Dear Doctors Few among several Health benefits of Watermelon Watermelon: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values Despite popular belief that watermelon is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually considered a nutrient dense food, a food that provides a high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a low amount of calories. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like watermelon decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight. Asthma prevention: The risks for developing asthmaare lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables including watermelon. Blood pressure: A study published by the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extract supplementation reduced ankle blood pressure, brachial blood pressure and carotid wave reflection in obese middle-aged adults with prehypertension or stage 1hypertension and that watermelon extract improved arterial function. Diets rich in lycopene may help protect against heart disease. Cancer: As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, watermelon can help combat the formation of free radicals known to causecancer. Lycopene intake has been linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer prevention in several studies. Digestion and regularity: Watermelon, because of its water and fiber content, helps to preventconstipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Hydration: Made up of 92% water and full of important electrolytes, watermelon is a great snack to have on hand during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration. Inflammation: Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in watermelon that aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronicinflammation. Muscle soreness: Watermelon and watermelon juice have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time following exercise in athletes. Researchers believe this is likely do to the amino acid L-citrulline contained in watermelon. Skin: Watermelon is also great for your skin because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Thanks
Excellent post, sir. Watermelon is poor man's fruit available at low cost,with lot of benefits and prevents dehydration in summer. For patients with diabetes also, this is a good fruit of choice with low calories. Thanks for sharing the post, sir
good post seeds of watermelon has got diuretic effect so it's very much useful in treating ureteric calculus & in conditions where urine output is less.
helpful information dr... thanks for the useful information...
Very nice and informative posting. Thank you.
sir ...Nice and helpful information ...
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31 Top Benefits Of Prickly Pear (Nagfani) For Skin, Hair & Health stylecraze.com Oct 18, 2017 12:00 PM ￼ A fruit belonging to the cactus family that possesses a wide range of benefits. That’s what the prickly pear is. Do not be intimidated by its look as the fruit pulp is delicious, more than you’d expect it to be. It is often regarded as an excellent cure for a hangover. Let us look at this fruit in detail to know more about benefits of prickly pear, its nutrition profile and also simple ways to include it in your diet. Let’s get started! Table Of Contents What Is Prickly Pear? Prickly pear is a fruit that grows on the leaves of the Nopales cacti, belong to the genus Opuntia, it’s scientific name is Opuntia ficus-indica. It is also referred to as Nagfani in Hindi, Nagajemudu in Telugu, Kallimullpazham in Malayalam, and Dindla in Gujarati. The younger plants are edible and often part of the Mexican diet. The other edible parts of the prickly pear cactus are the flowers, stems, and the leaves. Widely known as “cactus pear”, prickly pear by different names in different countries and regions like Tuna, Nopal, Nopales, Barberry figs, Indian figs. Prickly pear is a cylindrical fruit that has a firm outer skin with barbs and softer inner flesh, which is edible. It is green initially and turns reddish-pink as it matures in most plants (1). It can be eaten raw, boiled, or grilled. It is also used to make juice and jams. These tasty, oval fruits sprout from the tops of prickly cactus leaves and range in various colors from deep red-green to yellow or purple. It’s taste is similar to watermelon/raspberries and it has cucumber-like fragrance. What Is The History Of Prickly Pear? Being a cactus, the prickly pear plant can survive in dry weather conditions. It is said to have originated in Mexico and the northern countries of South America, which fall under the arid to semi-arid climate categories. In these regions, it has been a diet staple for thousands of years. It was later found to be used in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent as well. With increasing popularity, prickly pear cacti are now cultivated in Europe and Australia too. The fruit is relished not just for its flavor but also for its health benefits. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties have made this thorny fruit popular. So, why are these fruits food for you? Why Are Prickly Pears Good For You? Prickly pear is rich in many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These make it a wonderful and healthy addition to your diet for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Their low cholesterol and saturated fat content make them a suitable option for many people across the globe who are suffering from obesity and heart disease. These versatile fruits are not a hassle to cut or prepare. If you have access to them, go ahead and purchase a few. Let us look at this fruit’s nutrition facts now. Prickly Pears Nutrition Facts When we talk about the nutritional value of prickly pear, it contains magnesium, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, potassium, and many other nutrients. Having one cup of this fruit can be a good source of a considerable part of the daily intake value of many vitamins and minerals. Bear in mind that the calcium found in this traditional desert plant may not be present in its biologically active form. It is present in the form of a non-absorbable complex (calcium oxalate). Nutrition Facts Serving Size 149g Amount Per ServingCalories 61Calories from Fat 6% Daily Value*Total Fat1g1%Saturated Fat 0g0%Trans FatCholesterol 0mg0%Sodium 7mg0mgTotal Carbohydrate 14g5%Dietary Fiber 5g21%SugarsProtien 1gVitamin A1%Vitamin C35%Calcium8%Iron2% Vitamins Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV Vitamin A64.1IU1%Vitamin C20.9mg35%Vitamin D––Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)––Vitamin K––Thiamin0.0mg1%Riboflavin0.1mg5%Niacin0.7mg3%Vitamin B60.1mg4%Folate8.9mcg2%Vitamin B120.0mcg0%Pantothenic Acid––Choline–Betaine–Vitamin C35%MineralsAmounts Per Selected Serving%DVCalcium83.4mg8%Iron0.4mg2%Magnesium127mg32%Phosphorus35.8mg4%Potassium328mg9%Sodium7.5mg0%Zinc0.2mg1%Copper0.1mg6%Manganese––Selenium0.9mcg1%Fluoride––Fats & Fatty AcidsAmounts Per Selected Serving%DVTotal Fat0.8g1%Saturated Fat0.1g0%Monounsaturated Fat0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat0.3gTotal trans fatty acids–Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids–Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids–Total Omega-3 fatty acids34.3mgTotal Omega-6 fatty acids277mg The amount of vitamin C present in one cup of prickly pear constitutes 35% of our daily value intake, whereas magnesium constitutes 32% of the DV. It is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are the healthy forms of fats that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Now that we have a brief understanding of the nutrients found in prickly pear cactus fruit, let us look what the presence of these nutrients implies. The many health benefits of this fruit are discussed below. What Are The Health Benefits Of Prickly Pear Cactus? Some of prickly pear health benefits include its ability to lower cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, improve the digestive process, fight cancer cells, decrease the risk of diabetes, boost the immune system and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. Read on to know more. 1. Potential Role In Weight Control ￼ Image: Shutterstock Obesity is a global epidemic and needs to be managed at the earliest. Instead of resorting to extreme measures like harmful medications or surgery, a simple solution to this problem could be consuming plenty of dietary fiber. Prickly pear fruit contains fiber that will make you feel full for longer and reduce hunger pangs. It also helps in the elimination of dietary fat by binding it and excreting it from the system. As the intestines do not get a chance to absorb the dietary fat, this fruit effectively helps in weight control and even weight loss (2). 