Cactus- fruit, vegetable or what? Cacti (plural for cactus), are actually called succulents, which are a member of the vegetable family. Even though nothing is typically vegetable-like about the cactus, making juice from it can have loads of benefits which reflect its true origins. Wondering what makes cactus juice so wonderful? Read on to find out.
What Is The Cactus?
There are hundreds of different varieties of cacti. For the purpose of making cactus juice, we typically use those belonging to the genus opuntia, though they are often referred to as prickly pear of nopales.
This variety of cactus is believed to be native to desert regions of the Americas, though they have since been introduced to many desert climates around the world.
On its own, cactus juice possesses a somewhat mildly bitter taste, which is why it is often combined with citrus to potentiate its taste profile.
Cactus Nutrition (per 100g)
Dietary Fiber-2.2 g
Folate- 3 µg
Pantothenic acid-0.167 mg
Vitamin C-9.5 mg
Vitamin A-460 IU
Vitamin K-5.3 µg
To make cactus juice, you need to remove spines, and boil the cactus pads. After boiling for 3-4 minutes, remove pads and scrape now soft pulp. At this point you can add citrus and coconut water for volume/flavor. Blend until smooth, then subsequently strain/sieve to obtain the juice. Chill and enjoy.
11 Amazing Benefits of Cactus Juice
1. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Consumption of cholesterol juice can help to reduce your cholesterol levels, especially when it comes to LDL and triglyceride levels. Cactus juice contains soluble fiber, which can promote the excretion of cholesterol by binding to bile acids. This removal then triggers usage of stored cholesterol and causes a net drop in serum levels.
Cactus juice is also effective at reducing absorption of dietary fat and in turn can reduce the likelihood of it having to be stored.
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Cactus juice is extremely low calorie, with a glass having an average of just 15 calories. However, even though it is very low in calories, this does not mean that it is without benefit. In fact, it possesses great appetitive suppressing properties which makes you consume less food over the course of the day.
Plus, it contains various B vitamin which are important in keeping your metabolic rate high. B vitamins also ensure that the food you consume are broken down and assimilated much more efficiently.
3. Supports Healthy Digestion
Cactus juice is very similar to aloe juice, with both having been used for centuries to address digestive issues such as acid reflux, diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, while its medicinal benefit is there, it also actively helps to promote digestion. It promotes the intestinal transit of food and waste material, and in turn decreases constipation risk.
It also helps nourish probiotic bacteria which play important roles in digestion and gastrointestinal health.
4. Reduces Cancer Risk
Cactus juice has shown great promise in helping to prevent several types of cancer, including those of the prostate and colon. Much of its potential lies in the presence of compound such as flavonols or carotenoids that reduce oxidative and inflammatory damage to cells and DNA. In turn, cancerous changes are not propagated.
More research is needed to investigate if the benefits are replicable for different types of cancer, but it wouldn’t hurt you to drink more starting today.
5. Helps With Diabetes Management
Cactus juice can help with the management of blood sugar, and by extension diabetes thanks to the effects it has on slowing the absorption of glucose from the intestinal tract. One of the main issues diabetics deal with is insulin desensitization due to frequent stimulation under the actions of glucose. By slowing the speed of absorption it can benefit glucose metabolism.
Cactus juice contains the soluble fiber pectin which expands its volume immensely in the presence of water and acts as a slowing agent for sugar.
6. May Reduce Blood Pressure
Cactus juice is an effective way to manage blood pressure levels thanks to the presence of generous potassium. Potassium acts as a natural vasodilator and can help to expand blood vessels in response to increased blood volume. Potassium also plays important roles in maintaining the flexibility of blood vessels, and overall fluid and electrolyte balance.
Not surprisingly, many thing can go wrong if a deficiency of this mineral opens up in your diet. Ensuring your potassium intake in supported with cactus juice in turn reduces your cardiac risk and likelihood of experiencing strokes or heart attacks.
7. Natural Hangover Cure
It can be exciting to learn that there are natural hangover cures, right? But before you get too excited, it is important to realize that it works best when alcohol is consumed in moderation. A hangover is associated with nausea, headaches and other adverse symptoms which are a result of alcohol metabolism and the byproducts it produces.
Cactus juice helps with removal of the metabolites of alcohol from the body, reduces liver strain following the processing of alcohol, and can prevent inflammation from occurring. It is still very important to hydrate sufficiently or these beneficial effects may not manifest at all.
8. Eases Menstrual Symptoms
Cactus juice can help you deal with pesky PMS symptoms such as bloating and water retention, as well as the cramping and spasms that are hated by all. Cactus juice by virtue of its potassium flushes excess fluid from the body and can mitigate the sensation of pressure caused by hormonal fluctuations.
It may also help with symptoms such as anxiety or sleeplessness experienced during the menses, a welcomed addition.
9. Improves Immune Function
Cactus juice stimulates immune function via several mechanisms. For one, by acting as nourishment for the probiotic bacteria residing in your digestive tract, you are supporting immune function by increasing bacterial colony size. These bacteria are one of the first line defense systems your body has against pathogens, though many people never realize this.
The juice is also teeming with anti-oxidants which help prevent oxidative damage to the important immune cells, and can stimulate the activity of white blood cells.
10. Benefits Skin Health
Cactus juice is very hydrating, and can even be applied to the skin as a moisturizer. Though this isn’t the primary way to use it, and also because aloe is better suited for use this way, cactus juice can improve the health of your skin significantly as well.
The vitamin A and C content of cactus juice also helps to support natural collagen synthesis, and buffer the effects of sun damage which in turn mean that you benefit from youthful looking skin.
11. Helps With Cognitive Function
Cactus juice can help you retain your cognitive functions thanks to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some amount of neuronal decline is normal as you age, but this can be accelerated under the influence of inflammatory processed.
The deposition of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain (which have an inflammatory component behind their development) are a key indicator of future or current deficits. Cactus juice can help you avoid or slow down the formation of these structural proteins.
Cactus juice may seem like more work to make than standard fruit or vegetable juices, but it is totally worth it. It has a refreshing property that makes you feel rejuvenated, and benefits your health in a multitude of ways, so why not have more?