The prickly pear (Opuntia Ficus Indica) is a plant that comes from South America, and grows spontaneously in all the Mediterranean area. It is also known as Opontia or Nopal. Not only is the prickly pear a very important weight loss food, but also very healthy in general. Prickly pear is effectively used in treatments against:
- high cholesterol
- obesity and overweight
- gastrointestinal problems
- skin problems
Here is a shortlist of the most important properties and uses of this incredible plant, which can be included among the best weight loss foods.
Its leaves are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber (cellulose, hemicelulose, lignans, pectins, mucilage) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C1), minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper).
Prickly pears help control glycaemic index.
A research carried out in Mexico, at the University of Tijuana, showed that this plant can be very effective in keeping glycaemia, by reducing sugar and fat absorption. This is very good news not only for people who suffer from diabetes, but also for whoever needs to lose weight.
They increase the sense of surfeit.
Prickly pears are the ideal food for snacking, thanks to the low calories, and the high content of soluble fibers, mucilage in particular. These fibers, once in the stomach, create a sort of jelly, which expands and relieve the sense of emptiness, typical of when we are hungry, which makes us believe that we have to eat a lot to make it go away. Besides, fibers slow down the absorption of sugars at the end of a the meal, making the sense of surfeit last longer.
Keeps the intestine regular.
Last but not least, fibers help intestinal activity without irritating the mucous membrane. It also helps regenerate intestinal flora. An active intestine, helps lose weight fast, and a better absorption of vitamins and minerals.