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Cactus: Information and Health Benefits
December 10, 2016
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Cactus: Information and Health Benefits

What is a cactus?

Cactus (plural- cactuses or cacti) is from the family Cactaceae, which is composed of 1,500 to 2000 known species.

Cactus comes in different sizes and shapes. The largest cactus is the saguaro cactus that is as tall as 50 feet. The blossfeldia cactus is the smallest cactus in the world.

Cactus parts are the stem, the spines (modified leaves), its flower, and its fruit. The stem store, carry and transport water while maintaining its structure. The spines protect the cactus itself from predators. Cactus flower can be yellow, orange, red, purple or violet, blue and white.

The stem, flowers, and fruit of the cactuses are edible and nutritious to eat.

List of nutritional properties of cacti

Riboflavin                            Dietary Fiber

Vitamin A, B6, C, and K        Potassium

Calcium                               Manganese

Magnesium                          Dietary Fiber

 

Cactus plant health benefits

People usually grow cacti as a decoration in their backyard or in their houses. The first time we see a cactus with those intimidating spines, we cannot think of the possibility that it can be eaten.

However, science says that eating cactus gives a lot of nutrients and minerals to our body, which is excellent for our health.

The stem, leaves, flowers and fruits of cacti are edible.

*Nopal or prickly pear cactus is learned to have a fiber and pectin content that lowers cholesterol level. According to the researchers from the University of Vienna in 2002, a nopal cactus decreased 12% of cholesterol within 8 weeks from each male participant who had high cholesterol.

*Dr. Swapan Banerjee, a dietitian for Icliniq, a nutritionist, and a fitness expert, suggests that cactus (stem or fruit) can be used in treating diabetes or lowers blood sugar.

*Prickly pear cactus has anti- inflammatory property, which is believed to help in reducing free radical damages in our brain cells.

*Cactus fights cancer cells or even protects healthy cells from free radicals because of its antioxidant content.

*It helps in reducing weight because of its antioxidant property.

*It reduces hangover.

You can include cactuses on your daily diet for a healthier body.

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    1. A useful article detailing the medicinal values of the the cactus plant and its other parts. It is interesting to know that Cactus is edible and is good for health with the nutritional benefits mentioned in the article. As has been told many would know the benefits of aloevera but few know the benefits of cactus and treat it as an ornamental plant and a decorative piece. I have read about people collecting different varities of cactus plants as a hobby but I am sure they would not know the benefits mentioned in the article. I have not come across any product selling cactus and its benefits as in the case of other plant products like mushrooms and other ayurvedic products. Maybe the market has not developed to that extent. A article with food for thought.

       
    2. THANK YOU, KRISHNA. I WAS TOO WAS SURPRISE AFTER READING A BOOK ABOUT THE SAID PLANT AND THAT IT CAPTURES MY CURIOSITY SO I READ MORE OF IT. AT FIRST, I WAS NOT CONVINCE WITH THE IDEA THAT CACTUS PLANTS AND ITS DIFFERENT PARTS COULD BE EATEN, BUT AFTER GOOGLING IT, I FOUND OUT THAT IT IS PROBABLY CAN. SOME PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT PLACES AND COUNTRIES PROVEN THROUGH THEIR TESTIMONIES THAT CACTI ARE EDIBLE AND FULL OF GOOD NUTRIENTS FOR THE BODY.

      I HAVEN’T TRIED EATING THE STEM AND THE FLOWERS BUT I TRIED EATING SOME OF CACTUS FRUITS.

       

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