2. Helps Lower Cholesterol Continuing on the weight loss tangent, prickly pear can also help reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood. Its fiber (pectin) content can be held responsible for this as it helps eliminate LDL cholesterol from the body. Experiments have shown that prickly pear can reduce both plasma levels and hepatic levels of cholesterol (3, 4). Also, certain phytosterols found in cactus seed oil can alter cholesterol metabolism in a positive way (5). Hyperlipidemia, the condition of high cholesterol levels, can also be brought under control. 3. Source Of Essential Micronutrients The essential micronutrients found in prickly pear are vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Of these, the highest % DV is held by vitamin C and magnesium (6). Consumption of one cup of this fruit on a regular basis can provide your body with these micronutrients that are required for various physiological and metabolic processes. 4. Fights Cancer Cells The flavonoid compounds in prickly pear lower the risk of breast, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, ovarian, cervical, and lung cancers. They were shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the lab and mice models. They also caused the death of these cancerous cells at higher concentrations (7). These compounds also have the ability to remove free radicals and improve the activities of pro-oxidant enzymes. 5. Prevents Ulcers Both physical and mental stress can cause changes in the gastrointestinal mucosa and result in gastric ulcers. Inflammation occurs as there is an increase in the pro-inflammatory compounds that damage the gastric wall. Prickly pear exerts a positive effect on the gastric mucosa, and this activity is mainly facilitated by a compound called betanin found in this fruit. The gastric mucus production is regulated, and there is also a reduction in the pro-inflammatory chemicals. As a result of this, the chances of developing ulcers are highly reduced by the consumption of prickly pear (8). 6. Blood Sugar Regulation ￼ Image: Shutterstock Cactus pear is often touted for its hypoglycemic activity. This means that the ingestion of this fruit or its extract can lower high blood glucose levels as well as maintain normal levels. Different experiments on both diabetic and antidiabetic rats have shown a decrease in blood glucose levels. The main mechanism of this reduction is a decrease in the intestinal absorption of glucose (9, 10). Prickly pear cactus fruit’s fiber and pectin content are considered responsible for this activity. Once the blood sugar levels are brought under control, type II diabetes can be managed easily. 7. Nopal Cactus Cleans The Colon The high fiber content of prickly pear not only helps in lowering blood sugar/glucose and cholesterol levels but also helps in regulating the general functioning of the colon. Enough glucose is absorbed, and unhealthy fats and excess bile are eliminated from the body. This keeps the colon in optimum health. The inflammation and oxidative stress that the colon is being subjected to are also alleviated. The antioxidants present in prickly pear eliminate the free radicals and inflammation-inducing compounds, thus cleansing and protecting the colon (11). 8. Soothes The Stomach In Mexico, prickly pear is commonly used as a dietary supplement. People consume prickly pear daily to regularize their bowel movements. This helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and prevents constipation. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of compounds found in cactus pear are also responsible for aiding stomach health and soothing it (12). 9. Protects The Liver We often consume carcinogens and other compounds that can damage the liver without realizing the damage they can cause. Here’s a solution. Consume prickly pear as a juice or in the form of jams or jellies to prevent liver damage. It contains plenty of antioxidants that can reduce the oxidative stress caused by such compounds on the liver. It exerts hepatoprotective activity that mainly involves eliminating free radicals and increasing the body’s antioxidant activity against these compounds (13). 10. Reduces Hangovers ￼ Image: Shutterstock This fruit has the ability to reduce the effects of a hangover. Prickly pear juice reduces the production of inflammatory mediators that induce the uncomfortable feeling during alcohol hangovers. It also reduces other symptoms like nausea and dry mouth (14). 11. Immune System Booster The vitamin C content of prickly pear is responsible for this particular health benefit. Vitamin C boosts the body’s immune response against various infections. It increases the production of white blood cells that undertake the process of killing and eliminating infectious microorganisms from the body. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant and reduces the free radical damage throughout the body. This also gives the immune system a boost (15, 16). 12. Reduces Risk Of Colon Cancer Prickly pear contains various types of antioxidants like flavonoids, quercetins, gallic acid, phenolic compounds, betacyanins, etc. The antioxidant activity of these was tested against colon cancer cell lines, and the viability of these cells was greatly affected by them (17). Quercetin, especially, plays a key role in the disruption of a certain pathway involved in the development of cancer cells (18). 13. Protects Against Heart Disease The fiber content of prickly pear helps reduce cholesterol levels in the body and maintain blood pressure. Hence, hypertension and bad cholesterol are brought under control. These factors are associated with atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and other heart diseases. Cactus fruit’s antioxidants also help to enhance cardiovascular health (19, 20). The biologically active flavonoids in prickly pears normalize the blood platelet stickiness, which helps to maintain good cardiovascular health (21). Hence, herbal doctors often recommend consuming prickly pear for alleviating cardiovascular disease. 14. Alleviates Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Prickly pear is rich in the mineral potassium. When ingested, this mineral can reduce the pressure on the blood vessels and lower the elevated blood pressure levels. Regular intake of prickly pear can maintain normal blood pressure levels and give relief from hypertension. The betalain found in this fruit also strengthens the inner walls of the blood vessels, further aiding in the promotion of cardiovascular health (22). 15. Osteoporosis Protection ￼ Image: Shutterstock This fruit is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antihistamine in nature. It also contains flavonoids that prevent the release of the compounds that help in inflammation of the joints and muscles caused due to gout, arthritis, exercise, fibromyalgia, and allergies. Osteoporosis, which is essentially an inflammatory disease, can be prevented and treated with prickly pear supplementation (23). 16. Stroke Prevention A decrease in total body fat and elevated cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure levels can all impact cardiovascular health in a very positive way. As these levels are reduced in the body, the risk of stroke or heart attack goes down (24, 25). 17. Reduces Frequency Of Migraine Headaches Migraine is a chronic inflammatory condition that is characterized by the presence of a severe headache (usually on one side of the head) with disturbances in digestion and vision. And to alleviate this inflammation, anti-inflammatory compounds are needed. These are found in abundance in the prickly pear fruit, especially the compound indicaxanthin. This is technically a dietary pigment that can reduce various pro-inflammatory factors in the body (26). If consumed frequently, this fruit can help people deal with migraines. It also reduces their intensity and frequency. 18. Alleviates Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Cramps, back pain, headaches, and breast tenderness are common symptoms that woman experience during PMS. Most of these symptoms are associated with an increase in the levels of prostaglandins (hormone-like chemicals) in the body. Prickly pear is known to inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins, thus alleviating PMS symptoms (27). 