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Nopal and its Properties

Nopal and its Properties

Nopal and its Properties


Nopal’s use is varied and it can be ingested in juices, sweets, salads, and stews for preparation.

Harnessing the healing properties of plants is an ancient practice that has never ceased to exist. The case of the cactus in Mexico has a special meaning for the symbolic role of the settlement of the Aztecs in Lake Texcoco, leading to his empire Tenochtitlan (te, stone and nochtli, nopal). The Aztecs used it for many medicines: for fevers drank the juice, cactus mucilage or slime used to cure the cracked lips, diarrhea cure pulp, cleaning the bones of infection, the fruit was used for excess bile, used the leaves of the cactus as hot dressing to relieve inflammation and root for the treatment of hernia, liver irritation, stomach ulcers and erysipelas. Today nopal is part of our national emblem and still has medical uses and varied food.

Cactus is a wild plant that survives in cold, desert regions. It does not require much water for cultivation, making it a good source of income for many farmers who do not have the necessary resources and live in arid or semiarid. Is said to have an important ecological role, as it stops the deforested land degradation, and can make unproductive land productive. There are about 600 species in 122 thousand genera of the family Cactaceae, which comes from a cactus. Nopal has fruits which are edible, and are known by the name of tunas. In Mexico, the annual per capita intake of nopal is 6.4 kilos.

Nutritional properties

The cactus is used as fodder, but also young pads are marketed as a vegetable, they can be prepared in brine, cooked gravies and soups, in salads or cooked in dishes, as appetizers, sauces, beverages, desserts , jams and endless food uses can be given to this plant is so rich in properties. Recently it has been very popular consumption nopales with some fruit smoothies as a way to lose weight or to people with certain diseases that will be described later. The only problem is that many people find the slime of nopal to be a bit unpleasant. The powder dried cactus or prickly pear, has come to offer a solution to this problem. To avoid cactus slime, we also recommend garlic, baking, peel tomatoes, corn leaf, lemon juice, ash and volcanic rock in the water.


Regarding the nutritional value of cactus, we can say that in 1 cup of raw nopales (86 g approximately) is 2.9 g carbohydrate and 1.1 g of protein and only 14 Kcal. But its main attraction is that it contains a large amount of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble): 2 g of fiber in a cup. There is a 30:70 ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber can prevent and relieve constipation and hemorrhoids at the same time preventing the occurrence of colon cancer.Soluble fiber has been used in many conditions because their presence in the digestive tract slows the absorption of nutrients and makes them not pass the blood quickly. They are also a good source of calcium, since in 100 g of cactus, there are approximately 80 mg of calcium.

Medicinal properties

It has been shown in several studies, mainly conducted in Mexico, the medicinal properties that have a cactus. They are called “medicinal properties” as they help control the disease more easily, but this does not mean that the disease is cured.

Obesity: It has become fashionable in all diets take a cactus with orange juice or other fruit. This is due to to the large amount of fiber within the plant that helps slow the time to absorb nutrients. Insoluble fiber creates a feeling of fullness, thus decreasing hunger and increasing digestion. Moreover, plant proteins promote mobilization of fluid in the bloodstream diminishing cellulite and fluid retention.

Diabetes and hyperglycemia: There is also talk that Nopal helps people with diabetes. Nopal levels and increases insulin sensitivity, thus helping to stabilize and regulate blood sugar. It has been scientifically proven hypoglycemic cactus power, is as an effective treatment for diabetes prevention. Investigations at the National Polytechnic Institute documented that the cactus reduces blood glucose concentrations. These studies have shown that ingestion of prickly pear before each meal for 10 days, causes a reduction in body weight and reduced concentrations of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. This has been seen only in people who are resistant to insulin, or in patients with type II diabetes, but for people with type I diabetes (not insulin), the consumption of nopal injections does not replace it.

Cholesterol. In people with high cholesterol has been shown that consumption of nopal, helps eliminate preventing it from absorbing much of it and so does not build up in veins and arteries. Amino acids, fiber and niacin contained in the cactus prevent excess blood sugar is converted into fat, while on the other hand, acts by metabolizing fat and fatty acids and cholesterol reduction. The content of LDL (low density lipoprotein) in the cactus is believed to be the main cause that cholesterol is expelled from the body, acting as the LDL in the liver, removing and withdrawing the cholesterol that the body has too much. At the same time have seen this amount of LDL does not affect HDL (high density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol. ” The cactus has a sufficient amount of amino acids and fiber, including the antioxidants vitamin C and A, which, preventing the possibility of damage to blood vessel walls, as well as platelet formation of fat, and as well ashas a preventive power in relation to atherosclerosis.

Property antibiotic. The cactus are natural antibiotics, this property is related to crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant, which, in the cactus inhibits or stops the growth of several bacterial species. Thus, both the consumption of cactus and the application of poultices of leaves of cactus have beneficial effects on wounds and skin infections.

Cancer. In an experiment on mice with cancerous tumors were administered aqueous extract of Opuntia maximum (substance found in the cactus) and found the prolongation of latency of these malignancies. Did not cure the cancer but stopped. Not yet know the cause, but are conducting several studies.

Gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. Finally, it is known that vegetable fibers and mucilage control excess stomach acid and protect the gastrointestinal mucosa, thus preventing gastric ulcers and all sorts of conditions. El Nopal contains vitamins A, B complex, C, minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Iron and fiber lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and mucilage, which together with the 17 amino acids help to eliminate toxins. Environmental toxins caused by alcohol and cigarette smoke that inhibit the body’s immune system, are removed by Nopal. It also cleans the colon as it contains soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Insoluble dietary fibers absorb water and accelerate the passage of food through the digestive tract and help regulate bowel movement, also the presence of insoluble fiber in the colon help to dilute the concentration of carcinogens that may be present


If you want to use fresh gladly provide you with some ways to use:

For inflammation: are grilled nopales and even hot as open and put dressings on the swollen part.

The juice of the prickly pear or cactus pear fruit off the heat of fever.
Cactus juice is very effective for bilious fever when mixed with pitaya.
Diabetes: Boil 2 nopales, 1 tender pumpkin, peel 10 tomatoes in 1 liter of water was calm overnight stops and is taken to use water every day.

Another recipe for sugar control: 1 cactus stalk, 1 stick of celery, 3 sprigs parsley, half an apple sour, a little boiling water, a small piece of aloe and blend all ingredients and is taken daily on an empty stomach but only until sugar is controlled.

For lung weakness: a fair-sized stalk opens in two parts, grated inside, he puts honey, is closed, leaving calm and eaten roasted. The remedy is carried out for 90 days.

To increase breast milk: two roasted nopales or cactus salad with olive oil and half an hour after tea cup alfalfa.

As slimming: ½ cactus leaf, 1 piece of cabbage, 1 bit of aloe, ½ celery leaf, 1 slice of cucumber, 1 / 2 slice of pineapple, 1 sprig parsley, 1 grapefruit (juice).Blend together all ingredients and taken fasting. Eliminate soda from your diet, saturated fats, meats, sugar, salt, white bread, pasta and pastries. Eat fruit that is delicious, refreshing and corrects an upset stomach.

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