Many Allopathic drugs are derived from plants, unfortunately in Ayurveda research work is lacking, so many of us didn't believe Ayurveda, promote research work in Ayurveda, it will be helpful.
in olden time people's were motto" DEVU (remain deficient site of economy) Kari ne GHEE pivo (drink-not eat) but at that time every thing is to do manually NO, machinery was available till the WHEEL is invented.Now a days we hardly do any effort to burn our CALORY- hence all about cholesterol is present is correct other wise out pts will stop exercie (PARISHRAM)-to burn calory and we have more CVS pts-even ourself also
we believe the things when some foreign country like USA or UK tells us something and we don't believe our old science which is the oldest medical science in the world having 5000 years long history. all need is research in ayurveda with documentary evidence. I have read it on whatsapp few months back. thanks for sharing
Very important to be more experiment and research on this chapter .Humanity is first & foremost to be served .Mam ,thanks ,all the pathy have only one motto ,the best way service of humanity. thanks again Mam.
Very important to be more experiment and research on this chapter .Humanity is first & foremost to be served .Mam ,thanks ,all the pathy have only one motto ,the best way service of humanity. thanks again Mam.
Thanks a lot mam for sharing such a good article.
Dr Swathi thanks for sharing very nice information
every time ayurvedmay not b correct to the best of my knowledge cholesterol & its level was always debatable. juggling was claimed for benefit of pharmaceutical cos
you r exactly right Dr. Aniruddha Lele. We lack the knowledge of interpretation of Ayurveda. Its always believed when new thesis comes from western world and later it becomes a hypothesis.
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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 Likes13 Answers
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Good morning dear friends and colleagues, Here is a latest update on effect of moderate activity in 65 years and older people which reduces CVD risks. For 65 and Older, Moderate Activity Reduces CVD Risks August 27, 2016 ROME, ITALY — Individuals who are 65 years old and older can help to reduce their risk of cardiovascular death and heart attack by maintaining or beginning moderate physical activity, according to new research presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2016 Congress. "If you practice moderate exercise, you're bracing for reducing heart events by 31%," Dr Riitta Liisa Antikainen (University of Oulu, Finland) said during a news conference on August 27, 2016. The potential reduction is greater than 50% for cardiovascular death, she said. Leisure exercise seems to have cardiovascular benefits widely across different groups. Earlier this year, researchers led by Dr Andrea K Chomistek (Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health) published a study showing that moderate physical activity led to lower risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) in younger women aged 20 to 44. Brisk walking for 2.5 or more hours per week resulted in a 35% risk reduction for CHD compared with women who reported no walking. Antikainen and colleagues conducted a study of almost 2500 adults 65 to 74 years old enrolled in the National FINRISK Study between 1997 and 2007. They assessed the association between leisure-time physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk and mortality by administering questionnaires on health behaviors as well as collecting clinical measurements such as blood pressure and weight and height, plus lab measurements including cholesterol. Of 2456 men and women enrolled, 197 died from CVD causes and 416 experienced a first CVD event during a mean follow-up of 11.8 years. The researchers classified low physical activity as reading, watching television, or doing housework; moderate physical activity as walking, cycling, or other light exercise; and high physical activity as recreational sports or intense training. They found that maintaining moderate physical activity reduced the risk of experiencing an acute cardiovascular event by more than 30% and cardiovascular death by more than 50%. Higher physical activity levels led to higher reductions, the researcher said. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland, and supported by a grant from the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research. The authors report no relevant financial interests. With regards, Dr Sepuri Tirumala Devi.Dr. Sepuri Tirumala Devi9 Likes12 Answers
