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Prickly pear water has about half the calories of coconut water too. This all makes it a really good drink choice for most things you’ll find yourself doing. There’s some confusion about cactus water, which is why Steaz rebranded their drinks to more accurately call it exactly what it is.
Prickly pear water isn’t from the pokey paddle part of a cactus, not that it really matters. It’s actually from the fruit that grows out of the top of some cacti – a little prickly pear. It’s a beautiful bright pink fruit, if you’ve ever seen anything flavored with it, you’d notice. I’ve used the puree a few times in restaurants and it is electric! There’s kind of a process to extracting it safely, so it’s not like you can just crack a prickly pear open and drink whatever comes out.
Besides the fact that it comes out of a cactus…in dry desert conditions…prickly pear water has some other qualities that make it pretty unique.
As of right now, prickly pear water is the only known natural source of all 24 betalains. What is that and why should you care? They’ve probably caught your eye before and you didn’t know it, because they’re responsible for that BEAUTIFUL reddish-pink pigment that you find in beets, prickly pear, and dragonfruit. You know what I’m talking about? It’s such a strong pigment that you can seriously dye clothes with it – I tried (watch it here). Anyway, betalains are rare, super strong compounds in just a few special foods that have really potent antioxidants. Considered “functional foods” by a lot of scientists now, foods that are high in these kinds of powerful antioxidants can possibly help our bodies fight cancer and disease. They help strengthen cell walls which aids in keeping cells hydrated, and they support cell health by preventing damaging toxins and inflammation.
Prickly pear water is great for your skin too. Electrolytes alone are good skin boosters, but prickly pear water has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit your skin in a lot of ways. As I talked about in my other blog post, anti-inflammatory things can not only reduce puffiness and redness, but also internal inflammation that you can’t see. Antioxidants fight against free radical damage, toxins, and other elements that contribute to things like wrinkles. They help keep cells from breaking down, so are really great for preventing future signs of aging and protecting skin. If wrinkles never form in the first place, we don't have to worry about getting rid of them. Those antioxidants have immune-boosting benefits too, so you can add that to the list of reasons to try it. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to a trigger, so it’s not a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when it doesn’t go away. If you have lingering inflammation in your cells, or in your skin, you can see the puffiness, redness, irritation, etc. Inflammation can lead to a lot of less than ideal function internally in the body, and that’s true for your skin too. So anti-inflammatory benefits aren’t necessarily just for visible swelling or inflammation, because they can also help calm things under skins surface. Stressed or irritated skin isn’t going to function properly or at 100%, just like you don’t when you’re stressed and irritated! And those extra-hydrating properties of prickly pear water, with the ability to help cells actually hold onto moisture, are going to benefit your skin now and long term.
Because it has a mild flavor, you can use it in so many things, and even cook with it! This is another one of the things about it that makes it stand out from coconut water. A lot of people don’t care too much for coconut, or they just don’t like the taste of coconut water. It’s easy to add to things like smoothies too.
Since prickly pear water is also so naturally hydrating and has natural flavor, it’s absolutely PERFECT for making cocktails, especially in the summer. I recently tried a prickly pear green tea by Steaz, and it’s already got flavor, and sweetness from real sugar and a hint of stevia, so it’s pretty much ready to mix with vodka, tequila, or gin. Have a little prickly pear water BEFORE your cocktail too, cause that might prevent a hangover!
Try this refreshing, summery cocktail with Steaz Prickly Pear Green Tea, lemon, and a splash of bitter orange Campari.
¾ oz vodka
¼ oz Campari
3 oz Steaz Prickly Pear Green Tea
½ oz lemon juice
Shake with ice, and pour into a coupe glass, or serve on the rocks with a splash of club soda and mint.
Prickly pear water actually has 5 natural electrolytes - magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and sodium - the stuff you’ve seen added to Vitamin Water, etc. Hydration is important, yes, we all know that. But besides quenching thirst, staying hydrated is necessary for all of your body functions, and it does more than replace “lost water”. Drinking water is great and all, but there are other natural liquids that can replenish the nutrients you lose when you’re doing a little bit heavier of an activity.
When you’re active and sweating, you lose electrolytes and nutrients that you kinda need to keep going. You see electrolytes in drinks because they are so important for not only activity, but for things like your bones, and nervous system. Prickly pear water is naturally high in these vital electrolytes, so this can definitely help replace those lost nutrients to keep your body performing its best. Electrolytes can also help prevent and relieve muscle cramps.
Interestingly, prickly pear water also has another nutrient that you commonly find added to beverages – taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that’s important for helping your body do lots of things, and its extra beneficial when you’re active. I remember the first time I noticed it was in the ingredients for a Red Bull!
Taurine helps the body repair tissue damage, like rebuilding muscles after a workout, plus it has benefits for your skin. It can reduce inflammation and even fight damage from free radicals and UV rays. Your body naturally makes taurine, because it’s pretty crucial to everything working properly, from your brain to your heart to your hearing. Taurine is also essential for digestion, helps the body maintain electrolyte levels, and it supports your immune system, your nervous system, and your vision. Your body probably makes enough to keep you functioning – otherwise you prob wouldn’t be here reading this – but supplementing with a little extra taurine can give your body some extra support when you working a little harder than normal. For one, taurine is really good at helping with quick muscle repair and reducing soreness. It looks like taurine might also increase the body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise, letting you do what you’re doing for longer before you start getting tired.
Prickly pear water is gaining popularity which means it’s getting easier to find in stores, and there are lots of brands to choose from. Try to look out for companies supporting the farming efforts where their fruits are being harvested – the ones who use sustainable practices and pay farmers fair wages…you know, things like that. Yes, prickly pear water is a bit more expensive than the free water that comes out of your tap, but it’s really damn good for you too. You don’t need gallons of it every day, but it’s not a bad idea to give your body a “treat” when you’re working extra hard. Prickly pear water is a natural product that has to be grown, harvested, processed, and packaged, all by real people that want a good, sustainable living just like you. To do all of that in an eco-friendly way takes a little extra effort, but the long term benefits are there for everyone involved, and anyone who plans to continue enjoying agriculture on this planet.
I always try to support companies who go the extra mile to consider the long term effects of their practices, and Steaz is one of those companies. They use good practices, organic ingredients, and support fair trade around the world.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried prickly pear water yet!
I am pretty new to it and only first tried it within the past few months….I’m not sure how I have missed out on this so far. I love my coconut water but I don’t always want something sweet, and with all of those health benefits, there is no reason I won’t be keeping some on hand to enjoy when I need or want it.
This post is a PAID PARTNERSHIP with STEAZ Green Tea. Steaz is available in three flavors, Prickly Pear Green Tea, Prickly Pear Starfuit & Green Tea, and Prickly Pear Cucumber & Green Tea.
Find Steaz in most grocery stores near you (Store Locator) , or have it delivered right to your door from Steaz.com.