Pick a Prickly Pear for a taste surprise!  Remember Baloo from Jungle book?  “Now when you pick a paw paw/ Or a Prickly Pear/ And you prick a raw paw/ Well, next time beware/ Don’t pick the Prickly Pear by the paw…”  That was such a great movie, but I don’t know if you find many of these interesting fruits growing atop the Nopales cacti in the jungle, but they are worth searching out in your local supermarket!  Spread throughout North and South America, the Prickly Pear grows on the very edge of the spiny leaves of this hardy and imposing lowland cacti.  Oval in shape, the fruits have a wide color spectrum, ranging from yellow and light green to orange, pink and red depending on the ripeness and variety.

Prickly Pears are used as food, as well as medicinally throughout the world. With a wealth of nutrients and potential health benefits, this unusual fruit boasts:

  1. A unique nutrient composition:  With high levels of B-family vitamins, vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, and Copper, Prickly Pear is a tasty antioxidant, regulator of muscle and nerve function, and supporter of bone health.  
  2. A significant level of dietary fiber:  Before eating, it is essential to peel the Prickly Pear and remove all of the spines, or glochids.  They can be very painful if they lodge themselves in the gums and throat or even on the lips!  The inner fruit is a fantastic source of dietary fiber and can help regulate digestion.  Adequate fiber feeds the good bacteria in the gut and absorbs water to pass waste through for elimination.  Digestive health affects mood, energy, and immunity and decreases the chances of hemorrhoids and even colon cancer.
  3. An abundant antioxidant array:  Healthy immunity is the key to vitality and minimizing the chances of chronic disease and cancer.  Prickly Pears contain flavonoids, polyphenols, and betalains, all of which help to neutralize free radicals before they cause mutations in healthy cells.
  4. A non-dairy source of Calcium!  Calcium is required for a healthy heart, healthy muscles, and a healthy nervous system.  If your diet lacks Calcium, you are more likely to have osteoporosis, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol.  Vegans must be especially careful to consume plenty of of high-Calcium produce such as Prickly Pears.  

Also known as the “cactus pear,” Prickly Pears retain their nutrient content when stored in a cool, dark place and peeled immediately before consumption.  Once the fruit’s skin and thorn-like barbs are removed, the flesh can be eaten raw, roasted, grilled, or broiled.  It’s also delicious pureed in smoothies which retains the phytonutrient richness.  START SOMEWHERE today adding a new, whole food to your eating plan.  Pick a Prickly Pear and LIVE YOUNGER with fresh food, loaded with what your body needs to feel great.  You can do it.  I will help you!     

Pick a Prickly Pear

Pick a Prickly Pear