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Prickly Pear or Barbary fig
What is The prickly pear ?
Barbary fig, sometimes known as prickly pear, has gotten a lot of press in the nutrition industry because of its possible health advantages.
Barbary fig is a rich source of nutrients, according to research, and may help those with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
It has the potential to flourish in drought-stricken places and can even heal damaged soil. These unique characteristics make it a valuable, environmentally friendly crop for human and animal use in many parts of the world.
This page discusses the Barbary fig, including its applications and potential health advantages, as well as how to incorporate it into your diet.
Prickly pears from North Africa, Spain, Sardinia, and Sicily may be found at Mexico's market stands. The thorns on the prickly pear's skin make harvesting long and arduous, which is why this fruit is so rare.
Barbary fig (Opuntia spp.) is a genus of cactus that includes numerous species of prickly pear and nopal. This plant is native to Mexico, although it may also be found in other parts of the world, including as North Africa and the United States.
Once a year, for a brief season, the plant yields edible fruit. Prickly pear, Barbary fig, cactus pear, and tuna are some of the names given to the fruit.
Prickly pear species may be found all over the world.
The stems, also known as cladodes, pads, nopales, or pencas, are one of the many edible portions of the Barbary fig plant. The sensitive sections of the stem, known as cladodes, are considered like a vegetable in Mexico and used in dishes such as salads.
The cactus fruit is consumed fresh or juiced, and it is also used to produce jams, sweets, dried fruit, dietary supplements, and wine. The fruit has a sweet, melon or berry-like flavor when fully mature.
The oval-shaped fruits are green, orange, or purple in color.
Fruits with a green exterior and white flesh are often preferred by people.
The fruit is edible, however it must be peeled before eating. The fruit's delectable flesh is protected by a strong covering coated with microscopic spines known as glochids. There are a lot of seeds in this fruit, which you may consume.
Barbary fig has been utilized as a natural remedy for wounds, liver illness, glaucoma, and digestive difficulties by people throughout history in traditional medicine systems.
Furthermore, the plant thrives in hard, dry regions with inadequate soil, making it a vital crop for drought-stricken areas such as ALGERIA.
Barbary fig is sometimes used to make natural coloring and vegan leather goods, in addition to being a food source for both humans and animals.
What Are The Nutritional and caloric values of Barbary fig ?
The prickly pear, also known as the cactus pear, is a delicious fruit native to Mexico. This remarkable fruit has a delicious center with an appealing delicate feel hidden behind its hefty thorns. The prickly pear offers a few nutritional benefits that it would be a pity to overlook, starting with its vitamin C and dietary fiber levels.
The prickly pear's characteristics
Excellent source of vitamin C; powerful antioxidant; high in dietary fiber; regulates intestinal transit; low in calories
Prickly pear's major nutrients
Water: The prickly pear is high in water, making it a perfect summer fruit for its cooling and thirst-quenching properties.
Vitamin A: This vitamin, which is found in the prickly pear, aids in the proper rejuvenation of the body's tissues.
Magnesium: the prickly pear gives to a healthy amount of magnesium, which helps to maintain the muscles, neurological system, and digestive system.
Vitamin C: The prickly pear's vitamin C provides it with antioxidant characteristics, thus it can help you fight cellular aging.
Barbary fig is a nutrient-dense fruit that includes a number of potent plant components.
The following are the nutritional values for one cup (149 grams) of uncooked Barbary fig fruit, often known as prickly pear:
Carbohydrates: 14.3 g
5.4 grams of fiber
1.1 gram protein
Less than 1 gram of fat
Vitamin C has a daily value of 23%. (DV)
Calcium: 6% of the daily value
Magnesium: 30% of the daily value
Potassium: 7% of the daily value
Barbary fig, as you can see, is a wonderful source of fiber as well as various vitamins and minerals that may help you stay healthy.
Potassium, for example, aids in blood pressure regulation, while calcium supports healthy bones. Meanwhile, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps with immunity, while magnesium is important for bone health, heart and muscle contraction, and energy metabolism.
Smaller levels of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and copper are also found in Barbary figs.
It's also recognized for its high quantity of beneficial plant components and powerful antioxidant properties. Polyphenols, such as flavonoids, and water-soluble pigments known as betalains are among them.