19. Strengthens Bones And Teeth Our teeth and bones are composed of calcium, and our diet is the only source of this mineral. The body obviously cannot synthesize calcium by itself. One cup of fresh prickly pear fruit contains 83 milligrams of calcium, which constitutes about 8% of the daily intake recommended by the FDA. This calcium intake will strengthen our bones and teeth (28). 20. Promotes Digestive Health ￼ Image: Shutterstock Fiber is an important part of our diet when it comes to digestive health. And prickly pear is loaded with fiber. This aids smooth digestion of various components of the food we eat and enhances the activity of the digestive enzymes. Additionally, the fiber from the fruit can help in the smooth elimination of wastes from the body (29). 21. Makes Your Nails Healthy Prickly pear seed oil can be used to moisturize dry and damaged nails and restore the health of the nails and cuticles. It contains moisturizing fatty acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. Small concentrations of other fatty acids are also found (30). What Are The Benefits Of Prickly Pear For The Skin? The seeds of this fruit are cold pressed to prepare a beauty oil. It possesses many properties that give it the following benefits: 22. Anti-Aging Properties It contains skin-softening vitamins E and K. It also contains a good amount of skin hydrating and nourishing fatty acids. These prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, thus making prickly pear oil a good anti-aging agent (30). 23. Anti-Inflammatory Agent This xerophytic plant’s oil has great inflammation-fighting capabilities because of the presence of anti-inflammatory compounds. The betalains and phenolic compounds exert this effect when the oil is applied topically on the skin. Swelling and irritation due to insect bites, scrapes, or inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis can be reduced by the application of this oil. 24. Brightens The Skin Tone This oil is also often used for its skin brightening properties. Linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid, not only nourishes the skin but also eliminates dullness. It also protects the skin from UV radiation (31). 25. Helps Achieve Smoother Skin It is super hydrating for dull and dry skin. Linoleic, oleic, and palmitic fatty acids, which are found in major proportions in prickly pear seed oil, supply the skin with the oils it lacks. 26. Heals Cuts, Wounds, And Blemishes Phenolic compounds are also found in good concentrations in prickly pear oil, which exert antioxidant effects on the skin and help repair damaged skin (32). Cut wounds, scars, and other blemishes that may have formed due to various reasons will start healing and fading over time. Apply this oil regularly to reap its healing benefits. 27. Reduces Dark Circles Dark circles under the eyes are formed due to many reasons. Lack of sleep, dehydration, and oxidative stress are the major factors that can cause your under eye area to become dull and get a bluish-purplish tinge. Prickly pear seed oil contains skin nourishing fatty acids that also possess skin brightening properties. In conjunction, these properties can help to lighten your dark circles. All of these properties make prickly pear seed oil an excellent choice for mature, aging, and/or damaged skin. Let us now look at the benefits of prickly pear for your hair. How Does Prickly Pear Benefit Your Hair? Both the fruit and the oil from its seeds can be used to smoothen hair texture, reduce hair fall, increase hair growth, and improve hair health overall. 28. Nourishes Hair We already know that the oil from the seeds of this cactus fruit contains plenty of fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that can benefit the skin. Similarly, these can also nourish the scalp and hair by providing the healthy oils they may be lacking. A special mention is required for prickly pear’s vitamin E content that can deeply condition the hair. 29. Makes Your Hair Shiny ￼ Image: Shutterstock You can use prickly pear oil to make your hair glossy. This oil can give you double the amount of fatty acids and protein than argan oil, which is a popular oil used for restoring the natural hair shine. 30. Reduces Hair Loss The pulp of this fruit is often added to hair care products as its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can give relief from many scalp conditions and, in turn, reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth (33, 34). 31. Natural Hair Conditioner Here’s a simple recipe to concoct your own hair conditioner at home using prickly pear cactus: You Will Need 1-2 large nopal cactus pads1/2 cucumber2-3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil1-2 tablespoons coconut milk (optional) What You Have To Do 1. Wash the cactus carefully and peel it to remove all the thorns and barbs. 2. Dice this into small squares and add chopped cucumber to it. 3. Add the olive oil and coconut milk and blend everything. 4. Apply this on the scalp and hair. 5. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and then rinse it off thoroughly. Make sure no residue remains in your hair. This cactus pear hair mask will make your hair healthy, silky, and soft. It is also useful to protect your hair from the scorching sun and rejuvenate heat-damaged hair. Those were the benefits of the fruit. Now, let’s see where you can buy these delectable fruits. Where To Buy Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit? Prickly pears can be easily found in regular grocery stores. If you cannot find them there, try the Mexican or Middle Eastern vegetable markets. See the next section to know how to make prickly pear a wonderful addition to your diet. How To Incorporate Prickly Pear Into Your Diet? ￼ Image: Shutterstock The prickly pear cactus plant has different parts that are edible. The pad of the cactus, which is often referred to as the nopal, is used as a vegetable in Mexican dishes. Its texture is similar to that of okra when cooked. It is boiled or grilled and is added to soups and salads mostly. Apart from the cactus pad, the fruit or the pear itself can be eaten. Like any other fruit, you can simply rinse it, peel it, and eat it fresh. The flowers of this plant are often used as garnishing or added to salads for extra flavor. Eating the prickly pear fruit is not a difficult process. All you need to do is peel the skin and eat the fleshy pulp present inside. Be careful of the spines when you are handling the fruit initially and the seeds when you are eating it. Many people also prepare jams and jellies from prickly pear fruit. If you do not have access to a store where you can purchase this fruit from, there are extracts available in the market. The dosage of these extracts would depend on the concentration, and it is best if the manufacturer’s recommendation is followed. Prickly pear water is also available in the market these days. This is prepared from the juice of the fruit and filtered water, along with some additional ingredients like lemon juice. Prickly pear is used in various forms to serve various purposes. These uses are given below. Uses Of Prickly Pear Cactus As A Supplement Due to its benefits for lowering blood sugar levels, supplements for type 2 diabetes patients have been designed. The extract is also used to lower cholesterol, target obesity, and lower the risk of heart disease. This supplement is available usually in a powder or a pill form. People also use the supplement before drinking alcohol to reduce the symptoms of an alcoholic hangover. Juice And Pulp The juice or the pulp (without seeds) of the prickly pear fruit is extracted to make jams and jellies. The juice, by itself, can be very tart. It is often added to lemonade or margaritas for that extra zing. To reduce the tartness and still benefit from this amazing xerophyte, jams and jellies are prepared. Medicinal Uses When it comes to usage in medicine, prickly pear is used in medications for: Type 2 diabetesHigh cholesterolObesityAlcohol hangoverHeart diseaseColitisDiarrheaViral infectionsBenign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) (35) Now that we covered the many uses of this fruit, it is also important to know how to select the best fruit and store it so that you can derive the maximum benefits. Read on to know how. How To Select