The New “It” Drink of Summer
If you think of where cactus plants abound (namely, in dry desert areas), the idea of cactus water may seem incongruous. But prickly pear cactus plants, which is what cactus water is made from, actually store tons of water to survive. Cactus water, the latest “it” beverage, is reported to be a sweet-tasting (often due to added sugar, by the way) drink made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. With beneficial properties resulting from its high antioxidant, pigment, and phenolic acid content, cactus water is being touted as the new must-try healing beverage. The vegetative parts of some cactus varieties – known as the Opuntia species, which includes prickly pear – have actually been used for centuries for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Research suggests that Opuntia may be able to help prevent or slow down the development of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and promote better overall health and longevity. Other claims of drinking cactus water require further research, including its ability to help improve athletic performance and add glow to the skin.