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Prickly pears

Prickly pears are from the cactus family and its flesh is simply delicious with many therapeutic values. But do not touch it with bare hands otherwise you are in for a nightmare treat so please handle with care especially the young children. Beyond being tasty, prickly pear has many health and beauty benefits. 

Prevent ulcers: Both physical and mental stress can cause changes in the gastro-intestinal 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.

Weight control: Prickly pear fruit contains fibre 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. 

Strong nails: Prickly pear seed oil can be used to moisturise dry and damaged nails and restore the health of nails and cuticles. It contains moisturising fatty acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. Small concentrations of other fatty acids are also found. 

Hangover cure: 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.

Blood sugar control: Cactus pear is often touted for its hypo-glycemic activity. This means that the ingestion of this fruit or its extract can lower high blood glucose levels as well as maintain normal levels. 

Pre-menstrual Symptoms (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.

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