29 Amazing Health & Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pears

Prickly pear or optinua is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. It is native to America and then was introduced to the other regions of the world. Fruit of the prickly pear is also known as tuna and is a good source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc.

Presence of these compounds makes them very beneficial for us as they provide numerous health and beauty benefits. In this article, we will know about the major health and beauty benefits of prickly pears, but first, let’s take a look at the below-mentioned nutrition chart of prickly pears.

Nutrition Chart of Prickly Pears

Nutrition Chart of Prickly Pears
Source-USDA

Health Benefits of Prickly Pears

Health And Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pears
Source-Pixabay.com

(1) Make Our Immune System Stronger

Our immune system is the defense mechanism of our body as it protects the foreign invaders like disease-causing microbes such as bacteria, virus, and fungi, etc. from entering our body and make us sick.

And, even if these disease-causing microbes manage to enter our body, and make us sick, it is our immune system that fights against them and makes us healthy again.

For a healthy living, it is important for us to make sure that our immune system stays stronger, and prickly pears are very beneficial in doing the same.

The immune strengthening benefit of prickly pear is mainly because of the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C in it. A single serving of prickly pears provides more than one-third of the daily requirement of vitamin C to our body.

Antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients etc. fights with the free radicals in our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including the white blood cells that form the backbone of the immune system.

This makes our immune system stronger, and when our immune system is stronger, the risk of various infections such as the development of a cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc. diminishes automatically.

Vitamin C not only improves the health of white blood cells but also increases the production of white blood cells and further strengthens our immune system. It is also an important component of the various enzymatic and metabolic process including the creation of bone and muscle tissues.

(2) Strengthens Bones And Teeth

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for making our bones and teeth stronger.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly due to the presence of calcium in it. Calcium is a vital mineral for our bone health as it plays an important role in the development of bone tissues, and also in strengthening them.

By making our bones stronger, it reduces the risk of osteoporosis and also prevents us from various dental issues that may arise due to deficiency of calcium.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which our bones become very weak and more prone to damage and fracture, and is mainly caused by the deficiency of calcium in our system.

In addition to the calcium, prickly pears are also rich in magnesium and phosphorus that plays a significant role in improving bone strength.

(3) Maintains Cholesterol Level

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for keeping our cholesterol level under control.

It reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol and increases the level of good HDL cholesterol.

The dietary fibers present in the prickly pears prevents the bad cholesterol from getting deposited in the inner lining of the arteries and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to narrowing and hardening of arteries and is a major cause of various cardiovascular issues.

Studies have found that prickly pears are efficient in reducing both plasma level and hepatic levels of cholesterol.

In addition to this, prickly pears also contains phytosterols that enhances cholesterol metabolism in our system and reduces the risk of hyperlipidemia, a condition caused by the high level of cholesterol in our system and may give rise to problems such as high blood pressure, blood clots, blockage of arteries,heart attack and heart stroke etc.

(4) Good For Our Digestive System

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for our stomach and improves the overall health of our digestive system.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly due to the presence of dietary fibers in them.

The dietary fibers present in the prickly pears acts as a natural laxative which means it improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system.

This provides relief from constipation and also relieves from other gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence, etc.

In addition to this, prickly pears also contain a good amount of antioxidants such as vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in them. These compounds protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in the body, and thereby minimizes the risk of colon cancers and gastric ulcers.

This improves our digestive health, and when our digestive system is healthy, our body absorbs nutrients from the food in an efficient manner and this improves our overall health.

(5) Provides Relief From High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke and blockage of arteries, etc.

In order to enjoy a healthy life, it is important for us to keep our blood pressure under control, and prickly pears can help in doing the same.

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly because of the low level of sodium and high level of potassium in this fruit.

Low level of sodium ensures that the blood pressure level doesn’t rise up rapidly.

And the potassium present in the prickly pears is a vital mineral that acts as a natural vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus provides relief from hypertension.

In addition to this, the betalain found in the prickly pears strengthens the inner walls of the blood vessels and thus improves our cardiovascular health.

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(6) Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Regular and moderate consumption of prickly pears is very beneficial for our heart and keeps our cardiovascular system healthy.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly due to the presence of nutritional compounds such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibers, etc. in them.

The potassium present in the prickly pears is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus provides relief from hypertension ( high blood pressure) which may otherwise give rise to cardiovascular issues such as heart attack, heart stroke and blockage of arteries.

The dietary fibers in the prickly pears aids in managing cholesterol level as it reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol from our system, and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the inner walls of the arteries become hard and narrow due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in them. Dietary fibers present in the prickly pears reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol and thus prevents the arteries from getting clogged up by fat deposits.

