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Ask Tufts Experts September 2013 Issue

Q. Do you have any information regarding the prickly pear cactus and claims that its consumption could provide anti-inflammatory and other health benefits?

A. Erika Hval, a dietetic intern at Tufts’ Frances Stern Nutrition Center, answers: “The prickly pear cactus, sometimes referred to as the cactus pear (Optunia spp.), has been touted for a variety of health-related benefits from treating diabetes to alleviating alcohol-induced ‘hangover’ symptoms. Found in Mediterranean and subtropical African and American zones, cactus pear plants are characterized by flattened stems (cladodes) and brightly colored, sweet-tasting fruits. In general, the stems supply high amounts of pectin…

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