Yum, yum, yum! Last night’s rooftop BBQ was finished off with fruits, as per usual, but with an interesting additive. Most of the time we will have watermelon, grapes and melon for dessert (and then sometimes you get taken by surprise when there’s more sweets after the fruit as well), but last night we had figs (more common than not I guess) and Prickly Pear (Frangosiko in greek). I have not eaten Prickly Pear before (just other bits of cactus that we ate in tortilla bread in Mexico) and had to pick up my friend google to see what it actually was and if it was good for anything (according to our host, if’s good for your digestion, I’m guessing that is due to the fibre) and it seems like my new friend here might find he is related to Superman if he has a close look at his Family Tree.
It’s a very interesting looking fruit, both un-peeled and peeled and doesn’t really look attractive or like something you’d like to eat. They grow everywhere around here, in massive bushes and I took a picture Sunday when we went for a walk
they’re interesting looking aren’t they? But that’s not the best part of them, they are apparently packed full of nutrition too! It has lots of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene (good for tanning, the greeks are very into carotene) and vitamin C (I think this is both in the actual pear and in the “leafy” bits of the cactus). The pear also has lots of anti inflammatory agents (the most common factor for Superfoods) and is also antiviral. But wait, there is more. This amazing plant even has 8(!!) essential amino acids, which means it can provide more essential amino acids than any other sources (I might be exaggerating a little here, but 8 essential amino acids from one source is pretty damn good, you need to look long and hard to find anything better in a natural source (I am sure you can find protein powders with as much, but that is not the same!!)).
But wait, there is even more! I told you this plant was amazing, didn’t I? In Mexico (which is where I ate the green bits the first time and where they have been eating Prickly Pear for thousands(??) of years) they have been using the cactus to treat diabetes for centuries, if not millennia. Good, right? It does this by reducing your blood sugar levels, I found examples where a single dose (I don’t know how big a dose is, a fruit??) had lowered the person’s blood sugar level with up to 50%. As we all know, diabetes is strongly linked to obesity (or at least to overweight), therefor this plant is also known for it’s effects on weight loss. I think it’s ticking quite a few boxes on the Superfood scale. All it takes is being a superior food, with more nutritional benefits than most other foods. I think the Prickly Pear does it for me. I’ll put it in the Awesome Food collection with Sweet Potato, Coconut and a few others. More to come for sure!
And when you thought there was nothing more this interesting looking fruit could do for you, I have more up my sleeve! It can also cure hangovers! Tadaa!
Now, are you running out the door to find some? Perfect as a not over the top sweet dessert. I think a warning is needed here too; Do NOT try to bite the seeds from the Pear! You will most likely break your teeth! This also means (I guess, I haven’t checked) that the seeds will come out the way they went in. That’s how nature intended it. If you don’t have any cactus available in your neighbourhood, it seems you can actually buy extract or tablets with the same (I don’t believe this) benefits as eating the actual cactus. Enjoy! 🙂 🙂 🙂