also been popularly known to lower pain in people with gallstones and urethra and bladder infections. The prickly pear contains a compound called bioflavonoid quercetin, a good amount of which is present in the juice of the cactus plant. This compound is responsible for neutralizing cell-damaging molecules, thus giving cactus juice its antiulcer and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence cactus juice also blocks leukocyte migration and offers protection against oedema.2

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2. Boosts Immunity

Cactus Juice Boosts Immunity

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Consuming cactus juice on a regular basis helps to strengthen the immunity system by removing harmful viruses from the body. The high content of phytochemicals in cactus wards off tumors and increases the body’s immune response.3

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3. Anti-Oxidant Properties

Cactus juice Has Anti-Oxidant Properties

 

Cactus juice is packed with antioxidants known as betalains. These work together with phytochemicals to encourage healthy cells, assist in skin detoxification and to fight against premature aging signs like age spots and wrinkles.4

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4. Fights Cholesterol

Cactus Juice Fights Cholesterol

The high content of soluble fiber in cactus juice prevents cholesterol.

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It contains three special compounds called pectin, hemicellulose, and mucilage, compounds which reduce low-density cholesterol (LDL) also known as “bad cholesterol” while preserving the healthy fats or high-density cholesterol (HDL).5

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5. Prevents Diabetes

Cactus Juice Prevents Diabetes

Cactus juice is highly beneficial to people suffering from non-insulin diabetes because it helps to lower and balance blood pressure by preventing the liver from releasing glucose into the blood.6 The presence of the compound fibrous pectin assists in slowing down the absorption rate or sugar by the human

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body, and regular consumption of this juice can help prevent the body’s sugar levels from fluctuating.

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6. Improves Digestive Health

Cactus Juice Improves Digestive Health

The insoluble fiber in cactus juice encourages faster bowel movement and the absorption of excess water. The juice contains a good amount of vegetable protein which brings down the occurrence of cellulites as well as the body’s capacity to retain water. The insoluble fiber also enhances colon health as it reduces the presence of carcinogens that may cause cancerous growth.7

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7. Rich In Nutrients

Cactus Juice Is Rich In Nutrients

Cactus juice is a rich source of vitamins A, K,

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C, B6, and riboflavin. It also contains high levels of potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, and copper, including phytochemicals, antioxidants, flavonoids, omega 3 fatty acids, and beta-carotene. This is why regular cactus juice consumption is a good way to provide your body with that essential dose of nutrition.8

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8. Aids In Weight Loss

Cactus Juice Aids In Weight Loss

Cactus juice is considered to be very low in calories because of the high content of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The juice is known to contain 17 amino acids, out of which 8 are essential. The insoluble fiber also limits hunger pangs since it takes a longer time to digest, in turn making you feel full and satisfied. Cactus juice is high in fiber which binds itself to dietary fat and promotes fecal fat excretion, thus

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assisting in weight loss. 9 Consuming cactus juice also helps give you an energy boost without the sugar and all its empty calories, which is another fact that proves it to be very beneficial for reducing body weight.

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9. Potent Anti-Cancer Properties

Cactus Juice Anti-Cancer Properties

The high content of phytochemicals, flavonoids, vitamin-C, and other antioxidants found in cactus juice makes it extremely valuable for the immune system, especially when it comes to preventing the occurrence of various cancers. Antioxidants are responsible for hunting down free radicals in the body and getting rid of them before they mutate the DNA of healthy cells into harmful cancerous cells.10 Free radicals are bad byproducts of cellular metabolism that after accumulating in the body, cause numerous health problems, including cancer. Also, vitamin A and flavonoids in cactus juice have been connected to preventing skin, lung, and oral cancers.

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10. Neuroprotective Properties

Cactus Juice Has Neuroprotective Properties

Cactus juice contains quercetin 3-methyl, a flavonoid that is said to be a powerful neuro protector which protects brain cells from damage.11

Precautionary Note

Due to its ability to regulate and affect blood sugar levels, drinking too much cactus juice can drastically bring down the level of glucose in the blood, thus leading to hypoglycemia. Also, cactus juice should never be consumed in excess before an operation, since it makes it excessively difficult to control glucose and blood nutrient levels.

When consumed in regular, controlled amounts, cactus juice can be a healthy, delicious way to lose those extra pounds and to give your body the nutrients it needs!

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