And Store Cactus Pear Mid-August is considered the best time to harvest prickly pear cactus fruit. Once you have located a plant, follow these steps: Using a pair of tongs, gently pluck the fruit from the cactus pad. It should come off easily. Beware of the spines on the nopales and also the glochids (microscopic spines) on the fruit. Using gardening or leathergloves can help prevent any spines from piercing your skin.Transfer the fruits to a large, clean bowl or bucket. Make sure to leave at least one fruit per cactus pad so that your harvesting does not interfere with the plants’ reproduction process.Pick fruits that are ruby colored (or other colors seen in prickly pear). Do not pick the ones that are still green at the ends.Rinse the fruits with water thoroughly. Swirl them around gently while doing this to get rid of the spines. Cactus pear fruits remain ripe for about a week. They can also be refrigerated for 3-4 days in a plastic bag. Here is how you can cut and prepare prickly pear fruit. How To Eat Prickly Pear Cactus Rinse the fruit thoroughly in a colander using cold water. Keep swirling it around gently while doing this to get rid of the all the spines.Once all the spines have been removed, gently pat the fruit dry using a soft napkin.Take a sharp knife and cut the top and bottom parts of the fruit and discard them.Cut lengthwise to peel off the skin, similar to how you would peel an orange with a knife.Chop or slice the fruit, as per your preference, and eat it. Though the seeds are safe to ingest, many people prefer not to as they are too hard. If you are still confused about how to consume this exotic fruit, we have some simple but delicious recipes for you below. Any Prickly Pear Recipes? 1. Prickly Pear Lemonade ￼ Image: Shutterstock You Will Need 1 prickly pear2 tablespoons lemon juice1 cup water1/2 tablespoon sugar5-6 ice cubesMint leaves for garnishing Recipe Add the sugar and lemon juice to water and mix well.Cut the prickly pear in half and remove the pulp present inside. Add this to the lemonade.Blend all of these for 15-30 seconds.Strain the mixture to remove the seeds.Add ice cubes and drink this refreshing lemonade with a twist. 2. Prickly Pear Puree You Will Need Prickly pear Recipe Rinse and peel the fruit. De-seed it.Squash the flesh thoroughly for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth puree.Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 3. Prickly Pear Ice Cream You Will Need 1 cup prickly pear juice1/8 cup lemon juice1 quart half and half1 teaspoon sea salt2 cups sugar1 teaspoon tangerine zestA pinch of lemon zest Recipe Combine all the ingredients and pour into an ice cream maker.Let it run for about 20 minutes.Freeze the ice cream overnight or for at least six hours. 4. Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly You Will Need 2 1/2 lbs prickly pear fruit3-4 tablespoons lemon juice2 cups sugarPeel of half a lemonWater Recipe Singe off the spines on the fruit and carefully peel them.Cut into inch-long chunks and transfer to a pot. Add enough water to cover the entire fruit.Bring this to a boil and then let it simmer for 10 minutes.Strain this using a cheesecloth to remove all the seeds. Use a wooden spoon to mash the pulp and get all the juice from it.To this prickly pear juice, add the lemon juice, sugar, and lemon peel.Cook this at high heat and keep stirring regularly until you get a jelly consistency.Store in airtight jars in the refrigerator for up to six months. Let me now summarize some key facts about prickly pear for you. What Are The Facts About Prickly Pear I Need To Know? Prickly pear is also known as the nopal cactus and has flat, oval green leaves called pads, which are covered in spines.The fruits arise from the top of the cactus pads and are edible.This fruit, which is also called as the cactus pear, cactus fig or tuna, is usually red.Prickly pear is rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and omega fatty acids. It contains zero cholesterol.Even the pads of this plant are edible. They are commonly used in soups and salads.The fruits can be ingested by themselves or in the form of juice, jams, jellies, and even candy.Cactus fig is beneficial for the treatment of many ailments like high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and stomach issues. Even though this fruit has plenty of benefits, it can, at times, cause reactions in a few people. Here are the side effects experienced. Side Effects Of Prickly Pear Cactus Upset stomach, diarrhea, bloating, and headache are the most common side effects noticed (36).Nasal inflammation or asthma can be caused due to an allergy to it.Eating broiled nopal stem can have an extreme hypoglycemic effect. This is not seen when raw stems or ripe fruit are eaten.It can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb certain medications due to its diuretic properties.Pregnant or women who are breastfeeding should not intake prickly pear in any form as it can interfere with the fetus’ or child’s development. Let us now look at some of the commonly asked questions by our readers about prickly pear. Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions What can reduce the skin irritation caused by prickly pear contact? The spines (glochids) present on prickly pear can come in contact with the skin and at times, cause allergic reactions such as hives. These usually subside within an hour or so. If the spines have pierced the skin, carefully pluck them using tweezers or cellophane tape. To reduce the itching and irritation, you can use over-the-counter steroids or antihistamines. Does prickly pear/tuna increase hemoglobin? Is it safe to consume? Prickly pear has been known to increase hemoglobin. However, there is no clinical proof for this. However, it is absolutely safe to consume. So, go ahead and try it. Does prickly pear cause constipation? Prickly pear is often used to relieve constipation because of its fiber content. Irrespective of this, excessive intake can actually cause constipation because of the high amount of fiber blocking the intestines. Hence, it is best to consume it in moderate amounts. How to prune prickly pear cactus? Pruning is best done in spring or late summer to remove damaged, poorly formed, or excessive cactus pads. Using protective hand gear and clothing, carefully trim the pads at their bases. It might be best to cut off some of the top parts of the pads first to get better access to the base. If you are unsure about pruning the plant yourself or the cactus has grown out too much, get professional help. Are all prickly pear cactus edible? What kind of cactus is edible? The genus Opuntia consists of different species of cacti that are edible. You can identify these plants by their oval, flattened, green, and spine covered pads. The prickly pear cactus (O. Ficus-indica) is the most commonly eaten species. How many calories are in cactus pears? One cup of cactus pear contains around 61 calories. Is a cactus a fruit or a vegetable? The prickly pear cactus is one of those plants that is a vegetable and a fruit. The green pads are the vegetable whereas the red pear is the fruit. Have you ever tried prickly pear fruit? Or have you had a chance to have one of those delicious Mexican dishes with the cactus pads in it? Share your experience with us in the comments section. Stay healthy! Recommended Articles:Dr. Tapan Kumar Sau3 Likes11 Answers
