Bad Cholesterol, High Blood Sugar ? - Try Prickly Pear!
|Bad Cholesterol, High Blood Sugar ? - Try Prickly Pear!||Darrell Miller||03/29/11|
March 29, 2011 04:27 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Bad Cholesterol, High Blood Sugar ? - Try Prickly Pear!
Prickly Pear Cactus And Your Health
Prickly pear refers to a large genus of cactuses known for their culinary and medicinal uses. It is also known as nopal, a popular vegetable from the young pad segments with the spines removed that originated from Central America. Nopales are sold fresh in Mexico and neighboring countries and largely derived from the species Opuntia ficus-indica. This edible cactus is rich in fiber and flavonoids, making it not only a healthy source of but also a potent medicinal herb. In recent years it has enjoyed a much-publicized association with the therapeutic treatment of diabetes and high cholesterol. Also, its age-old preparations for indigestion and other digestive problems remain in wide use.
Cleanses the Digestive Tract
Prickly pear has long been used as a digestive and an herbal remedy for illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract. In certain regions of Central America, eating nopales is considered the most viable treatment for indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation simple because it works, not to mention nopales are delicious. Of course it is now common knowledge that its high fiber content is the reason why it aids digestion and allays digestive problems. Furthermore, the phytochemical it contains serves as natural cleansers of the entire alimentary canal.
Lowers Blood Lipid Levels
Bad cholesterol is notoriously named so because of the fact that they are a reliable indicator of cardiovascular diseases, notably atherosclerosis. Recent studies have linked prickly pear, especially Opuntia ficus-indica, to better management of high cholesterol. The exact mechanism of action is still under scrutiny, but it is postulated that it interferes with the conversion of very-low-density lipoproteins into low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, in the liver. It is also suggested that prickly pear may promote the releases of high-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol.
Enhances Insulin Sensitivity
Among all the health benefits of prickly pear, its effect on diabetes may well be the best studied. Type 2 diabetes results from a metabolic disorder that impairs the capacity of cells to respond to the hormone insulin. Cells that have become resistance to the physiological effects of insulin significantly contribute to escalating levels of sugar in the blood, which often leads to diabetes. Prickly pear works on the principle of reversing this metabolic disorder by promoting the uptake of glucose.
Neutralizes Free Radicals
Free radicals are by-products of oxygen metabolism that damage cells and tissues, the reason why cells have endogenous antioxidants to fight them off. When there is an imbalance between endogenous antioxidants and free radicals, the body needs help in the form of exogenous antioxidant in our diet to contain the damage free radicals cause.
There have been numerous reports about the antioxidant properties of the herb prickly pear. In fact, Opuntia species contain a diverse variety of polyphenols that are not present in a single plant species. Nopales are particularly rich in betalains and flavonoids, both of which are organic compounds naturally occurring in nature that have been well investigated due to their active antioxidant properties inside the human body.