When our arteries are free of the accumulation of bad cholesterol, our heart doesn’t have to put on an extra effort for maintaining blood circulation and this minimizes the risk of a heart attack.

In addition to this, the antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc. protect our cardiovascular system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals of the body, and thus strengthens it.

Prickly pears also contain betalains that strengthen the inner walls ( endothelial walls ) of the blood vessels and thus prevents our circulatory system from weakening.

(7) Protects Against Various Cancers

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very effective in reducing the risk of various types of cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, etc.

This anticarcinogenic effect of prickly pears is because of its antioxidantal properties.

The antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenolic, flavonoids and phytonutrients, etc present in the prickly pears fights with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, and thereby minimizes the risk of various cancers.

Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that get formed in our body during the oxidation process. As these are unstabilized, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and while doing so, it causes oxidative damage to them.

(8) Promotes Weight Loss

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for the people who are on a weight loss journey and would like to get rid of some extra pounds.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly because of its low caloric value. Eating 100 grams of prickly pears provides around 41 calories of energy which means one can enjoy prickly pears in moderation without worrying about the weight gain.

In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in the prickly pears provide satiety to our system which means it keeps our stomach fuller for longer duration and decreases our urge to eat again and again.

As overeating is a prime reason for obesity, so by controlling overeating, it helps in controlling obesity.

The dietary fibers also bind with the excessive dietary fat and eliminate it from our system in an efficient manner. This reduces the level of dietary fibers absorbed by the intestines and thus helps with the weight loss.

(9) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for providing relief from the pain and inflammation associated with inflammatory problems such as gouts, arthritis, muscle strain, and rheumatism, etc.

This benefit of prickly pears is because of the anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamin C in it.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that not only protects our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, but also reduces the inflammation of the cells and tissues, and the help with gouts and arthritis, etc.

In addition to this other nutrients like vitamin B complex, vitamin A and magnesium, etc. present in the prickly pears, etc. also plays a significant role in fighting inflammation.

(10) Provides Essential Micronutrients

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for providing essential micronutrients such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, etc to our system.

These vital micronutrients play an important role in keeping us healthy. They are required by our body for various physiological and metabolic processes.

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(11) Fights Against Gastric Ulcers

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for reducing the risk of stomach ulcer and also helps in treating the same.

This benefit is because of the ability of prickly pears to improve our digestive health.

The antioxidants such as vitamin C protects our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and also reduces inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach.

The betanin present in the prickly pears reduces the production of gastric mucus and thus helps in treating the gastric ulcer.

Additionally, the dietary fibers present in the prickly pears acts as a natural laxative which means it improves bowel movement and provides gastrointestinal benefits.

(12) Regulates Blood Sugar Level

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for people with diabetes and for the individuals who are at the risk of diabetes.

This benefit of prickly pears is because of its low glycemic index. Glycemic index of the food item is a scale from 0 to 100 that determines the rate at which a particular food item releases sugar into the bloodstream.

Glycemic index of prickly pears is low which means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate and prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level and helps in managing diabetes.

Additionally, the dietary fibers in this fruit reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and keep blood sugar under control.

This fruit also decreases the intestinal absorption of glucose and manages diabetes.

(13) Keeps Our Liver Healthy

The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in keeping us healthy as it performs many important functions in our body.

Some important functions performed by the liver are the production and excretion of bile juice, production of cholesterol, hormone production, metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, etc.

For a healthy living, it is important to take good care of our liver, and prickly pears help in doing the same.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly due to the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytonutrients, etc in them.

These antioxidants and the relevant compounds fight with the free radicals in our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our vital organs such as liver and kidneys.

They also play an important role in the proper elimination of toxins and other impurities from our system and maintains our liver health.

Vitamin C is also an anti-inflammatory compound that protects our liver from the inflammation, and thus reduces the risk of hepatitis.

Additionally, other nutrients like vitamins and minerals, etc. also play a significant role in keeping our liver healthy.

(14) Reduces Hangover

Another advantage of prickly pears is its ability to reduce the effects of a hangover. Prickly pears are anti-inflammatory in nature and reduce inflammation, and it reduces the production of inflammatory mediators that induce uncomfortable feeling during alcohol hangover.

It also minimizes hangover symptoms such as dry mouth and nausea.

(15) Reduces Migraine Frequency

A migraine is a chronic inflammatory condition mainly characterized by a severe headache ( usually on one side of the head) along with other symptoms such as disturbed digestion and poor vision.

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for reducing the frequency of migraines.