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Surprising Health Benefits Of Horse Gram (Kulthi) fashionlady.in Aug 18, 2017 5:57 PM ￼ Horse gram is a miracle super food and the food is widely consumed as a staple diet in the southern parts of India. Horse gram is rich in nutrients and have plenty of minerals too- phosphorus, calcium, protein and iron. Hence it is known to be very beneficial for human health, as much as it is useful for animal health too. What is Horse Gram or Kulthi? Scientifically called Macrotyloma uniflorum, horse gram according to the USDA says that the dark brown lentil which is flat and round in shape is known to bring us humans a lot of therapeutic properties. And this is exactly what we are going to talk about today. So please read on and be well informed. Learn about the benefits of horse gram, what it gives the body, the side effects and more. Take a look! Names in different languages VernacularBengaliKulthi, Kulttho-kalai. KutthiKannadaHurali/ Hurule.EnglishMadras horse-gram,HindiKulthiMaithaliMuthenifSanskritRahitha, Culutu,GujaratiMarathi Kulitha, KulthaPanjabRarat, 聽BotangKumaun Himalaya and GadhwalGahethTamilKolluTeluguWalawalli, Ulava, vulavalu.Marathikulitha, hulageArabHabulakultaKonkaniKulithu Nutritional Value of Horse Gram Here is the nutritional fact for 100 gm of this legume: NutrientsAmountsEnergy321聽 EcalsMoisture12 gmProtein22 gmFat0 gmMineral3 gmFiber5 gmCarbohydrates57 gmCalcium287 mgPhosphorous311 mgIron7 mg Here is what the esteemed NCBI research organization has to say about horse gram nutrition benefits: “Horse gram is an underutilized pulse crop grown in wide range of adverse climatic conditions. It occupies an important place in human nutrition and has rich source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Besides nutritional importance, it has been linked to reduced risk of various diseases due to presence of non-nutritive bioactive substances. These bioactive substances such as phytic acid, phenolic acid, fiber, enzymatic/proteinase inhibitors have significant metabolic and/or physiological effects. The importance of horse gram was well recognized by the folk/alternative/traditional medicine as a potential therapeutic agent to treat kidney stones, urinary diseases, piles, common cold, throat infection, fever etc. The inception of nutraceutical concept and increasing health consciousness the demand of nutraceutical and functional food is increased. In recent years, isolation and utilization of potential antioxidants from legumes including horse gram are increased as it decreases the risk of intestinal diseases, diabetes, coronary heart disease, prevention of dental caries etc. Keeping in view the increasing demand of food having nutraceutical values, the present review ascribed with recent scientific knowledge towards the possibilities of exploring the horse gram, as a source of food and nutraceuticals compounds.” Now let us take a very good look and learn more about the benefits of horse gram for our overall health! Horse Gram Benefits: 1. Common Cold and fever Common cold and fevers happen to us when the body’s immunity system is attacked and when the viruses house themselves in our bodies. For this, the ancient scholars of ayurveda have recommended the consumption of horse gram when you have fever, coughs and cold, bronchial problems and asthma too. Horse gram should be consumed as soups, which helps relieve the congestion and makes the nasal tracts open up by allowing the mucus membranes to soften up and melt. This helps with easy breathing since the required nutrients are boosting the metabolism of the body and the immunity too. 2. Digestion After a hearty meal, should you feel acidic or don’t feel easy on the stomach within minutes to an hour or more; chances are you are suffering from indigestion pangs. This can lead to issues such as GERD and acid reflux, and this is what can make you feel uncomfortable too. This is why, horse gram is recommended to be had the first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This helps stimulate the digestive tract and makes digestion an easy affair. 3. Weight Loss In Ayurveda it is said, if one consumes horse gram every day, weight loss happens for sure. This is only when you consume horse gram in powder form, and to this shall be added a dash of cumin seeds. The two should be mixed in a glass of water and drunk twice a day on an empty stomach at your own ease. Some prefer not to have horse gram for weight loss in this form, which is fine. In such cases, the legume can be had soaked and raw, or mixed with pepper and bengal gram to form a crunchy salad and eaten. ￼ 4. Diabetes According to sources from THE HINDU, a leading national daily, “Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found that unprocessed raw horse gram seeds not only possess anti-hyperglycemic properties but also have qualities which reduce insulin resistance.” . This is possible since horse gram has the power to exhibit ways to combat the formation of hyperglycemic properties in the body. In turn, horse gram helps bring down insulin resistance in the body too. Blood glucose levels are brought down and controlled, and it can help reduce the carb digestion rates as well, in turn bringing down the levels of blood glucose too. This is why it is used as a super food to treat type 2 diabetes in most cases. 5. Asthma and Bronchitis The esteemed researchers at NCBI say “After critical assessment of nutritional and therapeutic aspect of horse gram, it can now be concluded that-it is a rich source of nutrient and antinutrient content. The nutritional value of horse gram is comparable with other pulse crop. Horse gram has high levels of antioxidant and radical scavenging activities in addition to their traditional role of providing proteins and carbohydrates. It has rich source of various natural bioactive substances such as phytic acid, fiber, phenolic acid etc. These bioactive substances have immense potential for curing varieties of diseases such as common cold, throat infection, fever, urinary stones, asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma, etc. BBIs, the proteinase inhibitors have been identified to treat anti-inflammatory, obesity and several degenerative and autoimmune diseases. However, there is a dearth of information on the specific health beneficial components in this lesser known legume. Thus, considering its immense potential as health benefit it needs to exploit as a source of nutraceutical and food industries.” 6. Menstrual Disturbances Menses problems are very harrowing, and unless one has them, one would not know how painful and energy draining it can be. Once again, you can either have the soup of horse gram for relief or have salads which would have horse gram in them, which helps bring down the levels of irritation associated with menstrual disturbances. When you have irregular menstrual cycles or excessive bleeding, it is the high iron content in horse gram which will help maintain the levels of hemoglobin in the body. This is why, holistic experts recommend horse gram to women with menses issues. 7. Leucorrhea Women suffering from Leucorrhea have a tough time managing their sanitation needs. Leucorrhea is known to be a common and a normal discharge from the vagina. It can have a change in its consistency or color, and often is associated with pains, infection and inflammation around the cervix and the vagina too. This happens when there is an irritation to the lining of the membrane, and the discharge can be foul smelling or thick, with a quantity increase when puberty hits or when sexual arousal is at its peak. Ayurveda opines, one should soak a handful of horse gram overnight in a bowl of water, and boil it the next day. This water should be consumed thrice a day to treat symptoms of leucorrhea. ￼ 8. Constipation If you have been sitting on the pot for too long and have no luck in releasing the bowels each morning, you are then a victim of constipation. Constipation can be caused because of a lack of fibre in the diet, lack of water intake, lack of minerals and also due to a unhealthy lifestyle, stress and many more reasons. This happens when the intestines and the stomach lining just above the duedoneum are not in a position to expand and contract normally for the waste matter to get released. Since horse gram has powerful nutrients in it and also has plenty of fibre too, it can help combat the problems of constipation. Horse gram in such cases should be pre-soaked and eaten as a salad embellishment in raw form. 9. Kidney stones Sources say, the consumption of horse gram on a daily basis can actually help bring down the occurrence of kidney stones or remove the same from the body too. Kidney stones are basically a concotion of a compound known as calcium oxalate. And horse gram can actually get kidney stones removed overnight. This is because, horse gram is rich in iron and has a high content of polyphenols in it as well. In addition to that, the antioxidant levels are high in kidney stones too. What one needs to do is to soak a cup of horse gram in a bowl of water and to consume it raw the next morning. Doing this for a week it seems shows good results. 