The Barbary fig's color comes from betalain pigments. Betacyanins are found in purple Barbary fig species, whereas betaxanthins are found in orange variants.
Barbary fig betalains have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Purple variants, for example, have greater amounts of betalains and vitamin C, suggesting that they may have more antioxidant action than orange kinds.
The outstanding nutritional profile of the Barbary fig, as well as its high quantity of beneficial plant chemicals, are regarded to be the grounds for its possible health advantages.
Nutritional and caloric values of Barbary fig
For 100 g of Barbary fig :
Why should you eat Barbary fig ?
The prickly pear is a health ally that deserves to be included in the diet because of its unusual nutritional profile. It's high in fiber, which aids digestion and regulates transit. It's also high in vitamin C and water, making it good for moisturizing and antioxidant purposes.
Transit is regulated.
The prickly pear has a significant amount of fiber, which aids intestinal transit by preventing constipation.
The antioxidant effects of the prickly pear are due to the vitamin C it contains. As a result, effective cell regeneration will be possible in all of the body's tissues.
The prickly pear, which contains mostly water, is a thirst-quenching fruit that works well with excellent hydration from drinking water to keep you in shape.
Barbary fig has been found in studies to provide a variety of health advantages due to its nutrients and powerful plant components.
Barbary fig, for example, has been found in trials to help lower inflammation and blood fat levels.
It's possible that this will aid to reduce inflammation.
Barbary figs contain chemicals such as betalains, which have been shown in studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activities.
Consumption of Barbary figs has been associated to improvements in inflammatory markers in several studies.
For example, 28 people received 200 grams of Barbary fig fruit pulp twice a day for two weeks in one high-quality study. They then ingested a similar quantity of other fruit every day for another two weeks after that.
A three-week interval was used to divide the two periods.
When compared to other seasonal fruits, Barbary fig consumption resulted in larger reductions in inflammatory markers.
TNF-, C-reactive protein (CRP), interferon gamma (INF), interleukin 1 beta (IL-1), interleukin 8 (IL-8) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were among the inflammatory indicators studied (ESR)
Furthermore, eating Barbary fig enhanced participants' skin carotenoid content, which is a measure of overall antioxidant health.
Barbary fig has also been demonstrated in animal experiments to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
While these findings are encouraging, bigger, higher-quality research are needed to further study the anti-inflammatory potential of Barbary fig.
It might be beneficial to your metabolic health.
Barbary fig may have the capacity to reduce blood fat and blood sugar levels, according to some data.
22 male athletes were given 5 ounces (150 mL) of Barbary fig juice each day before and after rigorous exercise in a high-quality trial.
When compared to the control group, the treatment group had substantial reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, heart rate, and the oxidative stress marker malondialdehyde (MDA).
Interestingly, those who drank Barbary fig juice suffered from reduced exercise-induced muscular injury.
Furthermore, an analysis of 11 research published in 2020 indicated that eating Barbary figs was linked to significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Barbary fig has been shown in certain trials to reduce blood sugar levels in addition to decreasing cholesterol.
However, according to a 2019 study, the effects on blood sugar may vary depending on which portion of the Barbary fig you consume.
The cladode, a component of the Barbary fig plant, has shown potential in decreasing blood sugar levels. However, there isn't enough research to show that the fruit can help reduce blood sugar levels.
The cladode is a kind of stem that resembles a leaf. The cladodes of Barbary figs are paddle-shaped. Consumption of Barbary fig cladodes was linked to considerable blood sugar decreases in adults with and without diabetes, according to one study.
The cladode has a lot of fiber, which might explain its blood sugar-lowering properties.
Finally, a review of five research published in 2015 indicated that eating Barbary figs can help lower body fat, blood pressure, and total cholesterol. Nonetheless, the majority of the existing studies on the effects of Barbary fig on body weight were of poor quality, according to the researchers.
Other potential benefits
In addition to the advantages listed above, some study shows that Barbary fig may protect the liver and brain, prevent cancer, and alleviate hangovers.
Barbary fig contains indicaxanthin, a form of betalain. Indicaxanthin appears to be able to pass the blood-brain barrier, according to preliminary study. This implies that, unlike many other compounds in the blood, it may enter the brain.
It appears to build up in the brain and protect it from harm.
The chemicals in Barbary fig have also been demonstrated in animal experiments to protect against liver damage and have cancer-fighting properties.
