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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 Likes12 Answers
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Friends today I am discussing about a problem known as Alopecia Areata. What is alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is a disease that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can remain unnoticeable. These patches may eventually connect and then become noticeable, however. This disease develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Sudden hair loss may occur on the scalp, and in some cases the eyebrows, eyelashes, and face, as well as other parts of the body. It can also develop slowly, and recur after years between instances. The condition can result in total hair loss, called alopecia universalis, and it can prevent hair from growing back. When hair does grow back, it’s possible for the hair to fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies from person to person. There’s currently no cure for alopecia areata. However, there are treatments that may help hair grow back more quickly and that can prevent future hair loss, as well as unique ways to cover up the hair loss. Resources are also available to help people cope with the stress of the disease. What are the symptoms of alopecia areata? The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls out in small patches on the scalp. These patches are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the face, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places. Others lose it in a lot of spots. You may first notice clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower. If the spots are on the back of your head, someone may bring it to your attention. However, other types of diseases can also cause hair to fall out in a similar pattern. Hair loss alone isn’t used to diagnose alopecia areata. In rare cases, some people may experience more extensive hair loss. This is usually an indication of another type of alopecia, such as: alopecia totalis, which is the loss of all hair on the scalp alopecia universalis, which is the loss of all hair on the entire body Doctors might avoid using the terms “totalis” and “universalis” because some people may experience something between the two. It’s possible to lose all hair on the arms, legs and scalp, but not the chest, for example. The hair loss associated with alopecia areata is unpredictable and, as far as doctors and researchers can tell, appears to be spontaneous. The hair may grow back at any time and then may fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies greatly from person to person. What causes alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease develops when the immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign substances. Normally, the immune system defends your body against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. If you have alopecia areata, however, your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. Hair follicles are the structures from which hairs grow. The follicles become smaller and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss. Researchers don’t know what triggers the immune system to attack hair follicles, so the exact cause of this condition isn’t known. However, it most often occurs in people who have a family history of other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. This is why some scientists suspect that genetics may contribute to the development of alopecia areata. They also believe that certain factors in the environment are needed to trigger alopecia areata in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Alopecia alongside other skin conditions People with an autoimmune disease, like alopecia areata, are also more prone to having another autoimmune disease, including those that also affect the skin and hair. If you’ve been diagnosed with alopecia areata and another skin condition, you may find that treating one helps the other. In other cases, however, treating one may make the other worse. Psoriasis Psoriasis causes a rapid buildup of skin cells. It happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin cells and causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. This results in thick patches of skin called plaques, as well as red, inflamed areas of skin. Treating psoriasis with alopecia can be tricky. The scaling associated with psoriasis can make the skin itchy, and scratching can make hair loss worse. In addition, biologic treatments often used for psoriasis, called TNF inhibiters, have been associated with hair loss in some people. For others, treating the psoriasis may help regrow hair. In one small study, over two-thirds of participants with alopecia areata who took a common psoriasis treatment called methotrexate had hair regrowth greater than 50 percent. Another case study found that a new psoriasis treatment called apremilast (Otezla) helped one woman with both psoriasis and alopecia regrow the hair on her scalp in 12 weeks. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) Researchers have established a link between alopecia and atopic dermatitis, a condition in which inflammation on the skin causes itchy, red rashes. Atopic dermatitis is more commonly known as eczema. Many treatment options for atopic dermatitis, like steroid creams and phototherapy, overlap with alopecia treatments, so it’s possible that treating one condition will help treat the other. One area of interest for treating both atopic dermatitis and alopecia is a class of drugs called JAK inhibitors. They’re currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. One oral JAK inhibitor known as tofacinitib has already shown promise in small clinical trials for both atopic dermatitis and alopecia areata. Another biologic treatment called dupilumab (Dupixent), which has recently been approved by the FDA to treat atopic dermatitis, is also a drug of interest for treating alopecia. A clinical study evaluating dupliumab in people with alopecia — both with and without atopic dermatitis — is currently underway. How is alopecia areata diagnosed? A doctor will review your symptoms to determine if you have alopecia areata. They may be able to diagnose alopecia areata simply by looking at the extent of your hair loss and by examining a few hair samples under a microscope. Your doctor may also perform a scalp biopsy to rule out other conditions that cause hair loss, including fungal infections like tinea capitis. During a scalp biopsy, your doctor will remove a small piece of skin on your scalp for analysis. Blood tests might be done if other autoimmune conditions are suspected. The specific blood test performed depends on the particular disorder the doctor suspects. However, a doctor will likely test for the presence of one or more abnormal antibodies. If these antibodies are found in your blood, it usually means that you have an autoimmune disorder. Other blood tests that can help rule out other conditions include the following: C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate iron levels antinuclear antibody test thyroid hormones free and total testosterone follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone How is alopecia areata treated? There’s no known cure for alopecia areata, but there are treatments that you can try that might be able to slow down future hair loss or help hair grow back more quickly. The condition is difficult to predict, which means it may require a large amount of trial and error until you find something that works for you. For some people, hair loss may still worsen despite treatment. Medical treatments Topical agents You can rub medications into your scalp to help stimulate hair growth. A number of medications are available, both over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription: Minoxidil (Rogaine) is available OTC and applied twice daily to the scalp, eyebrows, and beard. It’s relatively safe, but it can take a year to see results. Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp) is a drug that irritates the skin in order to spur hair regrowth. Corticosteroid creams such as clobetasol (Impoyz), foams, lotions, and ointments are thought to work by decreasing inflammation in the hair follicle. Topical immunotherapy is a technique in which a chemical like diphencyprone is applied to the skin to spark an allergic rash. The rash, which resembles poison oak, may induce new hair growth within six months, but you’ll have to continue the treatment to maintain the regrowth. Injections Steroid injections are a common option for mild, patchy alopecia to help hair grow back on bald spots. Tiny needles inject the steroid into the bare skin of the affected areas. The treatment has to be repeated once every one to two months to regrow hair. It doesn’t prevent new hair loss from occurring. Oral treatments Cortisone tablets are sometimes used for extensive alopecia, but due to the possibility of side effects, this option should be discussed with a doctor. Oral immunosuppressants, like methotrexate and cyclosporine, are another option you can try. They work by blocking the immune system’s response, but they can’t be used for a long period of time due to the risk of side effects, such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, and an increased risk of serious infections and a type of cancer called lymphoma. Light therapy Light therapy is also called photochemotherapy or just phototherapy. It’s a type of radiation treatment that uses a combination of an oral medication called psoralens and UV light. Alternative therapies Some people with alopecia areata choose alternative therapies to treat the condition. These may include: aromatherapy acupuncture microneedling probiotics low-level laser therapy (LLLT) vitamins, like zinc and biotin aloe vera drinks and topical gels onion juice rubbed onto the scalp essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint other oils, like coconut, castor, olive, and jojoba an “anti-inflammatory” diet, also called the “autoimmune protocol,” which is a restrictive diet that mainly includes meats and vegetables scalp massage herbal supplements, such as ginseng, green tea, Chinese hibiscus, and saw palmetto Most alternative therapies haven’t been tested in clinical trials, so their effectiveness in treating hair loss isn’t known. The effectiveness of each treatment will vary from person to person. Some people don’t even need treatment since their hair grows back on its own. In other cases, however, people never see improvement despite trying every treatment option. You might need to try more than one treatment to see a difference. Keep in mind that hair regrowth may only be temporary. It’s possible for the hair to grow back and then fall out again. Homeopathic Medicines for Alopecia Areata 1. Arsenic Album – Homeopathic Medicine for Alopecia Areata Accompanied by Itching and Burning on the Scalp Arsenic Album is a recommended homeopathic treatment for alopecia areata which appears as circular bald patches along with itching and burning on the scalp. These symptoms aggravate at night. In some cases, the scalp is also sensitive. 2. Vinca Minor – Another Useful Homeopathic Medicine for Alopecia Areata Vinca Minor is another useful homeopathic medicine for alopecia areata. It works well in cases where there is a tendency for hair to fall in spots which are then replaced by white hair. Along with this, itching and violent scratching over the scalp may also be present. 3. Baryta Carb, Lycopodium, and Silicea – Homeopathic Medicines for Alopecia Areata in Young People The most prominently indicated homeopathic medicines for alopecia areata in young people are Baryta Carb, Lycopodium, and Silicea. Baryta Carb helps in recovering from bald patches that occur on the top of the scalp. Lycopodium works well for bald patches on the temples. Silicea is a good homeopathic treatment for alopecia areata occuring on the back of the scalp. 4. Fluoric Acid – Excellent Homeopathic Medicine for Alopecia Areata Fluoric Acid is among the top grade homeopathic remedies for alopecia areata. Fluoric Acid helps in the regrowth of hair in the bald patches. Fluoric Acid is also a highly suitable homeopathic medicine for hair fall after fever. 5. Phosphorus – A Wonderful Homeopathic Medicine for Alopecia Areata Another homeopathic medicine that has shown its effectiveness in alopecia areata cases is Phosphorus. Phosphorus works well in cases where a person suffers from the loss of hair in patches. Along with hair loss, dandruff on the scalp is also present. In some cases, there is itching on the scalp along with hair fall. Phosphorus also seems to help cases of traction alopecia. In such situations, there is a receding hair line. Hair fall from the forehead is prominent. A person needing Phosphorus may crave cold drinks and ice creams.Dr. Rajesh Gupta7 Likes12 Answers