10. Urinary Discharge Women suffering from urinary discharge can suffer from embarrassment too. This is especially when urinary discharge is thick, inconsistent at times, foul smelling and continuous in some cases. There could be pains, infection and inflammation around the cervix and the vagina too. This happens when there is an irritation to the lining of the membrane, and the discharge can be foul smelling or thick, with a quantity increase when puberty hits or when sexual arousal is at its peak. Ayurveda opines, one should soak a handful of horse gram overnight in a bowl of water, and boil it the next day. This water should be consumed thrice a day to treat symptoms of the same. 11. Ulcers In Ayurveda, it is said horse gram can be very beneficial in treating various forms of ulcers, but NOT GASTRIC ULCERS. There are lipids in horse gram that come in very handy when the legume is consumed by those that suffer from peptic and mouth ulcers. Research and studies on the same have been done on rats and the animals have healed, and the same have been done on humans too and the results were positive. Even in ayurveda, it is shown that mashed horse gram when consumed twice a day releases the lipids much needed for the body to heal itself from the ulcers. 12. Piles Piles happen when the veins in the rectum swell up and turn inflamed or painful. Instead of rushing to the pharmacy for medication and treatment, holistic experts suggest the use of horse gram. Soak a cup of horse gram overnight and consume the water the next day, and eat the horse gram raw as a salad embellishment too. The roughage in it along with the fibre helps treat piles. 13. Diarrhea Since horse gram has plenty of fibre in it, it helps with digestion and soaking up excess fluids from the intestine and the stomach. This brings down the occurrence of diarrhea and loose motion, and allows normal bowel movements to happen. One should have a handful of pre-soaked horse gram legumes early each morning, which stimulates the digestive system to work better. ￼ 14. Hemorrhage and Hemorrhoids NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON HOW IT WORKS 15. Skin Rashes and Boils Horse gram can be used very well as a topical face pack to treat rashes, boils and disorders of the skin to some extent as well. This is because it is antimicrobial and antibacterial, and has plenty of antioxidants in it along with minerals to nourish, replicate the healthy lipid layers of the skin and more. Crush a handful of pre-soaked seeds overnight, and apply it as a face pack the next day. Wait for half an hour and gently wash off with cold water. This would help exfoliate the dirt, grime, dead skin cells and also provide collagen boost to the skin and protect the skin from further harm and free radical attacks. 16. Cholesterol Horse gram helps bring down the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, says medical research studies. The bad cholesterol levels that have been stuck in the veins would be eliminated when horse gram is consumed, thanks to the levels of lipids in it that work its magic. One should consume a handful of pre-soaked horse gram seeds twice a day on an empty stomach, so that the lipid levels work at their best and cleanse the veins off the bad cholesterol levels or the LDL levels in the blood. 17. Conjunctivitis You can use rose water to wash your eyes with when you suffer from conjunctivitis, or what you could do is to pre-soak a handful of horse gram seeds overnight. The next morning, strain the seeds and use the water to wash your eyes with it. The antioxidant levels in the water would help combat the infection and keep the eyes soothed and calm, sans the irritation. Thrice a day the water should be used to wash the eyes with. ￼ Now that you know how horse gram has multiple benefits for the various needs of our body, let’s learn about how to use the same. Take a look! How to use Horse gram? When using horsegram, always remember that the legume can be heat producing for the body and that is why holistic experts ask you to have it with buttermilk or cumin seeds, so that the heat of the body can be balanced. You can consume horse gram twice a day, either by powdering the roasted seeds or by consuming the same as soup or with buttermilk. There are many tasty recipes for you to indulge in with horse gram, and they also bring in the benefits desired too. For soups Ingredients A cup of horse gram seedsSome curry leavesA green chill and a red chilliCooking oil and tamarind paste Preparation Pre-soak the seeds overnightNext morning cook until the seeds are softRemove the cooked seeds and cool offGrind seeds into pasteIn a pan heat the oil and the rest of the condimentsAdd tamarind paste and fryAdd a cup of waterAdd the paste of horsegram seedsStir for twenty minutes until a thick soup is formedGarnish with basil and coriander leaves and serve hot ￼ If you want to powder it Ingredients A cup of horse gram seedsTen red dry chilliesA teaspoon of cumin, black pepper seeds eachFour tablespoons of tur dal and urad dalA teaspoon of salt Preparation Dry and roast the seeds and keep asideDry and roast the dals until the color of the two changesDry roast the remaining spicesGrind everything together to form a powderAdd the salt and grind again until a coarse powder is formedStore in airtight container. ￼ If you like curries Ingredients Half a cup of pre-soaked horse gram seedsHalf a teaspoon each of coriander powder, black pepper, cumin and red chilli seeds each.A pinch of asafoetidaA tablespoon of coconut powderA small onion choppedHalf a teaspoon each of tamarind juice, mustard seeds, gheeCurry leaves and salt as per taste Preparation Dry roast all the dry ingredients on low flameAdd the onions and coconut powder and dry roast againAdd a little water and make a smooth pasteAdd the horse gram seeds and cook in itTamper the curry with tamarind juice and mustard seedsAdd salt and curry leavesGarnish with coriander and serve hot ￼ If you like porridge Ingredients Half a cup of horse gram seedsHalf a cup of moong dalGarlic pods to tasteCoconut powder to tasteSalt to taste Preparation Dry roast the coconut powder, moong dal and horse gram seeds.Remove from flame and dry grind to a coarse powderPlace the powder in a pressure cooker and add waterAdd the garlic and curry leaves and saltCook for ten minutes on pressureGarnish with coriander and serve hot ￼ Spicy water Spicy water is best for coughs, colds and fevers and bronchial issues too. What you need to do is to dry roast the seeds and add salt and asafetida to it. Dry grind them all and make a powder. Store it in a container and mix a teaspoon of it with warm water to drink twice a day. It helps with coughs and colds. If you want to lose weight, have it with buttermilk and cumin seeds twice a day too. We thus gave you ways on how to use horse gram the easiest way at home. Now let’s take a look at the side effects and who should not have horsegram seeds at all. Please read on and be well-informed. Side Effects and Risk Factors Please note, consuming horse gram is good and has benefits for the body, but there are side-effects to be wary about. Here we list some of them for your perusal and information. If you suffer from gastric ulcers and hyperacidity, you should not consume horse gram seeds since it would worsen the conditionHorse gram seeds according to ayurveda can worsen cases of bleeding problems. If you suffer from heavy periods, consult your doctor first and then consume horse gram seeds.If you suffer from a case of gout, horse gram is to be avoided as well. Ayurveda says it harms the rakta dhatu cycle.If you consume medication for anemia, horse gram should be avoided since it is a contra indicationFor liver issues and excess bile production issues, you should not consume horse gramExpectant mothers are asked to stay away from horse gram tooIf you have plethora and TB, you should not have horse gram as well These were the reasons why we asked you to be wary about horse gram consumption. Now let’s get more tips on horse gram benefits and consumption to make it easier to understand. Tips If you have localized swelling, the paste of horse gram can be used for relief. It is this paste that stimulates the cells and helps with sweating, by opening the pores of the skin and pushing the toxins out through it.To get relief from hiccups, burn a few horse gram seeds and inhale the smoke. It gives relief in a jiffyTo treat renal calculi, use the powder of horse gram seeds everyday. Consult a holistic expert on the dosage as per your body type for the same.To treat intestinal worms and piles or constipation too, horse gram seeds should be pasted and eatenBoil horse gram in water and drink the water, to bring down fever, coughs and coldsPaste boiled horse gram seeds and pepper and eat it, to bring down cough, cold and asthma problems ￼ Now we know that horse gram is a superfood quite bonafide. It is a special class of food that is nutrient dense and has a great load of antioxidants in them along with plenty of protein; the latter being more than what you would otherwise find in veggies. And since it has plenty of digestible starch in it, it is best for diabetics too, and for those that want to lose weight as well. What more do we need? We hope this mini guide on the many uses and benefits of using horse gram comes in handy. Report a problemDr. Tapan Kumar Sau4 Likes15 Answers