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EARLY WARNING SIGNS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MISSED IN ONE IN SIX HEART ATTACK DEATHS IN ENGLAND. February 28, 2017. The LANCET Public Health, 28 February 2017. The AUTHORS, from Imperial College London, SAY MORE RESEARCH is URGENTLY NEEDED to establish WHETHER IT IS POSSIBLE TO PREDICT the RISK OF FATAL HEART ATTACKS IN patients for WHOM this CONDITION was NOT RECORDED AS the MAIN REASON FOR hospital ADMISSION. The research is published today in The Lancet Public Health. HEART DISEASE is ONE OF THE LEADING KILLERS IN the UK. According to the British Heart Foundation, heart attacks lead to one hospital visit EVERY THREE MINUTES. They are CAUSED BY a decrease in blood flow to the heart, usually as a result of CORONARY HEART DISEASE. SYMPTOMS may include SUDDEN CHEST PAIN or a 'CRUSHING' SENSATION that might SPREAD DOWN EITHER ARM. Patients might also experience NAUSEA or SHORTNESS OF BREATH. However, SOME heart ATTACKS have MORE SUBTLE symptoms and may THEREFORE be MISSED or OVERLOOKED. IN THIS STUDY, the RESEARCHERS EXAMINED RECORDS OF all 446,744 NHS HOSPITAL STAYS in England BETWEEN 2006 and 2010 that RECORDED HEART ATTACKS, as well as the HOSPITALISATION HISTORY OF ALL 135,950 HEART ATTACK DEATHS. The records included whether or not patients who died of a heart attack had been ADMITTED to hospital IN the PAST FOUR WEEKS and if so, whether SIGNS OF HEART ATTACK were recorded as the main cause of admission (PRIMARY DIAGNOSIS), ADDITIONAL TO the main reason (SECONDARY diagnosis), OR NOT RECORDED AT ALL. OF the 135,950 PATIENTS who died from heart attack, around HALF DIED WITHOUT a hospital ADMISSION in the PRIOR FOUR WEEKS, and around HALF DIED WITHIN FOUR WEEKS of having been in hospital. 21,677 (16 PER CENT, or ONE IN SIX) of the patients who DIED FROM HEART ATTACK had been hospitalised during the four weeks prior, but heart attack SYMPTOMS were NOT MENTIONED on their hospital records (see figure 2 of paper.) The AUTHORS SAY there are CERTAIN SYMPTOMS, such as FAINTING, SHORTNESS OF BREATH and CHEST PAIN, that were APPARENT up to a month before death in some of these patients, but doctors may NOT have been ALERT to the possibility that these SIGNALLED an upcoming fatal heart attack, POSSIBLY because there was NO OBVIOUS DAMAGE to the heart AT THE TIME. These RESULTS SUGGEST that POSSIBLE SIGNS of upcoming fatal heart attack MAY HAVE BEEN MISSED. The authors' NEXT STEP is to look into why this pattern emerged, and to try to prevent more heart attack deaths. The researchers also found that OF ALL PATIENTS admitted with a heart attack, THOSE whose heart attack was RECORDED AS SECONDARY to the main condition WERE TWO TO THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE than patients whose records stated heart attack as the main condition. Lead author Dr Perviz Asaria, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, said: "DOCTORS are very GOOD AT TREATING HEART ATTACKS WHEN THEY ARE the MAIN CAUSE OF ADMISSION, but we don't do very well treating secondary heart attacks or at picking up subtle signs which might point to a heart attack death in the near future." "UNFORTUNATELY in the four weeks following a hospital stay, nearly as many heart attack deaths occur in people for whom HEART ATTACK IS NOT RECORDED AS A PRIMARY CAUSE, as occur after an admission for heart attack." The authors say that MORE DETAILED INVESTIGATION MUST BE DONE TO IDENTIFY REASONS FOR THESE RESULTS SO THAT MORE DEATHS from heart attack CAN BE PREVENTED. Co-author Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, said: "WE CANNOT YET SAY why THESE SIGNS ARE BEING MISSED, which is why MORE DETAILED RESEARCH MUST BE CONDUCTED TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS for change. This might include UPDATED GUIDANCE for healthcare professionals, CHANGES IN CLINICAL CULTURE, or ALLOWING DOCTORS MORE TIME TO EXAMINE PATIENTS AND LOOK AT THEIR PREVIOUS RECORDS." "What WE are NOW ASKING is, IF SYMPTOMS are being MISSED WHERE they could have been DISCOVERED using the available information, HOW should CARE now be ORGANISED and WHAT CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TO PREVENT UNNECESSARY DEATHS." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MORE INFORMATION: "Acute myocardial infarction hospital admissions and deaths in England: a national follow-back and follow-forward record-linkage study" by Perviz Asaria, Paul Elliott, Margaret Douglass, Ziad Obermeyer, Michael Soljak, Azeem Majeed, Majid Ezzati. Published in The LANCET PUBLIC HEALTH, 28 FEBRUARY 2017. _______________________________________ PROVIDED BY: Imperial College London. _______________________________________ MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION or HEART ATTACK. CREDIT: Blausen Medical Communications/Wikipedia/CC-A 3.0 =============================================Dr. Puranjoy Saha12 Likes11 Answers
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POPULAR BELIEF THAT SATURATED FATS CLOG UP ARTERIES 'PLAIN WRONG', SAY EXPERTS. April 25, 2017. