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7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating Cactus

7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating Cactus
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Deserts, sand, tumbleweeds and needles – that’s what comes to mind when you hear about cactus and it’s got a pretty bad rep among food lovers for the same reasons. Surprisingly, this prickly food is one of the healthiest things you can include in your daily diet, for it is rich in vitamins and nutrients while also serving a lot of additional benefits. Nopales (the cactus leaf, scientifically called Opuntia) is a food staple in Latin America served mostly with eggs, and salads because of its health benefits.

Rich in phyto-nutrients, cactus adds plethora of fiber to the body when consumed while also helping to reduce cholesterol and decrease sugar level to prevent diabetes. Even if you don’t live in the Wild West or don’t grow cactus at home, it’s readily available in markets and organic stores all over the country in sliced and diced or juiced and jam form to consume at your need.

Check out 7 surprising health benefits of eating cactus.

1. It lowers cholesterol

Cactus leaf has been found to lower cholesterol level in the body in research done at the University of Vienna. Researchers in France verified the same effect on 68 women, who after four weeks saw a decreased level of cholesterol and triglyceride levels in their body. This functional food is also related with the reduction of risks involved with heart problems.

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2. It cures diabetes

Elevation of the blood sugar level in the body leads to several illness including diabetes, stroke and heart diseases. Eating cactus leaf helps to decrease the blood sugar level in patients suffering from obesity and diabetes. Research done at the University of Vienna among 24 non-obese patients who consumed cactus leaf showed an 11 percent decrease in blood sugar level which proves its benefit to patients suffering from diabetes.

3. It fights cancer

Phenolics and flavonoids, two compounds with antioxidant properties are found to be contained by cactus leaf. These antioxidants help to protect healthy cells from damage by free radicals that are related with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In the June 2009 issue of “Plant Food for Human Nutrition”, it has been reported that cactus pear’s phytochemical compounds slowed growth of the cells in the colon, liver, breast and prostate cancer without having a negative impact on healthy cells.

4. It improves digestion

Eating cactus has also helped to improve the digestion process in humans. Nopales, helps in reducing cellulites while also enhancing the ability to retain water in the body to speed up bowel movement. This fiber rich food reduces carcinogens and enhances digestive health in humans.

5. It helps to reduce weight

Cactus is a low calorie food rich in amino acid, vitamins and minerals, which makes it beneficial for weight loss. Containing 17 amino acids, 8 being essential, it provides a good amount of energy and serves 16 calories per every 100g intake.

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6. It protects brain cells from damage

The steam and fruits of cactus has a compound quercetin 3-methyl, flavonoid which is considered as a powerful neuro-protector. This neuro-protector safeguards the neuron cells in the brain, thereby protecting brain cells from damage.

7. It reduces inflammation

Cactus is also said to possess anti-inflammation properties that fights against burns in muscles, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract and arteries. It has been found to possess bio-flavonoid quercetin which neutralizes cell damaging compounds and serves as analgesic with its anti-inflammatory properties. It also contain anti-ulcer properties that fight edema and restrict leukocyte migration.

How can we eat cactus?

Now that you know the benefits of eating cactus, you might be wondering how you can prepare cactus in your daily diet to stay healthy. Cactus pads and pear and cactus fruits are readily edible, however, they can be dry and woody in some cases making it bland while eating. There are several ways you can prepare cactus according to your taste and requirement, but some favorite ways are mentioned here below.

1. Grilled Cactus Pads

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Fried Cactus Pad

    Required: 1 pound cactus leaves, olive oil

    This can be a interesting meal to cook. All you need is a pound of cactus leaves and olive oil to prepare the grilled cactus pads. Scrub the cactus leaves and remove spines if present. Also cut the spined nodules with a potato peeler and remove all of them. Now, grill the leaves over wood fire or charcoal for 10 to 12 minutes and brush the leaves with oil occasionally on both sides while grilling.

    2. Scrambled Eggs Arizona Style

    Scrambled Eggs Arizona Style

      Required: 1 or 2 cactus leaves, 8 eggs, 1/4 pound cheese, Salt and pepper to taste

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      Another recipe including cactus is scrambled eggs Arizona style. You need to peel off the spiney nodules and scrub the cactus leaves before slicing them into small pieces. Now fry the leaves with butter for about 5 minutes and put it off the heat. Remove eggs from their shells and stir with shredded cheese in a mixing bowl together with cooked cactus leaves. Scramble it and serve warm.

      Featured photo credit: Prickly Pear Opuntia via pixabay.com

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      Grishma Giri

      Grishma Giri is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on July 12, 2021

      100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

      100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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      Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

      By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

      Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

      83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

        84 write random letter

          85 use a rubberband

            86 dorm smell bad

              87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                89 how to waterproof your shoes

                  90 take a picture of the name card

                    91 iron inside out

                      92 old newspaper

                        93 tumble try shoes

                          keep a card like this

                            SONY DSC

                              94 soap bar

                                95 make a hole

                                  96 drop the battery

                                    97 use a coozie

                                      98 when taking a picture

                                        use a clean dust pan

                                          try a pants hanger

                                            use your cellphone light

                                              use a spring from an old pen

                                                quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                  user binder clips

                                                    wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                      put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                        clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                          use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                            doritos are great for kindling

                                                              use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                  freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                    use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                      almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                        sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                          unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                            cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                              remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                  for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                    how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                      tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                        place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                          ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                            use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                              take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                  put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                    How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                      user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                        good sandwich guide

                                                                                                          turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                            50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                              the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                  38

                                                                                                                    hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                      stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                        the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                          how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                            the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                              use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                  user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                    a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                      rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                        use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                          50

                                                                                                                                            51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                              52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                  kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                    use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                      58

                                                                                                                                                        59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                          60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                            hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                              Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                  use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                    if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                      keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                        If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                          drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                            use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                              use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                  when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                    dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                      put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                        75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                          use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                            pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                              78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                  80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                    81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                      82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                        99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                          100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                            88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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