The prickly pear, perhaps one of the most emblematic fruits of Mexico. It has enormous health benefits: it can be used as a natural alternative to antacids, to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and other therapeutic uses detailed in this article.
Scientific name of the prickly pear: Opuntia ficus-indica. It belongs to the family Cactaceae. The prickly pear is native to the American continent.
The countries producing fig of barbarism are:
Peru: In Peru, there are three types of prickly pears:
Mexico: Mexico has the largest variant of prickly pears that are:
The prickly pear plant is native to tropical and subtropical America. Nowadays, it is cultivated in every continent of our planet.
Cópil is the name of bremboge fig wine. In Nahuatl mythology, Copil, son of Coyolxauhqui, god Huitzilopochtli fought to avenge the death of his mother. Huitzilopochtli beheaded Copil and then he thrust his knife into the belly of the victim, introduced his hand and pulled out his beating heart, looked towards the setting sun and threw the heart in that direction. The heart flew into the air, becoming a fire projectile, which fell sharply to the bottom of the lake, killing a huge frog had been sleeping for about 400 years guarding an entrance to the underworld.
The huge dead frog was slowly floating on the surface of the lake and the contact with the air of his body was transformed into a stone island and the heart of Copil became in turn a prickly pear which sprouted a huge cactus.
The prickly pear has a nutritional value that distinguishes it from other fruits. It is rich in calcium, potassium and phosphorus and contains other minerals; It provides significant amounts of vitamin C and small amounts of several B vitamins. It contains about 15% of good quality carbohydrates. It is alkalinizing. The crust of the prickly pear represents 40 to 50% of the fruit, the pulp 40 to 50% and the seeds 5 to 10%.
Nutritional value per 100 gr:
Everyone relies on the benefits of prickly pear because it has excellent properties, for example being rich in amino acids, fiber, minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, being a food more than complete.
At the same time, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, laxative properties and the most recent discoveries: restorative properties. It contains betalin, which is considered an excellent aid to cancer prevention and stress reduction in addition to the most basic properties: to effectively fight the flu.
It is said that for more than 12000 years, the prickly pear has been used in medicine to treat diseases. But over the years, experiments have been made to certify the true benefits of prickly pear.
Probably one of the main needs 12,000 years ago was to find a way to soothe digestive pain. Prickly pear contains properties that improve digestion, treat constipation. It is also low in calories and improves the flow of urine by regulating digestion.
One of the main benefits of the prickly pears, result in a reduction of blood sugar. It is recommended to consume from people with excess cholesterol or diabetics because it increases the ability to use insulin. It is confirmed that consumption of 250 grams a day reduces cholesterol levels and increases glucose production.
Another important benefit of the prized fig of barbarism is the prevention of cardiovascular disease. This is because of the presence of an alkaloid called Cantina that helps in this important task.
Prickly pear has a set of compounds that can help lose weight.
First, the fibers can make the whole body feel and reduce the level of ghrelin (hunger hormone), which helps reduce overeating.
On the other hand, this plant has very little cholesterol and saturated fat, but it stimulates the proper functioning of the body without increasing the weight. Being rich in vitamin B6, riboflavin and thiamine, it also improves metabolic function and maximizes fat burning and food processing.
Phytochemicals, vitamin C, flavonoid compounds and several antioxidants found in prickly pears make them very beneficial to the immune system.
Antioxidants look for free radicals in the body and neutralize them before they can mutate healthy cells (their DNA) and turn them into cancer cells.
A byproduct of cellular metabolism is free radicals, which can cause different diseases through excessive build-up, including cancer. The presence of flavonoids and vitamin A in the prickly pear cactus has also been associated with a reduction in cancers of the skin, mouth and lungs.
The prickly pear includes calcium in its composition, which is fundamental in building strong bones and repairing bones after being damaged.
One of the main benefits of prickly pears for health is the vitamins and minerals it contains. Prickly pears contain riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6 and niacin, which are vital components of metabolism and the controlled and adequate functioning of enzymes throughout the body.
If the organ system and hormonal balance are optimized, the body works more efficiently, which helps to lose more weight, increase muscle growth and tone the body.
The prickly pear contains magnesium, which is a useful mineral to induce sleep in those who suffer from insomnia and improves chronic anxiety or anxiety. It causes an increase in serotonin, which leads to an increase in melatonin. It also has a mildly sedative effect, which reduces nerve function and soothes the body, helping to sleep.
Prickly pear is commonly used as a remedy for gastric ulcers. Recently, studies have verified these effects. Apparently, mucilage and fibrous material found in prickly pears inhibit the development of gastric ulcers and those caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. People who regularly suffer from this problem are advised to add this powerful plant to the diet to improve their quality of life.
Juice extracted from prickly pear leaves has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, including those associated with wounds, arthritis, muscle and joint surge. It is possible to apply the fig of barbarism topically on the affected area, in addition to consuming the plant itself to enjoy the effects as well.
The phytochemical and antioxidant characteristics of prickly pears make them an excellent ally against premature aging. It eliminates stains and wrinkles. Free radicals can seriously affect the skin and eating prickly pears can keep skin healthy, young and fresh.
Scientific research has drawn attention to a type of pigments called betalaines, present in prickly pears, whose antioxidant effect has been demonstrated. They identified two types of betalaines: yellow-orange betaxanthin (part of a compound called indicaxanthin) and purple-colored betacyanin (it should be noted that the white prickly pear also contains these substances). They also identified another set of barbaric fig compounds that contribute to the improvement of its antioxidant effects, namely: phenolic compounds, flavonoids and vitamin C. Several studies have demonstrated an anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effect. cancer marked by barbaric fig compounds. In study in test tubes, carried out in the department of biotechnology and food engineering of Monterrey, it has been observed that the fig juice of barbarism inhibits the development of cancer cells of the colon and the prostate. A neuroprotective effect has also been demonstrated and it has been observed that the prickly pear favors the secretion of bicarbonate at the gastric level, thus offering an antacid and protective effect of the gastric mucosa.
Betalaines, is higher in red and purple varieties than the yellow-orange and white varieties. It also varies according to the conditions of culture and the degree of maturity of the fig of barbarism.
Together, these studies have shown that consumption of prickly pears improves anti-oxidation in the body of healthy people, reduces the oxidation of fats in the blood (cholesterol and triglycerides), and increases the neutralization of free radicals.
Cited as an example, a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Palermo in Italy found that:
To corroborate these results in vivo, they conducted a study of 18 healthy people. The participants were divided into two groups that received 2 times a day for 2 weeks, either 250 gr of prickly pears or 75 mg of vitamin C (amount equivalent to that provided by 500g of prickly pear per day). A 6-week period was allowed in which the intake of both elements was interrupted and then the experiment was repeated but the groups were reversed: those who had ingested vitamin C were now consuming the prickly pear and vice versa.
Blood samples were analyzed at the beginning of the study and at the end of each two-week period.
The results obtained strongly encourage regular consumption of figs of barbarism during the season: indeed, the daily consumption of prickly pears produces:
In the last commentary of their article, the authors underline several points:
A practical and tasty way to consume prickly pears is to make juices, here are some suggestions:
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov : Cactus pear: a natural product in cancer chemoprevention
 https://www.organicfacts.net : 8 Surprising Prickly Pear Benefits
 http://www.stylecraze.com : 31 Top Benefits Of Prickly Pear (Nagfani) For Skin, Hair & Health
 http://healthyeating.sfgate.com : Prickly Pear Health Benefits
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