Yes, I’m sure you are thinking of a multitude of tiny spikes floating through your drink, but the juice is actually quite delicious (and spike-free I might add). Nopal juice comes from the nopal cactus, and nopal juice can be quite tasty if made right. Prickly pear juice is made from the fruit of the cactus, and prickly pear cactus juice is delicious. The benefits of prickly pear juice and nopal juice are many, but you will have to get over your preconceived ideas of cactus first.
Most people think of cactus as a plant that only grows in the desert, thereby making it a thoroughly unappealing plant. However, did you know that cactus not only tastes delicious, but is one of the main side dishes served in countries like Mexico? You can get a lot of good from the cactus – especially the juice – so take a look below and find out everything you need to know about cactus in all its wonderfully delicious forms.
Why Cactus Juice – The Health Benefits
Juice from cactus contains all kinds of goodness, and you will find that drinking the juice is one of the best things that you can do. For example, a single cup contains:
• Just 14 calories, making it a very low fat juice
• 1.9 grams of dietary fiber that your body needs to have a healthy digestion
• 0.1 grams of fat, but all the good kind of fat
• 2.9 grams of carbohydrates that your body turns into energy
• 1 gram of sugar, but the healthy sugar that will keep your body working well
• 4.3 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids, which have more health benefits than you can imagine
• 37.8 grams of Omega 6 fatty acids which prevent bleeding and help the body respond to damage or stress
• 1.1 grams of protein, which helps to build muscles and strengthens your body
See what just a single cup of the juice contains?
You can also get a lot of Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin A from the juice.
Things to Know About Nopal Juice
Many people start taking nopal juice or cactus juice, and they are surprised when they don’t see any benefits right away. However, you need to remember that juice will only start working a few days to weeks after you start taking it. Some people will see improvements right away, but some people will only see improvements far later. The reason for this is that each natural supplement or product has a different effect on everyone, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while for the benefits of prickly pear juice (see below) to kick in
Don’t start out taking a whole lot of the juice, as it can be fairly strong if made properly. Usually between three and six ounces (90-170 g) of the juice is enough on a daily basis, as it will get to work dealing with your internal problems without causing negative side effects.
Many people quit their medication to start taking the juice, but most doctors will recommend that you keep taking the medication while you drink the juice, as it may take a while for the benefits to kick in.
All in all, Nopal Juice can be very effective at dealing with many issues (see Health Benefits below), but it is important to drink is correctly.
How to Make Nopal Cactus Juice Delicious
“So, juice made from cactus, huh? How do I make cactus taste good?”
If you are drinking the Nopal Cactus juice that is made from the cactus leaves themselves, you are going to have a fairly tasteless drink. Cactus tastes a lot like Aloe Vera juice, though the taste is much weaker than Aloe Vera. You can usually taste only a hint of cactus, while the juice is basically a milky, watery liquid.
If you want to make the juice delicious, you will find that mixing it with a sweet fruit is the way to go. For example, mixing it in with apple juice will make a frothy sweet juice that will pack a punch, or adding some orange juice to it may be a good idea. You can also find a recipe for a great juice on the page Juicing Recipes and mix the cactus juice with the homemade juice.
In addition, you can mix the juice in with lemon juice for a tangy, creamy lemonade. Cactus juice has a consistency of a slightly creamy water, and it will be a great addition to pretty much any drink. Find a sweeter fruit to add it to, as that will make it tasty without needing any sugar added.
The Joy of Prickly Pear Juice
Aside from its brief mention in The Jungle Book (Baloo sings “Bare Necessities” : If you pick a pawpaw, or a prickly pear…”), most people have never heard of the prickly pear. Unless you live near a desert (the south of the U.S., Mexico, or another Central American country), it is unlikely that you have heard of prickly pear either.
Let me start off by saying: it’s delicious. It tastes kind of like an apple crossed with a watermelon, but it is an enjoyable fruit. Rather than drinking the juice of the cactus leaves themselves, you can enjoy the fruit of the cactus: the prickly pear. It is a delicious fruit with lots of juice, and you can actually get a lot of delicious, sweet juice just by running a few prickly pears through a juicer.
Many people don’t really enjoy the taste of the cactus leaves so much, but the fruit of the cactus is incredibly delicious. It contains most of the water that the cactus sucks up from the ground, making it a refreshing choice for a juice. This juice is best when served ice cold, as it has a unique taste that you cannot get anywhere else.
What Are the Benefits of Prickly Pear Juice and Cactus?
