Starting a weight loss journey can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. There are so many changes that need to be made, one of the most notable ones being learning to be mindful about the foods you consume. That’s why it’s important to look into those foods that may be able to help you reach your goals. After all, you want to make sure you are feeding your body well and taking effective steps into achieving good health. Prickly pears are a fruit that has recently become popular in the weight loss industry for their high levels of nutrients and antioxidants, all while being low in calories. Here’s everything you need to know about prickly pears, including what makes them so effective for weight loss.
1. What Is A Prickly Pear?
Prickly pears are a type of fruit from the cacti plant. More specifically, they come from a nopal cactus also known as Opuntia cacti. They have been used for thousands of years due to their health benefits and ability to help prevent obesity. Prickly pear fruits can come in two different colors – red or yellow/golden – both having their own unique health benefits. There are over a hundred known species of this plant in Mexico alone. The main reason why prickly pears are so popular is for their antioxidant content, having more antioxidants than most other fruits out there today. They have been used in Mexican cooking and medicine for decades and can be added to a wide variety of dishes such as salads or smoothies.
2. Low-Calorie Food
To start off, prickly pears are very low in calories. While calorie counting isn’t always advisable, it is important to know what foods can help you make better choices and still fit into your diet. One cup of raw prickly pears only contains just 52 calories! That is very low considering most fruits range from 80 to 100 calories per cup. That means that if you’re still craving food, even though you don’t really feel hungry anymore, you can enjoy a cup of prickly pears and get a boost in nutrients without having to worry about consuming too many calories. It’s a healthy choice of snack no matter what your weight loss goals are.
3. Sugar Absorption Regulation
Prickly pears are also known for their ability to regulate your body’s absorption of sugars. One cup of prickly pear does contain around 6 grams of carbohydrates, but it also slows down the digestion of carbs. While this may seem counterintuitive at first, it actually means that your body will be able to absorb more nutrients from any carbohydrates that you do eat, maximizing their effects. One study, in particular, found that prickly pears were able to reduce blood sugar spikes when compared to yogurt with the same amount of carbs and calories after just six weeks of eating it. In simpler terms, because your body is absorbing carbs at a slower rate, it’s also absorbing sugar slower as well, which gives it more time to regulate the intake. That means that prickly pears may be able to help you lose weight by reducing blood sugar crashes and making your body feel more satisfied after meals so that you won’t crave certain snacks between them.
Anyone that’s ever even stretched the surface of healthy eating knows the importance of fiber. Fiber is crucial for keeping your system regulated, whether it’s in the digestive tract or your metabolism. Prickly pears are very high in fiber, containing 8 grams per 2 cups. This may not sound like much but most fruits only contain around 1 to 3 grams of fiber. Fibers also help slow down digestion all while providing many other benefits. Prickly pears are also high in soluble fibers which help block the absorption of cholesterol and sugars, making it easier for your body to reduce insulin levels.
5. Amino Acids, Vitamins, And Minerals
Prickly pears are known to be great sources of amino acids, which is why this is one of the most popular fruits among those with busy lifestyles. Amino acids help with many processes such as muscle repair and growth, improving brain functions like memory and focus, as well as promoting overall wellness throughout your body. The best thing about amino acids is that your body requires daily intake, so one serving of prickly pears can help boost these levels and improve your overall health. There are many vitamins and minerals contained in prickly pears: Vitamin C to start – this vitamin has so many benefits such as boosting the immune system and promoting good eyesight. Calcium to help build strong bones and teeth Vitamin A for promoting healthy skin and hair Iron to support blood production Magnesium which helps with muscle growth Potassium which can boost bone health and prevent osteoporosis and arthritis Zinc and phosphorus which help promote a better sense of smell. When you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to function properly, you’ll find that weight loss becomes a bit easier since your body is not fighting you along the way.
Prickly pears are an amazing super fruit that is not only delicious but they’re also very beneficial for weight loss. They increase your energy, reduce blood sugar spikes, and help regulate the absorption of sugars in your body. All of this helps you lose weight, feel more satisfied after meals, and become healthier overall.