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285 The WIDELY held BELIEF AMONG DOCTORS AND the PUBLIC that SATURATED FATS CLOG UP the ARTERIES, and SO CAUSE CORONARY HEART DISEASE, IS JUST "PLAIN WRONG," contend experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. IT'S TIME TO SHIFT the FOCUS AWAY FROM LOWERING BLOOD FATS AND CUTTING OUT DIETARY SATURATED FAT, TO INSTEAD EMPHASISING the IMPORTANCE OF EATING "REAL FOOD," taking a BRISK DAILY WALK, AND MINIMISING STRESS TO STAVE OFF HEART DISEASE, they insist. CORONARY ARTERY HEART DISEASE IS A CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY CONDITION which RESPONDS TO a Mediterranean style DIET RICH IN the ANTI-INFLAMMATORY COMPOUNDS FOUND IN NUTS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, VEGETABLES and OILY FISH, they emphasise. IN SUPPORT OF their ARGUMENT Cardiologists Dr Aseem Malhotra, of Lister Hospital, Stevenage, Professor Rita Redberg of UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco (editor of JAMA Internal medicine) and Pascal Meier of University Hospital Geneva and University College London (editor of BMJ Open Heart) CITE EVIDENCE REVIEWS SHOWING NO ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CONSUMPTION OF SATURATED FAT AND HEIGHTENED RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, DIABETES, AND DEATH. And the LIMITATIONS OF the current 'PLUMBING THEORY' are writ large in a series of clinical trials SHOWING that INSERTING A STENT (stainless steel mesh) to widen narrowed arteries FAILS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART ATTACK OR DEATH, they say. "DECADES OF EMPHASIS on the primacy of lowering plasma cholesterol, as if this was an end in itself and driving a market of 'proven to lower cholesterol' and 'low fat' foods and medications, has been MISGUIDED," they contend. SELECTIVE REPORTING OF THE DATA MAY ACCOUNT FOR THESE MISCONCEPTIONS, THEY SUGGEST. A HIGH TOTAL CHOLESTEROL TO high density lipoprotein (HDL) RATIO IS THE BEST PREDICTOR of cardiovascular disease risk, RATHER THAN low density lipoprotein (LDL). And THIS RATIO can be RAPIDLY REDUCED WITH DIETARY CHANGES such as REPLACING REFINED CARBOHYDRATES WITH HEALTHY HIGH FAT FOODS (such as NUTS and OLIVE OIL), they say. A KEY ASPECT of coronary heart disease prevention is EXERCISE, AND A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY, they say. JUST 30 MINUTES OF MODERATE ACTIVITY A DAY THREE OR MORE TIMES A WEEK WORKS WONDERS for reducing biological risk factors FOR SEDENTARY ADULTS, they point out. And the IMPACT OF CHRONIC STRESS should NOT BE OVERLOOKED because it puts the body's inflammatory response on permanent high alert, they say. All in all, a HEALTHY DIET, REGULAR EXERCISE, AND STRESS REDUCTION will NOT ONLY BOOST QUALITY OF LIFE BUT WILL CURB THE RISK OF DEATH from cardiovascular disease and all causes, they insist. "IT IS TIME TO SHIFT the PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGE IN THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE AWAY FROM MEASURING SERUM LIPIDS AND REDUCING DIETARY SATURATED FAT," they write. "CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE is a CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY disease and it can be REDUCED EFFECTIVELY BY WALKING 22 MINUTES A DAY AND EATING REAL FOOD." But, they point out: "THERE IS NO BUSINESS MODEL OR MARKET TO HELP SPREAD THIS SIMPLE YET POWERFUL INTERVENTION." $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ____________________________________ MORE INFORMATION: Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions, British Journal of Sports Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285 ____________________________________ PROVIDED BY: British Medical Journal ____________________________________ IMAGE : Human heart. CREDIT: copyright American Heart Association ***************************+*******************************Dr. Puranjoy Saha17 Likes11 Answers
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*Angina* ☝ *All about*☝ is chest pain, discomfort, or tightness that occurs when an area of the heart muscle receives decreased blood oxygen supply. It is not a disease itself, but rather a likely symptom of coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease. The lack of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is usually a result of narrower coronary arteries due to plaque build-up; a condition called atherosclerosis. History The condition was named “hritshoola” in ancient India and was described by Sushruta (6th century BC). Types Stable (or chronic) angina Stable angina occurs when the heart is working harder than usual, for instance, during exercise. It has a regular pattern and can be predicted to happen over months or even years. Rest or medication relieves symptoms. Unstable angina Unstable angina does not follow a regular pattern. It can occur when at rest and is considered less common and more serious because rest and medication does not relieve it. This version can signal a future heart attack within a short time – hours or weeks. Variant and microvascular angina Variant (Prinzmetal’s) angina and microvascular (smallest vessels) angina are rare and can occur at rest without any underlying coronary artery disease. This angina is usually due to abnormal narrowing or relaxation (spasm) of the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the heart. It is relieved by medicine. Risk factors The following risk factors increase your risk of coronary artery disease and angina: Tobacco use. Chewing tobacco, smoking and long-term exposure to second-hand smoke damage the interior walls of arteries including arteries to your heart allowing deposits of cholesterol to collect and block blood flow. Diabetes. Diabetes is the inability of your body to produce enough insulin or respond to insulin properly. Insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, allows your body to use glucose, which is a form of sugar from foods. Diabetes increases the risk of coronary artery disease, which leads to angina and heart attacks by speeding up atherosclerosis. High blood pressure. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. Over time, high blood pressure damages arteries. High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Cholesterol is a major part of the deposits that can narrow arteries throughout your body, including those that supply your heart. A high level of the wrong kind of cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), increases your risk of angina and heart attacks. A high level of triglycerides, a type of blood fat related to your diet, also is undesirable. History of heart disease. If you have coronary artery disease or if you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at a greater risk of developing angina. Older age. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 have a greater risk than do younger adults. Lack of exercise. An inactive lifestyle contributes to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, it is important to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Obesity. Obesity raises the risk of angina and heart disease because it’s associated with high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. Also, your heart has to work harder to supply blood to the excess tissue. Stress. Stress can increase your risk of angina and heart attacks. Too much stress, as well as anger, can also raise your blood pressure. Surges of hormones produced during stress can narrow your arteries and worsen angina. Causes Angina is usually caused by coronary heart disease. When the arteries that supply your heart muscle with blood and oxygen become narrowed, the blood supply to your heart muscle is restricted. This can cause the symptoms of angina. Angina symptoms are often brought on by physical activity, an emotional upset, cold weather or after a meal. The episodes usually subside after a few minutes. Symptoms Symptoms associated with angina include: Chest pain or discomfort Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back accompanying chest pain Nausea Fatigue Shortness of breath Sweating Dizziness The chest pain and discomfort common with angina may be described as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. Some people with angina symptoms describe angina as feeling like a vise is squeezing their chest or feeling like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest. For others, it may feel like indigestion. Diagnosis and test A correct diagnosis for chest pain is important because it can predict the likelihood of having a heart attack. The process will start with a physical exam as well as a discussion of symptoms, risk factors, and family medical history. A physician who is suspicious of angina will order one or more of the following tests: Electrocardiogram (EKG) – records electrical activity of the heart and can detect when the heart is starved of oxygen. Stress test – blood pressure readings and an EKG while the patient is increasing physical activity. Chest X-ray – to see structures inside the chest. Coronary angiography – dye and special X-rays to show the inside of coronary arteries (dye is inserted using cardiac catheterization). Blood tests – to check levels of fats, cholesterol, sugar, and proteins. Treatment and medications Angina treatments aim to reduce pain, prevent symptoms, and prevent or lower the risk of heart attack. Medicines, lifestyle changes, and medical procedures may all be employed. Lifestyle changes recommended to treat angina include: stopping smoking controlling weight regularly checking cholesterol levels resting and slowing down avoiding large meals learning how to handle or avoid stress eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or no-fat dairy products, and lean meat and fish Medicines called nitrates (like nitroglycerin) are most often prescribed for angina. Nitrates prevent or reduce the intensity of angina attacks by relaxing and widening blood vessels. Other medicines may be used such as: Beta blockers Calcium channel blockers ACE (angiotensin-covering enzyme) inhibitors Oral anti-platelet medicines Anticoagulants High blood pressure medications may also be prescribed to treat angina. These medicines are designed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, slow the heart rate, relax blood vessels, reduce strain on the heart, and prevent blood clots from forming. In some cases, surgical medical procedures are necessary to treat angina. A heart specialist may recommend angioplasty. Coronary artery bypass grafting is another standard procedure; this is surgery where the narrowed arteries in the heart are bypassed using a healthy artery or vein from another part of the body. Prevention Unfortunately you can’t reverse coronary heart disease, which causes angina, but you can delay your arteries narrowing. To do this it’s important to: Stop smoking Control high blood pressure Reduce your cholesterol level Be physically active Achieve and maintain a healthy weight Control your blood glucose if you have diabetes Eat a healthy, balanced dietand only drink moderate amounts of alcohol. Some medications can also be used to help prevent angina episodesDr. Shailendra Kawtikwar4 Likes9 Answers