This benefit of prickly pear is mainly because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamin C fights with the inflammation in our system and is very efficient in reducing the risk of migraine and also reduces the intensity of the same.

In addition to this, prickly pears are also rich in indicaxanthin, an anti-inflammatory compound that reduces the intensity and frequency of migraine.

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(16) Alleviates Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Prickly pears are very beneficial for providing relief from the common symptoms experienced by the women during post menstrual syndrome (PMS). Some of these symptoms are craps, back pain, headaches, and breast tenderness.

This benefit of prickly pears is because of their ability to inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are the hormone-like chemical which is primarily responsible for the development of these symptoms during PMS.

Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pears For Skin

(1) Increases Collagen Production

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for our skin and increases the production of collagen in our system.

Collagen is an important amino acid that provides shape and structure to our system and is found in abundance in our system.

It is mainly present in the connective tissues such as joints, tendons, bones, cartilages, and capillaries, etc. (source)

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly because of the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C in it.

Antioxidants such as vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients etc. combats with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues. It also facilitates the production of collagen in our system.

Collagen also plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity and this property helps in keeping various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc. at bay.

(2) Treats skin Pigmentation

Prickly pears are good for our skin health and aids in treating skin pigmentation.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly because of the various antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytonutrients, etc. in them.

These compounds fight with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our skin cells and tissues, and keep various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc. at bay.

In addition to this, other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, etc. present in the prickly pears provide nourishment to our skin and make it soft, supple and radiant.

(3) Good For Skin Detoxification

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for our skin and helps with the skin detoxification.

Skin detoxification is the process of removal of toxins, pollutants and other impurities from our skin pores. It improves the overall health of the skin and minimizes the risk of various skin problems.

This detoxifying benefit of prickly pears is mainly because of the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients, etc. in them.

These antioxidants and the relevant compounds not only protects our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals but also plays a significant role in the proper elimination of toxins and other impurities from our system.

Additionally, the dietary fibers in the prickly pears also play a significant role in the skin detoxification.

When there are fewer toxins in our system, they don’t accumulate in our skin pores and thus improves our skin health.

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(4) Helps In Treating Skin Rashes And Eczema

Prickly pears are very beneficial for treating skin problems like skin rashes and eczema.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly because of it’s antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.

It reduces the risk of various bacterial and viral infections and thus reduces the risk of skin problems like rashes etc.

(5) Keeps Premature Ageing At Bay

Regular and moderate consumption of prickly pears is very beneficial for our skin and helps in keeping various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots and skin blemishes, etc at bay.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly because of the presence of various antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients, etc in them.

These compounds protect our skin cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our body and minimize various signs of premature aging.

Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that get formed in our body during the oxidation process. As these are unstabilized ions, so, they steal electrons from the neighboring molecules and while doing so it causes oxidative damage to them.

(6) Aids In Treating Acne

Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world. It can be caused by various factors but a prime cause of acne is the clogging of our skin pores due to the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, and impurities, etc.

Prickly pears are very beneficial for treating acne.

This benefit of prickly pear is mainly because of its detoxifying properties.

The antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytonutrients, etc present in the prickly pears protects our cells and tissues from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals and also aids in the proper elimination of toxins, pollutants and other impurities from our system.

when there are fewer toxins in our system, they don’t accumulate in our skin pores, and thus reduces the risk of acne and pimples.

Additionally, the dietary fibers present in the prickly pears also helps with the skin detoxification. They also control the secretion of excess oil from the oil glands of the skin and prevents the acne from worsening.

(7) Effective Against Harmful UV Rays of The Sun

As per Cancer.org, The ultraviolet rays of the sun are bad for us as they may cause oxidative damage to our cells and thereby increases the risk of skin cancer.

High exposure of UV rays for a long period of time may even give rise to corneal damage, cataracts, macular degeneration, premature aging, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis.

UV rays are also known to damage the white blood cells of our body and thus weakens our immune system.

Eating prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very effective for protecting our skin cells from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly due to the antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytonutrients, etc in them.

These compounds forms and the protective layer and protects us from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.

(8) Maintains Skin Health

Consuming prickly pears on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for keeping our skin healthy.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly due to the presence of various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. in them.

The antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other relevant compounds present in the prickly pears combats with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our skin cells, and thus minimizes various signs of premature ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots and skin blemishes.

It also aids in the proper elimination of toxins and other impurities from our system. When there are fewer toxins in the system, they don’t accumulate in the pores of our skin and this minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.

