Friday, September 12, 2014

Benefits of Prickly Pear.

If you live or have visited the little Maltese islands, you most probably realized that it reigns supreme in Malta’s landscape. Although not a native of the Malta, nor the Mediterranean (its origins lie in South America), the Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian fig) certainly thrives throughout Malta and Gozo, and was introduced from the Americas into the Mediterranean region in the late 15th century

In tales about the West, the cactus is sometimes portrayed as a water-bearing plant that saves thirsting cowboys lost in the desert. But any hungry range rider worth his spurs would know that some types can provide right good eating, too, especially those known as Indian figs, nopales, prickly pears, or beaver tail cacti.

In fact, there are dozens of varieties of these hardy forageables. They're members of the genus Opuntia, which encompasses well over 200 species. These can be divided into two broad groups: the inedible—or at least basically unpalatable—cholla cacti (which have slender, rounded stems) and the edible prickly pears (distinguished by flat pads resembling beavers' tails).

Although in some countries is also considered as a pest, this luscious cactus a variety of benefits that might surprise a couple of our 'naturalist' followers..i'll talk about it in a second, but first...

In Mexico, the cacti are raised commercially, and the fruit (called tuna) and the edible pads (nopales) are marketed. YES, you read right, certain pads can actually be eaten..usually grilled..yumm..ouch !

Let us see the top 12 benefits of this wonderful gift of nature:

1. Control Overeating:
This is the greatest advantage wherein you can reduce glucose levels in the blood and avoid overeating habits. It is 100% natural and hence does not cause any side effects like other chemical based supplements that are consumed to control overeating.

2. Weight Gain:
Prickly pear fruit contains fiber that will make you feel full for longer hours and reduces hunger pangs. This helps in weight control effectively.

3. Hangover Effect:
This has the ability to reduce the hangover effect. Prickly pear juice reduces the production of inflammatory mediators that induce uncomfortable feeling during alcohol hangovers. This also reduces other symptoms like nausea and dry mouth.

4. Pancreatic Problems:
Prickly pear is very useful to get rid of pancreatic problems. This fibrous fruit is a colon cleanser that gives relief to the pancreatic sufferer.

5. Age-Related Vision Disorders:
This fruit contains flavonoids that prevent muscular degeneration and fight cataracts. This delivers blood and oxygen to the eye that helps to maintain healthy eye sight.

6. Anti-Inflammatory:
This fruit is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antihistamine. It also contains flavonoid that prevents the release of the compounds which help in inflammation of the joints and muscles caused due to gout, arthritis, exercise, fibromyalgia, and allergies.

7. Cancer:
Flavonoid compounds in prickly pear lowers the risk of some types of cancer like breast, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, and lungs. This also has the ability to remove free radicals and improves activities of pro-oxidant enzymes.

8. Cardiovascular:
Biologically active flavonoid in prickly pears normalizes the blood platelet stickiness, which helps to maintain good cardiovascular health.

9. Antioxidants:
The antioxidants react with free radicals that cause many chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and aging process. This also helps to maintain the glow of the skin and keep them healthy.

10. Glossy Hair:
You can use prickly pear oil to make your hair glossy. This oil can give you double fatty acids and protein than argan oil that helps for attaining shiny hair. Prickly pear also contains vitamin E, that conditions hair deeply.

11. Nail Health:
Prickly pear seed oil can be used to moisturise dry and damaged nail and restore the health of nails and cuticles.

12. Skin Health:
The seeds of this fruit are cold pressed to prepare a beauty oil that is anti-inflammatory. This is also known to heal cuts, wounds, and blemishes. It contains skin-softening vitamin E, and vitamin K to reduce dark circles. Prickly pear seed oil is an excellent choice for mature, aging or damaged skin.

MAKE YOUR OWN Hair Conditioner:
Peel the fruit
Cut into small chunks and put in water.
Cover and shake well.
Strain and use the liquid.
Massage the liquid onto the hair, and rinse.

This will make your hair healthy, silky and softer. This is also useful to protect hair from the scorching sun and rejuvenate heat-damaged hair.

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