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Health Benefits of Alfalfa Grass ............................................................... Alfalfa grass is a flowering plant that is very common and the alfalfa grass health benefits are plentiful. The following will uncover 5 surprising health benefits of alfalfa grass… It is a perennial plant, which means that it grows and blooms over the spring and summer. During the fall and winter, the plants die back. In the spring, they return from the rootstock. The basic benefit of alfalfa is that it is very nutritious when it is consumed. This plant is high in chlorophyll, micronutrients, and vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, and K. It also contains calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Finally, it contains more protein than most plants. What Are the Health Benefits of Alfalfa Grass? Other than the nutritional value, alfalfa has several health benefits. These include: Anti-Inflammatory Properties: An alfalfa study was published in the July 2009 issue of Journal of Biomedical Science. The study was performed on animals that were injected with compounds that contained inflammation. The animals that were not fed alfalfa sprouts had increased inflammation compared to those who were fed alfalfa sprouts. Bolsters Immune System: A study was performed and published in the March 2009 issue of “Lupus”. During this study, animals were injected with alfalfa sprout ethyl acetate extract. The scientists doing this study wanted to see if alfalfa sprouts could be beneficial for people who suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. The animals that were given alfalfa had lower T-cell counts at the end of the study. Antioxidant Effects and Radiation Protection: A study was conducted in Turkey, and the results were published in the February 2008 issue of Photocheistry and Photobiology. According to the study, alfalfa can protect the cells from damage from x-rays, due to its antioxidant properties. The animals that were given alfalfa before having an x-ray had less free radicals and cell damage than those who were not given alfalfa. Lower Cholesterol: High cholesterol can lead to stroke and heart disease. A study was performed and published in the May 1087 issue of Atherosclerosis. According to the study, patients with high cholesterol were given alfalfa for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, their LDL, also known as bad cholesterol, dropped by 30 percent. After the study, the patients stopped eating alfalfa, and their cholesterol returned to the previous levels before the study was conducted. The study indicated that regular consumption of alfalfa could successfully reduce cholesterol. Improves Certain Medical Conditions: Alfalfa has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including kidney, bladder, and prostate conditions. It can also increase urine flow. Patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, upset stomach, and asthma can benefit from alfalfa. Side Effects of Alfalfa Grass Alfalfa is relatively safe for adults. However, if you take large amounts of alfalfa for a long period of time, the seeds can cause a reaction that is similar to lupus. Also, alfalfa can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. It is important for light skinned people to wear sunblock when going outdoors. Patients who are pregnant should avoid alfalfa. There is evidence that alfalfa can act like estrogen, which can have a negative effect on the pregnancy. Its estrogen effect can also be harmful for patients who suffer from breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. If you have diabetes, you should check your blood sugar levels often, as alfalfa can lower your blood sugar. You may think that you are eating right, and your blood sugar levels are fine, but the alfalfa can have an effect on it. Patients who have had a kidney transplant should avoid consuming anything with alfalfa. There has been one reported case of a patient who had a transplant and rejected it due to their consumption of alfalfa. Because alfalfa boosts the immune system, it can make the anti-drugs that are given after the surgery, less effective. How to Take Alfalfa Grass The most common way to ingest alfalfa is to add alfalfa sprouts to a salad. You can also purchase alfalfa supplements and take them with your daily multivitamin. Alfalfa Grass in Green Powder Drinks If salad is not your favorite thing to eat, and you would rather not take a daily supplement, you can purchase green powder drinks that contain the right amount of alfalfa that is healthy for your diet. Green powder drinks such as Total Living Drink Greens contain numerous ingredients, including alfalfa grass, which are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Just having a drink or two a day can greatly improve your health. Alfalfa grass grows all over the world, and is very plentiful. For years, many people did not know the many health benefits of alfalfa grass. As studies were conducted on this grass, more and more people began putting alfalfa sprouts in their salad, and even eating them on their own. As the health food industry began seeing the importance of this grass, many companies began using alfalfa in their green drink powders.Dr. Sanjay Kumar Mallick6 Likes23 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 Likes16 Answers
