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Health Benefits Of Nopal

The nopal cactus is a vegetable native to the mountains of Mexico, where it is commonly eaten and forms a part of a variety of Mexican cuisine dishes. Also known as prickly pear or green nopal, the vegetable is made from young cladophyll (pad) segments of prickly pear that are carefully peeled to remove the spines. A traditionally consumed ancient variety, nopal has been used in a vast array of metabolic, cardiovascular and digestive disorders. The cactus cultivated in the high volcanic mountains of Mexico provides the most important bioactive healing properties. Read on further to know the nutritional value of nopal and also explore the health and nutrition benefits of eating nopales.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Eating Nopales

  1. Nopal cactus contains high amount of soluble and insoluble fibers that help in reducing both fasting and post-prandial hyperglycemia.
  2. The abundant polysaccharide fibers and sterols found in the nopal prickly pear are known to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  3. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in nopal help in removing and preventing blood vessel plaques.
  4. Nopal juice concentrate and nopal cactus powder helps in preventing the primary causes of heart diseases, in the form of cardiovascular inflammation.
  5. The presence of insoluble dietary fiber, or roughage, in nopal absorbs both water and toxins and gently hastens food through the digestive track, thereby contributing to regular bowel movements.
  6. The nopal cactus controls excess gastric acid production and protects the gastrointestinal mucus membranes.
  7. The high level of calcium present in nopal helps in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
  8. By normalizing and lowering blood sugar and lipids, nopal promotes satiety and reduces hunger and caloric consumption.
  9. Nopal juice is consumed to decrease pain from urination caused with a continuing dull ache in the urethra and bladder after completion.
  10. Since nopal contains antioxidant flavonoids, it neutralizes free radicals before they can even overtax the liver. It absorbs toxins, thereby decreasing the liver’s load.
  11. Nopal helps counteracting the effects of alcohol consumption, rehydrating the body, soothing the stomach and preventing headaches and stomach aches.

Tips

  1. Nopals can be purchased fresh, canned or dried.
  2. Nopal juice is used in various other preparations, such as jellies and candies.
  3. The prickly pear is eaten fresh or combined with pies, deserts, shakes and spreads.

Caution
Nopal supplements are known to cause some mild effects like headache, nausea, diarrhea and bloating.  People with liver or kidney disorder should consume nopal only after consulting a health care provider.  Diabetic patients should always consult a physician before taking nopal, since it can result in chances of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and other adverse effects.  Nopal cactus should be avoided by children and pregnant and nursing women.

Nutritional Value of Nopal
Amount of nopal (raw): 1 cup
Total Weight of nopal (raw): 86 g (3.1 Oz)

Nutrients Amount
Basic Components  
Protein 1.1 g
Water 80.9 g
Ash 1 g
Calories  
Total Calories 13.8
Calories From Carbohydrate 10.3
Calories From Fat 0.6
Calories From Protein 2.8
Carbohydrates  
Total Carbohydrates 2.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 1 g
Fats & Fatty Acids  
Total Fat 0.1 g
Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids 4.3 mg
Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids 37.8 mg
Vitamins  
Vitamin A 393 IU
Vitamin C 8 mg
Vitamin K 4.6 mcg
Niacin 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg
Folate 2.6 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 mg
Choline 6.3 mg
Minerals  
Calcium 141 mg
Iron 0.5 mg
Magnesium 44.7 mg
Phosphorus 13.8 mg
Potassium 221 mg
Sodium 18.1 mg
Zinc 0.2 mg
Manganese 0.4 mg
Selenium 0.6 mcg

 

 

 

 

 

 





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