Nopal is a member of the Prickly Pear cactus family, native to Mexico and the southwestern regions of the United States. It is also found in Italy, Spain & South Africa, where it was imported during the Spanish conquest of the New World.
What does it do?
Studies show Nopal is a valuable multi-system-supporting nutrient that helps support immune, glandular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems.
1. Nutrition – Strengthens the liver and pancreas
Nopal’s active ingredients strengthen the liver and the pancreas; the health of these glands crucial to the conversion of food into digestible nutrients, production of bile, removal of toxins from the body and building of proteins.
Vitamins found in Nopal (A, B1, B2, B3, and C), minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, and Iron) and fibers (Lignan, Cellulose, Hemicellulose, Pectin, Mucilages, and Gum), along with the 18 amino acids also found in Nopal help support the functions of the liver and pancreas and reportedly improve body cell response to insulin stimulation.
2. Digestive System – Prevents absorption of excess dietary fat and carbohydrates.
Nopal aids in preventing the digestive system from absorbing excess dietary fat and carbohydrate sugars. Soluble fibers (including gums, mucilages, pectins and polysaccharides) show the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Insoluble fibers (more commonly known as roughage), reduce excess bile and potential carcinogens that may be present in the colon, by absorption and excretion. As a fibrous plant, Nopal contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Soluble fibers present in Nopal include mucilages, pectin, gums and som hemicellulose. Insoluble fibers include cellulose, lignan and remaining hemicellulose. Nopal is a gentle alternative to psyllium (a well-known fiber supplement taken for colon cleansing) for those with a sensitivity or allergy to psyllium. Vegetable protein found in Nopal (amino acids) help the body pull fluids from body tissues back into the bloodstream thereby diminishing cellulite and fluid retention. Fat build up is prevented, while fat breakdown and excretion is increased. The pectin and lignan found in Nopal are also known for increasing satiety (decreasing appetite).
3. Circulatory System – Converts and excretes cholesterol .
Nopal acts in several ways that have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. First, the fiber found in Nopal acts to absorb and excrete cholesterol in the digestive system. Second, the amino acids, fiber and B3 (niacin) found in Nopal prevent excess sugar conversions into fats, while reducing triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, by metabolizing fat and fatty acids and eliminating excess bile acids which eventually convert into cholesterol. Third, the B3 (niacin) in Nopal acts to convert LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) forms of cholesterol.
4. Urinary System – An anti-inflammatory diuretic
The juice of Nopal is used in Mexico as an anti-inflammatory diuretic and to decrease pain on or following urination. These effects reportedly derive from bioflavonoids, amino acids and fiber in Nopal.
5. Nervous System – Balances overall nerve functions
Nopal aids in balancing and calming the nervous system, which creates a sense of well being and benefits the body’s overall function.
6. Amino acids, vitamin & minerals – Controls anxiety and depression
Amino acids are the chief structure of proteins and are involved in a wide range of beneficial functions such as stimulating the immune system, maintenance of proper blood sugar balance and control of anxiety and depression. Nopal is a natural source of 18 Amino acids, 8 of which must be ingested as food.
Vitamins A, E, and C act as antioxidants. Vitamin B (niacin) lowers cholesterol. Vitamin E helps prevent blood clots and the formation of fatty plaques on the walls of the arteries. Folic acid reduces risk of stroke. Nopal is a source of these important vitamins in a natural form. A primary role of minerals is to serve as facilitators of the many types of metabolism that are necessary to the proper functioning of all human body systems. For example, iron is necessary for protein metabolism and plays a role in immune system resistance. Potassium helps prevent impaired glucose tolerance and impaired insulin secretion. Selenium is an anti-oxidant and helps preserve tissue elasticity. Additionally, minerals play special roles; such as calcium in the building of strong bones and teeth. Nopal is an source of 10 minerals.
7. Weight Loss – Curbs appetite and fat build up
Nopal is a natural aid in losing weight. It’s high fiber content curbs the appetite and fat build up is diminished while fat break down and excretions are increased. Nopal contains vegetable protein (amino acids) that helps the body pull fluids back from the tissues into the bloodstream, thereby diminishing cellulite and fluid retention retention.