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7 Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd (Karela) Juice food.ndtv.com Sep 3, 2017 12:40 AM ￼ Did you know that bitter gourd or karela is not really a vegetable but a fruit? The part of the plant that is used for consumption and for various medicinal purposes is the fruit of the bitter squash. While we’ve been so busy condemning its bitter taste, we’ve not only overlooked this fact but also the wide range of benefits that drinking bitter gourd juice offers. Bitter gourd juice contains a train of important nutrients ranging from iron, magnesium and vitamin to potassium and vitamin C. An excellent source of dietary fiber, it also contains twice the calcium of spinach, beta-carotene of broccoli, and the potassium of a banana. Here are some crucial benefits of drinking bitter gourd juice. A quick tip to reduce the bitterness of the drink is to add some honey or jaggery to it or pair it with sweet fruits like apple or pears. You can even add lemon juice to lessen the harsh taste of bitter melon juice. A pinch of black pepper and ginger can also decrease the tartness. The taste however, needs to be developed because contrary to its name bitter gourd is in fact sweet for your health. 1. Helps in maintaining blood sugar levels The World Health Organisation has estimated that over 382 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin which has been shown to control diabetes naturally. According to a 2011 study, published in the sJournal Ethnopharmacolgy, a four-week clinical trial showed that 2,000 mg of bitter melon when taken on regular basis reduced the blood glucose level significantly in the patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that this plant-based insulin in bitter gourd helps patients with type-1 diabetes as well. Another report issued in the Journal of Chemistry & Biology, gave evidence regarding the fact that bitter melon increases the uptake of glucose and improves glycemic control. People suffering from diabetes taking hypoglycaemic drugs may even be required to alter the dosage of their drugs if they consume bitter melon juice daily and consult a doctor before doing so. 2. Lowers bad cholesterol levels Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, says, “Bitter gourd juice is anti-inflammatory and also helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Thereby, it significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.” It also maintains the blood pressure of the body as it is rich in potassium, which absorbs excessive sodium in the body. It is rich in iron and folic acid which are known to decrease the risk of stroke and keep your heart healthy. 3. For glowing skin and lustrous hair Longing for that flawless skin? Dr. Simran Saini from Fortis Hospital in New Delhi suggests that bitter gourd juice has powerful anti-oxidants along with vitamin A and C which prevent premature skin ageing and diminishes wrinkles. Furthermore, it reduces acne, aids in treating eczema and psoriasis, as well as protects the skin from the harmful UV rays. The nutrients vitamin A, vitamin C, Biotin and Zinc impart shine and lustre to your locks. Applying bitter gourd juice regularly to your scalp can decrease hair loss and greying of hair, treat split-ends and rough hair, shrug off dandruff, and combat itchiness. You can apply bitter gourd juice directly to stop hair fall or mix it with some curd and massage on your scalp and hair for conditioning. To treat dandruff, you can make a hair mask with bitter gourd juice, cumin seed paste and a tablespoon of lime juice. Leave for 30 minutes and rinse. Dr. Saini adds that the juice also acts as a blood purifier. 4. Cures hangovers and cleanses the liver Got too much alcohol in your system after a crazy night of partying? You can get rid of it quite swiftly by sipping some bitter gourd juice which wipes out alcoholic intoxication settled in your liver. The juice cleanses your bowel as well as heals many liver problems. Published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition, a study concluded that a compound called Momordica Charantia provides protection against liver failure by strengthening anti-oxidant activity of the enzymes in the liver. It also boosts the functioning of your bladder. 5. Helps in weight loss Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It keeps you full for longer and hence, it can easily fit in your weight loss plan. In a 2010 issue of a report published in the Journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it was disclosed that extracts of bitter gourd helped in the dislocation of human fat cells and also hindered the formation and growth of new fat cells. It was further concluded that bitter gourd can be viewed as a natural agent for treating obesity. 6. Boosts your immune system Bitter gourd fights viruses and bacteria and strengthens your immunity. It prevents allergies and indigestion. The antioxidants work as powerful defense mechanisms against illness and also help fight free-radical damage that can cause various types of cancer. In 2010, a study was published in the Pharmaceutical Research Journal which stated that bitter-melon has anti-carcinogen and anti-tumour properties. It reduced the risk of prostate, breast and cervical cancer. 7. Great for your eyes Dr. Anshul Jai Bharat says that it helps in preventing vision-related problems such as cataract since it has compounds like beta-carotene and vitamin A which are healthy for your eyes and strengthens eyesight. She adds, “It is also a good home remedy to treat dark circles. “As with everything, moderation is required. Excess consumption of bitter gourd juice may cause abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Pregnant women should also avoid taking too much bitter gourd or its juice as it may stimulate the uterus and lead to preterm labour. 30 ml bitter gourd juice extract is recommended on a daily basis,” says Dr Geeta Buryok, Chief Nutritionist at Max HealthCare.Dr. Tapan Kumar Sau5 Likes12 Answers