The dietary fibers in the prickly pears also play a significant role in maintaining our skin health as it aids with the skin detoxification and also regulates the secretion of excess oil from oil glands of the skin, and thus prevents the acne from worsening.

Additionally, prickly pears are also a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that provide nourishment to our skin and keep it healthy. It aids in bringing back the natural glow of the skin, and make our skin soft, supple and radiant.

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Beauty Benefits of Prickly Pears For Hair

(1) Promotes Hair Growth

Prickly pears are an excellent source of many nutritional compounds such as vitamins and minerals, and as well as other beneficial compounds like antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc.

These compounds play an important role in keeping us healthy and also provides many beauty benefits. When it comes to beauty benefits, then it should be noted that they are not only limited to skin, and prickly pear is equally beneficial for our hair follicles and scalp.

Prickly pears are a wonderful fruit for maintaining our scalp health and promotes the growth of new hair follicles.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly because of the antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc. in them.

These antioxidants and the relevant compounds fight with the free radicals in our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our hair follicles and scalp, and keeps them healthy.

They also improve blood circulation in the scalp, and an improved blood circulation ensures that our hair follicles and scalp get proper nourishment from our system.

A well-nourished scalp stays healthy and it also facilitates the growth of new hair follicles.

In addition to this, prickly pear fruit is also rich in other nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamin B complex, and vitamin E, etc. that plays a significant role in keeping our scalp healthy, and encourages the growth of new hair follicles.

(2) Reduces Hair Loss

Regular and moderate consumption of prickly pears is very beneficial for our hair and scalp. It not only promotes the growth of new hair follicles but also reduces the risk of hair loss.

This advantage of prickly pears is mainly because of the antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients, etc. in them.

These antioxidants and the other compounds present in the prickly pears fights against the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our hair follicles, and scalp.

It also improves blood circulation in the scalp and ensures that our hair follicles and scalp get proper nourishment from our system. When our hair follicles are well nourished, they become strong and healthy and are less prone to breakage and fall.

Prickly pears also contain many other nutrients like iron, zinc, copper and vitamin B complex, etc. that plays a significant role in maintaining our scalp health, and thus minimizes the risk of hair fall and hair damage.

(3) Strong And Lustrous Hair

Prickly pears are very beneficial for making our hair stronger and add a natural shine to our hair.

This advantage is mainly due to the various nutritional compounds like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. in them.

The antioxidants in the prickly pears protect our hair follicles and scalp from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals in our body and also enhances blood circulation in the scalp.

As per Science Daily, A healthy blood circulation ensures that our hair follicles and scalp get proper nourishment from our system. This strengthens our hair follicles and also improves the health of the scalp.

Antioxidants protect our hair from the various signs of premature aging like premature greying of hair, hair loss, split ends, hair breakage, etc.

Additionally, the nutrients such as vitamin B complex, iron, and zinc, etc. present in the prickly pears also plays a significant role in keeping our hair and scalp healthy. It nourishes our hair and makes them soft and lustrous.

(4) Helps In Treating Scalp Acne

Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world.

It can be caused by many factors but also a prime reason for acne is the clogging of our skin pores due to the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, and other impurities, etc in them.

Acne isn’t just limited to the skin and can also break out on the scalp, and is thus known as scalp acne.

Eating prickly pears is very beneficial for treating scalp acne.

This benefit of prickly pears is mainly due to the antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc present in them.

These antioxidants and the associated compounds combat with the free radicals in our body stabilize them and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.

They also help in the proper elimination of toxins, pollutants, and other impurities and thus helps with the skin detoxification.

When there are lesser toxins in our system, they don’t get accumulated in the pores of our skin and scalp, and thus reduces the risk of acne and scalp acne.

This fruit also contains a good amount of dietary fibers that play a significant role with the skin detoxification. They also regulate the secretion of excess oil from the oil glands of the skin and prevents the acne from worsening.

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(5) Good For Treating Dandruff

Dandruff is a common scalp problem that affects millions of people around the world and is also a cause of hair problems.

Prickly pears are beneficial against dandruff because of the various nutritional compounds such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. in them.

The antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols etc. protect our hair follicles and scalp from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our body.

This improves blood circulation in the scalp and thus ensures that our hair follicles and scalp are well nourished.

This improves our scalp health and thus prevents dandruff.

Additionally, other nutrients like vitamins and minerals, etc present in the prickly pears also play a significant role in maintaining our scalp health and thus helps with dandruff.

Reference(s)

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/prickly-pears.html

https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-prickly-pear-for-skin-hair-and-health/

https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/prickly-pear.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia

Disclaimer

The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.

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