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Know your Vegetables and Fruits Tomatoes are packed full of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants and are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid.Dr. M V Subramanyam4 Likes16 Answers
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Health Benefits of Bael Fruit: The Bael fruit benefits are mentioned below. 1. Can cure diarrhoea, cholera, haemorrhoids, vitiligo: The presence of tannin in the bael fruit helps in curing diseases like diarrhoea and cholera. The dried powder of the fruit is used to treat chronic diarrhoea. The extract of unripe bael fruit can effectively treat haemorrhoids and vitiligo. It is also used to treat anaemia, ear and eye disorders. In ancient days, the dried powder of raw bael mixed with turmeric and ghee was applied on fractured bones to treat fracture. 2. Reduces gastric ulcer: Bael has certain phenolic compounds containing anti-oxidants that help in fighting gastric ulcers, particularly, gastroduodenal ulcers. This type of ulcer is caused due to the imbalance in the acidic level in the stomach. 3. Antimicrobial property: Researchers have proved that the extract of bael fruit has antimicrobial functions. It also has anti viral and anti fungal properties that help in treating various infections in the body. 4. Can cure scurvy: Scurvy disease is caused due to the deficiencyof vitamin C and this effects the blood vessels. Bael being a rich source of vitamins is capable of curing this disease when added to the diet. 5. Can control cholesterol: The extract of bael leaf can be used to control the cholesterol level in blood which makes the bael leaves highly therapeutic too. 6. Can solve respiratory problems: The oil extracts from bael can be used to cure respiratory disorders like asthma or cold. This oil can also provide resistance to cold when applied on the scalp before a head bath. 7. Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation can be quickly cured when the extract of bael is applied on the inflamed region. 8. Can be used to treat heart diseases: The juice of ripe bael fruit when mixed with ghee and added to daily diet prevents heart diseases. This is a traditional method which has been used for ages to treat diseases like heart strokes and attacks. 9. Can prevent constipation: Bael fruit is said to be the best natural medicine to cure constipation. Adding small amount of black pepper and salt to the pulp and consuming it regularly removes toxins from the intestines. It can also be taken in the form of sherbet to cure constipation. 10. Can control diabetes: Bael is rich in laxatives which makes it useful in controlling the blood sugar levels. This is because it energizes the pancreas and makes it produce enough amount of insulin which is necessary to control sugar level in the blood. Caution 1. Too much bael consumption can cause stomach upsets and constipation 2. Bael can be harmful for pregnant women. Avoid bael during pregnancy.Dr. A. Noushin Shama8 Likes16 Answers
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20 Best Benefits Of Cilantro (Dhaniya) For Skin, Hair And Health stylecraze.com Oct 23, 2017 11:51 AM ￼ Cilantro, also known as coriander or (dhania patta/dhaniya) in Hindi, ‘Kothimeera’ in Telugu, ‘Kothamalli’ in Tamil, ‘Malliyila’ in Malayalam, ‘Kottambari Soppu’ in Kannada, ‘Kothmir’ in Gujarati, ‘Kothimbir’ in Marathi and ‘Dhonia Pata’ in Bengali. Here we are going to talk about impressive benefits of cilantro leaves. Read on to know more. What is cilantro? Cilantro is an aromatic herb with wide, delicate lacy leaves and a pungent smell. It belongs to the apiaceous family also known as the carrot family which comprises of plants like celery, parsley, cumin, parsnip and carrot. This herb has its origin in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor (Turkey) regions (1). The plant grows up to a height of 1 to 2 feet and possesses dark green, hairless, soft leaves having a variable shape which are broad at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on near the flowering stems. All parts of the plant are edible. Its fresh leaves and dried seeds are most widely used in cooking. Cilantro seeds are round to oval in shape, yellowish brown in colour with a flavour that is aromatic, sweet and citrus as well as slightly peppery. These seeds are commonly used as spice. This Mediterranean herb forms a part of savoury dishes both in modern as well as traditional cuisines. Ancient Greeks used cilantro essential oil as an ingredient in perfumes whereas the Romans used this herb to mask the smell of rotten meat. Apart from its culinary uses, it has been found to possess certain notable plant derived chemical compounds which have disease preventing and health promoting properties. The leaves, roots and stems of cilantro plant have been found to have antiseptic and carminative properties. Health Benefits Of Cilantro: In addition to its fresh and aromatic flavour, cilantro is rich in vital vitamins and antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and folates, thus offering a variety of cilantro benefits given below. 1. Cardiovascular Health: Cilantro herb is cholesterol free but rich in antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins and dietary fibre which help in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol and increasing HDL or good cholesterol levels. Thus, it is beneficial for cardiovascular health (2). It also helps dissolve cholesterol build up in the arteries, thus helping those suffering from atherosclerosis and heart disease. 2. Lowers Blood Pressure: Apart from lowering LDL cholesterol, one of the benefits of cilantro can also reduce hypertension by lowering blood pressure. The herb is a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron as well as low in sodium. This high potassium and low sodium ratio helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is vital for red blood cell production and manganese is used as a co factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. 3. Treats Anxiety: Due to its muscle relaxing qualities, cilantro may act as a mild laxative. It helps in calming the nerves, thus relieving anxiety (3) and reducing the harmful effects of stress. Drinking cilantro juice mixed with cucumber and celery juices towards the end of the day is a great way to replenish your body with B vitamins to help calm the mind and enable you to de-stress. 4. Facilitates Peaceful Sleep: By reducing anxiety and stress, cilantro helps in improving the quality of your sleep as it is a calming herb (4). 5. Digestive Aid: Cilantro leaves offer relief from indigestion problems as well as feelings of nausea. They enable the digestive tract to produce digestive enzymes as well as more digestive juices, thus preventing flatulence and settling queasy stomach (5). This herb also stimulates digestion through peristaltic action. Its antioxidant properties help in promoting healthy liver function. Cilantro leaves are a good source of roughage and fibre which help in relieving gastrointestinal problems. 6. Heavy Metal Detoxifier: Cilantro is a remarkable heavy metal detoxifier or “chelation agent” as it has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. These metals usually enter the body through consumption of non-organic food, using conventional water supplies, eating fish, using deodorants, smoking, cooking in aluminum vessels or aluminum foil, taking over the counter drugs like antacids, using vaccines or metal fillings in teeth. They cause serious heart problems like cancer, brain deterioration, emotional problems, heart, kidney and lung diseases, and weak bones. Cilantro has the ability to mobilize mercury from the brain and central nervous system by separating it from the fat tissue and transferring it into the blood and lymph where it gets removed safely in combination with blue green algae called spirulina. This combination provides relief from mercury poisoning and toxicity. Various chemical compounds in cilantro bind to toxic metals and facilitate their removal by loosening them from the tissues. 