In addition, Barbary fig seed oil has been proven to have antibacterial, antifungal, and wound-healing effects. Barbary fig seed oil is used in skin and hair care products because of this.
Barbary fig may also assist with hangovers, according to an older research. Before consuming alcohol, participants consumed an extract from the Opuntia ficus indica plant.
The extract dramatically decreased hangover symptoms the next morning, including dry mouth, nausea, and a lack of appetite in those who took it. However, the extract didn’t lessen other symptoms including dizziness, weakness, and headache.
Even though these findings are intriguing, additional study in people is needed to examine the potential health advantages of Barbary fig.
How can you choose the finest Barbary fig and properly store it?
The prickly pear is a cactus fruit found mostly in the Mexican desert. Christopher Columbus would have discovered this unusual fruit and brought it back to Europe after his voyages. The prickly pear is becoming more common on French supermarket shelves; it can have a more or less elongated form, and its color varies according on the variety.
It is available in our markets from August through October, and when fully ripe, it has an orange hue and silky skin. The weight of a prickly pear can vary greatly, ranging from 50g to 400g. Its flesh might be yellow, red, or even purple, which affects the prickly pear's flavor significantly.
For the best possible conservation,
It will keep for 2 to 3 days at ambient temperature or in the crisper of the refrigerator.
How to prepare Barbary fig ?
Barbary figs can be eaten fresh as a whole fruit or used in a variety of products such as juices, sweets, jams, and wines. Fruits with a green exterior and white flesh are often preferred.
In locations where the Barbary fig is scarce, grocery shops may not stock it, so you'll have to go to a specialized grocer or purchase it online.
It's vital to notice that before eating the Barbary fig fruit, you must remove the rough outer peel. Peeling the fruit is tricky since it's coated in tiny spines. While removing the skin, wear gloves or a cloth to protect your hands.
You may eat the fruit straight from the tree or use it in dishes like fruit salads. Small seeds are included in the fruit, which you can consume or spit out.
Barbary fig drinks and supplements can be found at health food and specialized stores.
If you're thinking of consuming concentrated Barbary fig products like extracts or supplements, you should talk to a doctor first to be sure you're safe.
Furthermore, because supplements are regulated differently than prescription pharmaceuticals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it may be better to only buy Barbary fig products that have completed third-party testing.
When used in strong dosages, barbary fig products may interfere with some drugs, such as those used to manage diabetes.
Additionally, some people may get stomach trouble if they consume big amounts of Barbary fig fruit.
What is the best way to eat a prickly pear?
Due to the many thorns on the fruit, it may appear difficult to prepare without injuring oneself. Prickly pears can readily be found peeled or without thorns. In this situation, all you have to do is split it in half and use a spoon to sample the meat. If you choose an unpeeled prickly pear, all you have to do is insert a fork into the fruit, create an incision with a knife at the top and bottom of the fruit, then an incision along the length of the fruit; you'll simply have to carefully remove the skin and feast on the succulent meat.
There are sweet and sweet notes on the palate, as well as a faint tanginess. Because of its water content, this fruit is highly juicy and pleasant. The prickly pear has a wide range of culinary applications and pairs well with both savory and sweet components. This beautiful fruit has a significant benefit in that it can simply be included into all of our favorite dishes.
A fruit with a lot of uses
The prickly pear can be consumed raw, in juice, pie, fruit paste, or jam form. The prickly pear may be used with other fruits or vanilla in jam, and it pairs nicely with both.
Just like in Mexico, savor the prickly pear.
It's sliced into sticks for roasting in Mexico and served as a side dish with meat. The prickly pear is fermented and used in the production of tequila.
Prickly pear can also be prepared in a savory variant for the more adventurous. We will next prepare it as a chutney or sauce to match white meats or meats with character, such as game.
What are Barbary fig contraindications and allergies?
The presence of the numerous seeds contained in the flesh of the prickly pear is without a doubt its main disadvantage. When ingested in excess, these seeds might induce intestinal blockage and aggravate diverticulosis in sensitive individuals. Consumption of prickly pear should be tailored to digestive tolerance in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Indeed, the fibers in it can produce unpleasant digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and so on.
Obstruction of the intestine
Take cautious not to ingest too much prickly pear since its seeds can cause digestive problems, particularly intestinal blockage.