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Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pear cactus (Prickly Pear Juice) has long been a staple in the diet of indigenous peoples. They have consumed the pads, the flowers and the fruits in numerous ways, as food and as medicinal compounds. Modern science is beginning to prove the health benefits of this ancient plant, and products made from this plant are daily becoming more available.

Prickly pear juice is just one of the many forms in which this cactus has been used, and that juice is not confined to the rich red fruits; juice is also consumed from the ‘pads’ or stems themselves.

The pads, peeled and with the glochids or thorns removed, are prepared in the blender, either cooked or raw. The resulting prickly pear slurry is consumed as is or is included with other herbs, vegetables, or sweeteners to make it more palatable and to add an increased level of nutrition.

Prickly Pear Cactus

The ripe fruits, from dark red to purple in color and at their peak in August and September, can be juiced in the same way, making a nutritious, tasty drink, or made into many products, such as syrups and candies. Prickly pear juice made from the fruits is becoming increasingly popular as a health drink, because of its extremely nutritious quality and very attractive taste and appearance.

Prickly pear cactus, all parts of the plant, provides a high level of nutrition as well as a wide variety of health benefits. Current scientific studies indicate that this miraculous plant can support the nervous system and the glandular and immune systems, as well as the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. For example, prickly pear, or nopal has detoxifying properties and helps reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is an increasingly important medical problem, as many types of inflammation are becoming chronic, reducing the body’s ability to repair itself.

Chronic inflammation is seen in arthritic conditions, breathing difficulties and digestive disorders, to name a few. Chronic inflammation can go unnoticed for a long time, as the symptoms are not always visible. Simple fatigue can signal chronic inflammation, but many do not realize it.

When we lose weight, eat better and add nutritional supplements, we begin to reduce chronic inflammation. One of the most readily available means of supporting a healthier lifestyle can be supplementing the diet by adding prickly pear juice.

Its capacity to reduce inflammation is unparalleled in the plant kingdom, because of the extremely high concentration of antioxidants, especially all known varieties of betalains, an extremely effective antioxidant present in only a few plants.

A new product is available which blends science with delicious-tasting fruits and vegetables into a modern ‘health juice’ called Nopalea, by TriVita. This juice is based on the juice of the prickly pear cactus fruit, and includes extracts and concentrates from numerous natural plants that boost the health-giving components of Nopalea above that of nopal cactus health juice alone.

This drink has been shown to be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body. If you are seeking relief from chronic pain and inflammation, Nopalea could be the remedy you seek.

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