Below you can find out how to make your own prickly pear juice, but first you need to know what the benefits of the prickly pear juice and juice from cactus are:
• Helps Your Digestive System – Both the cactus and the prickly pear contains lots of dietary fiber that aids in your digestion, but there are insoluble fibers that will stop your body from producing too much bile. There are nutrients that will help to prevent your body from absorbing fat and sugar, as well as balancing the levels of sugar in your blood. There are special vegetable proteins contained in the cactus that will help to get water out of the body’s tissue, thus preventing water retention,
• Fights Diabetes – All diabetics are worried about the levels of blood sugar in their body, but the natural sugars in the cactus leaves and prickly pears won’t mess with the blood sugar levels. It can actually help to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood, make your body more sensitive to insulin, and helps to infuse the blood cells with glucose to turn into energy.
• Strengthens Organs – The cactus leaves and prickly pears contain a lot of nutrients (as you can see above), and these nutrients go straight to the pancreas and liver in order to strengthen them. There are also 18 different amino acids in the leaves and fruit, all of which help to detoxify and strengthen the body.
• Improves Circulation — Nopal and prickly pear juice can help to get rid of the cholesterol in your body, which will help to improve your circulation naturally by cleaning out the arteries. The fiber and amino acids in the cactus will also prevent your body from absorbing too much sugar, will lower cholesterol levels, convert bad cholesterol into the good stuff, and protect the walls of your blood vessels from being damaged.
• Boosts Immunity – Phytochemicals are needed by your body to keep your immune system running, and cactus leaves and fruits are packed with these awesome nutrients. Some of the nutrients in the cactus can actually help to block the spread of cancer, as well as boost your immune system and make it more effective.
• Aids Weight Loss – If you are trying to lose weight, your hunger is your worst enemy. You will find that the fiber in the prickly pear and cactus will help to suppress your appetite, thus helping you fight off the desire to eat. It can help to get rid of the fatty buildups in your body, flush all the fat out of your body, and prevent water retention and cellulite from becoming a problem.
• Improves Nerve Function – Your entire nervous system is connected, and what happens in one part of your body will often manifest itself in another part. If you want to keep your nervous system functioning well, you will find that the cactus juice and prickly pear juice will be very effective. It helps to not only calm you down, but it helps to balance your nervous system and improve your mood.
Quite an amazing list of benefits from this simple desert plant and its fruit.
How to Make Your Own Prickly Pear Cactus Juice
Making your own prickly pear juice can be simple, though you will have to get your hands on the cactuses. If you don’t live in the south of the U.S. or in Mexico, you may find that it can be a problem. However, if you live in a place where there is a lot of desert and cactuses abound, here is how to make your own prickly pear juice:
1. Wear thick gloves, as the cactus and fruit both have spikes that hurt.
2. Use tongs to pick the spikes off, or use a knife to cut them off.
3. Peel the fruit, and make sure that the cactus leaves have all the spikes cut off them.
4. Place the peeled prickly pears in the juicer, and turn it on. Be wary of all the seeds, as they can jam the juicer if you press too hard.
5. Run the cactus through the juicer as well.
6. Drink your delicious juice.
As you can see, it is quite easy to make your own juice. However, don’t take the prickles for granted when you handle the fruit, as it can be incredibly hard to pick out the tiny spikes that will hurt like only a tiny cut or spike can.
If you want, you can also turn your juice into jam or jelly, and there really is no end to what you can do with this amazing plant.
Nopal Cactus and Prickly Pear Juice Side Effects
So, now we get down to the bad aspects of cactus and prickly pears. Yes, as with all plants and natural products, there is always the risk of negative side effects. What are they?
• There is a risk of mild side effects like nausea, diarrhea, bloating, head pains, and stomach pains. This only happens in a very small number of people, however, as the entire cactus is considered “Likely Safe” to eat or drink(if the spikes are removed properly).
• Those with diabetes should be careful when drinking cactus or prickly pear juice, as it has the tendency to lower blood sugar. This could cause hypoglycemia, so be wary if you have diabetes.
• Those going into surgery may want to avoid cactus juice or prickly pear juice for up to 2 weeks before the surgery, as it makes it difficult for the levels of blood sugar in your body to be controlled during the procedure.
• There are no known side effects of prickly pear and cactus on those that are pregnant or breast-feeding, but it’s always best to be wary and check with your doctor just in case.
Despite these possible side effects, there is almost nothing negative about cactus. It’s amazing what such a little, potentially painful (spiky!) plant can do to improve your health.
Want to learn more? Check out the other great and informative pages on this site: Juicing Recipes, Lemon Juice Diet, Prune Juice for Constipation, Juice cleanse, Aloe Vera Juice Benefits and the homepage Juicing for Weight Loss – the Benefits of Juicing.
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