The Tuna Cactus, tasted /eaten raw is not extraordinary in taste, but is allegedly extraordinary in health benefits ( please watch out for miniscule stickers when you prepare it at home )! Only the Prickly Pear Nopal Cactus superfruit Opuntia Ficus Indica contains all 24 known betalains, a group of rare and potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants that heal.
The Nopal has been used since ancient times for food and many different medicinal purposes. It grows all over jamaica and is actually cultivated around the world, Nopal cactus is generally believed to be indigenous to North America, particularly Mexico. Not only for the Mexicans it is an important food source and is such an integral part of their culture that it appears on the Mexican flag. We at Harmony Gardens use the leaves and pickle them into a tasty peppersause himalayan salt brine and after aprox. 1 week soaking in there they are ready to be enjoyed ! We add then actually to all our dishes as it taste really delicious.
Nopal cactus as food
The Nopal cactus consists of fleshy oval pads, dark-colored fruit and in certain seasons, colorful flowers. The pads are called “nopalitas” and once stripped of their spines can be added to a variety of food dishes. They can be used fresh in salads, grilled, pickled, sautéed and even be used as filling in tacos and enchiladas. The Cactus leaf/ pads provide a great amount of beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, vitamin C and calcium.
The little redish cactus fruit,of the “tuna,” averages 2 to 4 inches in length and is shaped like an avocado has a sweet and juicy flesh can be eaten fresh or cooked. Pads and Nopal cactus fruit are good sources of dietary fiber to keep your colon always in good shape .
Stay always young whith Nopal Cactus Nopal Science Researchers at the University of Palermo reported in the August, 2004, edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that consuming prickly pear had a positive and complete effect on the body’s redox (oxidant/antioxidant) balance: "Our findings of improved body redox status suggest major benefits from diets including cactus pear, which may reduce the risk of age-related and degenerative diseases in which the level of body oxidative stress may play a pathogenic role."
Potential Health Benefits of the Leavesare made into an herbal infusion and consumed to help relieve constipation, reduce fevers and combat menstrual problems. The flesh of the cactus leaves are sometimes applied directly to minor cuts, burns and musculoskeletal injuries to stimulate healing and reduce pain, which is similar to how the aloe vera plant is used. Furthermore, the fresh sap from the cactus leaves is used as a natural cleaning shampoo and to eliminate dandruff and other scalp problems. The Prickly pear juice and tea contains a variety of nutrients and has been used as an indigenous medicinal plant for hundreds of years, and was always recommended for lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels! You can prepare a drink from the pealed and cut up leaves and soak them in spring water for 3 hours. strain it into a glass and drink it every morning on an empty stomach for best results! Diabetes The Nopal cactus has long been used in traditional Mexican folk medicine for treating diabetes for lowering blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, and American Indians used it for treating burns and skin irritations.
Some recommendations on Identification and DosingAccording to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, or NMCD, nopal cactus has been studied for diabetes in daily doses of 100 to 500 g of broiled stems, divided into three equal amounts and taken throughout the day. For treating benign prostatic hypertrophy, 500 mg of dried powdered flowers are taken three times daily, reports the NMCD. Nopal cactus is also used for obesity, high cholesterol, colitis, diarrhea, viral infections and benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. Other uses include alleviating inflammation and constipation. Some use a specific nopal cactus extract five hours before drinking alcohol to prevent a hangover. Effectiveness. Nopal cactus is also possibly effective for relieving symptoms of hangover from alcohol, especially nausea, loss of appetite and dry mouth. Considerations :Nopal cactus is considered as safe when taken in medicinal amounts for a short time, reports the NMCD. However, nopal cactus should be avoided within two weeks of surgery and during pregnancy or lactation.
Nopal cactus fruit as health aid
Traditionally, Nopal cactus fruit was used by indigenous peoples as medicine for a variety of health conditions. More recently, scientific research has show that when eaten, the Nopal cactus fruit can help protect the immune and nervous systems and protect against oxidative stress.
Nopal cactus fruit has been used for food and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Recent research on Nopal cactus fruit has shown a variety of health benefits.
Helps protect the immune system
Helps protect the nervous system
Helps protect against oxidative stress
The perfect Anti-inflammatory properties
Research unveiled that Nopal cactus fruit has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to rare and potent nutrients called betalains. Betalains are bioflavonoids in the quercetin family. Quercetin has been shown to protect against inflammation related to free radicals (unstable molecules in the body). Nopal cactus fruit is a rich source of quercetin. There are 24 known betalains in nature; some are found in beets and Rainbow Swiss chard, but Nopal cactus fruit contains the most concentrated amount of betalains found in nature.
Try Nopalea for yourself
Now, the power of the Nopal cactus fruit is available in Nopalea. Its nutrients can help the body reduce inflammation, detoxify and promote optimal cellular health. People who have consistently taken Nopalea have reported a variety of health benefits, including reduced aches and pains.
"People have been using the fruit and pads of prickly pear cactus for medicinal purposes for thousands of years," says Patti Milligan, corporate nutritionist for Sprouts markets in the Valley. "Then the science follows, and guess what? It makes sense."
The prickly pear fruit (known as tuna in Spanish) is a rich source of the mineral magnesium and the amino acid taurine, nutrients often cited as important to brain and heart health, she says.
It's also rich in flavonoids, antioxidants credited with keeping arteries healthy.
Raul Puente, curator of the living collection at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, says researchers in Mexico City added prickly pear pads - vegetables that taste like green beans and are slimy like okra, he says - to the diet of diabetics.
"After several weeks," he says, "they discovered that the level of glucose in the diabetics' blood was much lower than it was for diabetics in the control group, who didn't get nopales."
Puente, who wrote his college undergraduate and graduate theses on the prickly pear, continues to research the cactus.
In his native Mexico, prickly pear pills and powders are widely available, but the cactus is cultivated mainly as a source of food and appears to bestow the most health benefits when consumed in that form.
The low-calorie fruit is high in vitamin C, calcium and potassium, Milligan says, and has little sodium and no cholesterol or saturated fat. Poultices made from the cactus long have been used in some cultures to fight infection and speed healing of wounds, processes aided by the high vitamin C and flavonoid content.
"Prickly pear is a good source of fiber, too," she says, "and we all need more of that. It's similar to the soluble fiber that has been shown to sop up cholesterol. Interesting is that " The American Heart Association" has done research using the prickly pear to help manage cholesterol levels."