7. Anti-diabetic Properties: Cilantro has been traditionally referred to as an “anti-diabetic” herb (6) due to its ability to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It is particularly beneficial for diabetic patients as it helps in regulating and keeping their blood sugar stable due+ to its high potassium and low sodium ratio. 8. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Cilantro possesses powerful anti-inflammatory capacities which can alleviate inflammatory conditions like arthritis (7) as well as reduce minor swelling. It also prevents conjunctivitis. 9. Antioxidant Properties: The antioxidant properties of cilantro (8) can be attributed to the presence of an antioxidant called quercetin among others. These antioxidants protect your cells from against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, thus delaying the ageing process and preventing chronic diseases later on in life. The antioxidant activity in cilantro provides protection against the most degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. 10. Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Properties: Cilantro contains an anti-bacteria compound called dodecenal which can kill salmonella bacteria and prevent salmonella poisoning (9). Its anti-bacterial properties help to improve oral health. The anti-microbial substances present in it help prevent and cure small pox as well as relive diarrhea if caused by fungal or microbial infections. 11. Natural Deodorant: Cilantro acts as a natural internal deodorant as it contains a large amount of chlorophyll that can detox the body from the inside out. By flushing out toxins from the liver, kidney and digestive tract, it helps to remove excess bacteria from the body that would otherwise set out and accumulate in your armpits and feet. Chlorophyll can inhibit bacteria due to its high oxygen content and therefore, this herb helps your body deodorize and smell great. 12. Aids in Weight Loss: This herb is great for obese people as it helps in the reduction of fats and therefore, aids in weight loss (10). 13. Treatment of Menstrual Disorders: Cilantro seeds are a good source of linoleic acid, ascorbic acid, steric acid and palmitic acid. They support proper secretion of hormones and prevent menstrual disorders. For this purpose, they should be soaked overnight in water and consumed the next morning to get maximum benefits. 14. Other Benefits: Cilantro is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. It is rich in iron which is beneficial for people with lower haemoglobin levels and cures anaemia. Magnesium, on the other hand, facilitates proper functioning of the nervous system and strengthens the bones. Chewing of raw cilantro leaves is helpful for people suffering from bronchitis and asthma (11). The oil extracted from cilantro has antiseptic properties that help in curing mouth ulcers. ￼ Image: Getty Cilantro: Skin Benefits We all long for a healthy glowing skin and it is a well-known fact that skin health depends upon internal health to a great extent. Just like the rest of the body, our skin also needs proper nutrition to maintain its health and minimize skin problems. For this purpose, it is important to maintain a balanced diet. Besides, certain external factors also adversely affect our skin such as exposure to UV rays, harsh chemical treatments, prolonged illness etc. As far as cilantro is concerned, it can be beneficial in skincare as it contains certain vital nutrients and minerals that are needed for a healthy skin. 15. Treatment of Blackheads and Acne: Cilantro juice is quite effective in getting rid of blackheads and acne (12). For this purpose, you can mix 1 teaspoon of cilantro juice with 1 teaspoon of lime juice. Apply it on the affected areas and leave for an hour. Wash off with warm water. 16. Treatment of Skin Disorders: Cilantro acts as a natural antiseptic and anti-fungal agent in the treatment of skin disorders like dermatitis (13) and eczema. It possesses anti-microbial substances which can prevent and cure small pox too. 17. Good for Oily Skin: Cilantro can absorb excess oil from your face. If you have an oily skin, you can apply cilantro juice on your face and wash off after an hour. 18. Anti-ageing Benefits: As stated earlier, cilantro is rich in several antioxidants that prevent the free radicals from damaging the skin cells. Vitamin A is an important fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant that is vital for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant that fights free radicals, thus preventing signs of ageing (14) such as wrinkles, sagging skin and pigmentation. 19. Lightens Dark Lips: If you are suffering from dark lips, you can apply cilantro juice on your lips to lighten their colour. Cilantro: Hair Benefits Proper supply of nutrients to the hair follicles is the key to maintaining a healthy scalp with lustrous locks. Though it seems unlikely, consuming and applying cilantro can be beneficial for your hair as well. 20. Combats Hair Loss: Cilantro juice is a wonderful remedy for promoting new hair growth and combating hair loss as it contains essential vitamins and proteins which help in hair growth. You can make a paste from fresh cilantro leaves using few drops of water and extracting its juice. Apply this on your scalp for an hour before shampooing. This pack should be used twice a week for 2 to 3 weeks to get effective results. Alternatively, you can infuse your hair oil with a powder made from cilantro seeds while massaging your hair. You can also prepare a hair rinse by boiling a bunch of cilantro leaves in water and cooling it. Cilantro Nutritional Facts Check out here the nutritional value of cilantro: Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), Fresh, Nutrient value per 100 g(Source:USDA National Nutrient databasePrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDAEnergy23 Kcal1%Carbohydrates3.67 g3%Protein2.13 g4%Total Fat0.52 g2%Cholesterol0 mg0%Dietary Fiber2.80 g6.5%VitaminsFolates62 µg15.5%Niacin1.114 mg7%Pantothenic acid0.570 mg11%Pyridoxine0.149 mg11%Riboflavin0.162 mg12%Thiamin0.067 mg5.5%Vitamin A6748 IU225%Vitamin C27 mg45%Vitamin E2.50 mg17%Vitamin K310 mcg258%ElectrolytesSodium46 mg3%Potassium521 mg11%MineralsCalcium67 mg7%Iron1.77 mg22%Magnesium26 mg6.5%Manganese0.426 mg18.5%Phosphorus48 mg7%Selenium0.9 mg2%Zinc0.50 mg4.5%Phyto-nutrientsCarotene-α36 µg—Carotene-ß3930 µg—Crypto-xanthin-ß202 µg—Lutein-zeaxanthin865 µg— Cilantro has an amazing nutritional value (15). This herb is loaded with vitamins A, K and C, minerals, such as iron, calcium and magnesium, and has more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Its nutritional value is explained below. Calories: Cilantro is calorie and fat free. Nine sprigs of this herb provide just 5 calories. Antioxidants: The leaves and stem tips of this herb are rich in antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and egignenin. These phytochemicals as well as essential oils render it usable in many traditional medicines as an analgesic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, depurative, digestive, fungicidal and stimulant. Vitamins: Cilantro contains many vital vitamins like folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and beta carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. A 100 grams serving of cilantro leaves provide 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. It also provides 6748 IU of vitamin A which is about 225% of RDA. Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources of vitamin K with 100 grams of this herb providing 258% of the RDA. Vitamins A and flavonoids provide protection from lung and oral cavity cancers. Vitamin K plays an important role in bone mass building by promoting osteotropic activity in the bones Minerals: Cilantro is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Volatile Oils: The leaves and seeds of cilantro contain essential volatile oils such as borneol, cineol, linalool, cymene, terpineol, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene and terpinolene. Hope you like this post on benefits of cilantro leaves. Do how you enjoyed reading the post in the comment section below. Recommended Articles:Dr. Tapan Kumar Sau8 Likes13 Answers