Cactus juice, also known as nopales, nopalitos or prickly pear juice, is a popular beverage in Mexico, South America, India, the Middle East and parts of Europe. This beverage has recently caught on in popularity in the United States. Read below for the nutritional value and health benefits of cactus juice.
The fleshy oval leaves of the cactus plant have a sticky liquid that is similar to asparagus, green beans or green peppers. The nectar of this plant is composed of water, sugar and minerals.
The Nutritional Value of Cactus Juice
Cactus juice provides you with beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium and numerous other minerals and vitamins. Additionally, this fruit is rich in amino acids, specifically taurine. Taurine has antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which are beneficial to the body.
One cup of nopal cactus juice has:
- 14 calories
- 0.1 g of fat
- 2.9 g total carbohydrates
- 1.9 g fiber
- 1 g sugar
- 1.1 g protein
- 4.3 g Omega-3 fatty acids
- 37.8 mg Omega-6 fatty acids
This one-cup serving includes 393 IU of vitamin A, 8 mg vitamin C, 141 mg calcium, 45 mg magnesium, 14 mg phosphorus, 221 mg potassium and 18 mg sodium.
Health Benefits of Cactus Juice
Cactus juice has shown to help to prevent inflammation in the muscles, arteries, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular region.
Cactus juice has a laxative effect and has shown to effectively treat constipation. In addition to easing constipation, cactus juice can reduce inflammation in the urethra and bladder. This has shown to help reduce pain experienced by individuals with bladder infections and gallstones.
Cactus juice is a good source of photochemicals, which can help strengthen the body's immune system. Lab animals have shown to have a reduce tumor growth after ingesting cactus juice because of an increased immune system response.
Additionally, the nopal cactus has high levels of betalins, which are antioxidants. This antioxidant has shown to prevent premature aging, promote optimal cellular health, reduce inflammation and detoxify the human body.
The American Heart Association has conducted research examining the benefits of cactus juice in reducing cholesterol levels. Nopal cactus nectar is high in soluble fiber, which the American Heart Association has shown to help control or reduce cholesterol levels.
Cactus juice has shown to be an effective remedy for non-insulin diabetes. Research shows that cactus juice can help decrease and stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels. You can find cactus juice for sale on the Internet or find it at most local health food stores.
Consuming Cactus Juice
Cactus juice can be consumed straight, mixed with additional juices like grapefruit juice or used in preparations of jellies or candies.
Enjoy 1 to 2 tbsp of cactus juice up to three times a day to benefit from the numerous benefits provided by this fruit.