Nopal cactus, also known as the prickly pear cactus, has gained focus in the past 20 years from the medical community for its many benefits, including blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health. The Nopal cactus originates from the high volcanic mountains of Mexico and it is currently grown in the Americas. The Nopal Prickly pear cactus is a nutritional whole food with 18 amino acids, B vitamins, minerals and many other bioactive phytonutrients. The Nopal cactus offers a variety of health benefits and it promotes overall health and wellness.
Nopal has shown itself to be very promising in studies for its role in reducing hyperglycemia and helping to regulate blood sugar in Type II diabetics. Nopal contains high levels of soluble and insoluble fibers. When ingested with or prior to a meal, these fibers help to block the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars into the bloodstream when the meal is being digested. This process works to reduce the glycemic index of the meal and supports a more stable metabolism of blood sugar.
In addition, the Nopal cactus contains phytonutrients that penetrate the bloodstream and help adjust the bodys cellular response to insulin. This is an extremely important mechanism of action for patients with Type II Diabetes. One clinical study evaluated a group of Type II Diabetics who were given only Nopal cactus for breakfast. This groups high blood sugar index was reduced to the normal range within one hour of receiving the Nopal cactus. Healthy individuals without diabetes were not given the Nopal cactus and did not experience any reduction in blood sugar levels.
The Nopal cactus contains polysaccharide fibers and sterols that work together to help lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels. Primarily, Nopal is able to reduce unhealthy lipid levels in the blood because it binds bile salt in the intestines, which prevents re-absorption into the bloodstream. Also, Nopal contains carotenoids and glycoproteins that increase activity in liver receptors, which supports healthy blood lipid levels.
The Nopal cactus has polyphenols, sterols, and glycoproteins, which are anti-oxidants and have an anti-inflammatory action. This is important because these constituents help remove and prevent plaque in the blood vessels. In addition, the Nopal cactus fights one of the primary causes of heart disease: cardiovascular inflammation.
In correlation with its anti-inflammatory properties, Nopal cactus has powerful healing effects. It promotes quicker recovery and healing and soothes skin irritations. For centuries, the prickly pear cactus has been used to treat minor skin burns, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, and windburns.
As mentioned previously, the Nopal cactus is full of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Insoluble fiber acts as roughage and works by absorbing water and toxins and moving food through the digestive tract. The insoluble fiber in Nopal encourages bowel regularity. Nopal cactus has been found to be gentler and more effective at promoting regularity than psyllium husk, especially for those who have a sensitivity or allergy to psyllium. Nopal cactus supports healthy bowel and colon function.
Nopal contains fibers and mucilages that have been found to help control excess gastric acid production. Nopal also helps to protect the gastrointestinal mucus membranes. Nopal provides a PH buffering and coating in the stomach and digestive tract that can help prevent damage that may occur from ingesting excessive spicy foods, alcohol, aspirin and other pharmaceuticals. Research has shown that Nopal prickly pear cactus dramatically reduces gastrointestinal inflammation and induces a soothing healing process for gastric ulcers.
The dietary fibers in Nopal promote healthy weight loss in that they give the feeling of fullness so that people dont feel as hungry and are less likely to overeat. The dietary fibers also help inhibit the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, which can lead to weight gain. The encouraging thing about taking Nopal cactus compared to other weight-loss supplements is that Nopal also offers a variety of nutrients and antioxidants that support overall health and nutrition.
Nopal cactus has been recognized as the perfect cure for a hangover for several reasons. Nopal's mucilaginous polysaccharides soothe the gastro intestinal tract and alleviate nausea while providing exceptional re-hydration. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in Nopal reduce systemic and hepatic inflammation. Finally, the dietary fibers in Nopal absorb toxins and expedite the cleansing of the blood stream.
There are several ways to utilize the prickly pear cactus for its health benefits. The pads and fruit of the cactus can be removed and eaten. The pads are delicious cooked and the fruit is good to be eaten cold or compressed into a juice. The nectar of the cactus can be used topically for skin irritations. You can also take Nopal cactus in capsule form for convenience. It is usually recommended that anywhere from 100 to 500 grams of Nopal cactus consumed daily is beneficial. When consumed in juice form, 2-4 ounces is recommended.
While Nopal cactus is considered safe, some negative side effects have been reported such as mild bloating, diarrhea, headache, and nausea.
Allergic reactions to Nopal cactus are rare, but indications include skin rash, hives, swelling, chest pain, shortness or tightness of breath, and digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation. Contact a physician immediately if any of the above symptoms are experienced. Rare cases of contact dermatitis have been reported, particularly in people with highly sensitive skin. Skin irritation caused by coming in contact with the plant's spines during the collection and cleaning process is more common. This is why gloves should be worn when handling Nopal, especially during the collection process.
Do not take Nopal cactus while pregnant or breast-feeding.
People taking drugs for diabetes, such as Actos, Avandia, Glyset, and Prandin, etc. should consult with their physician before consuming Nopal.
Do not take Nopal in conjunction with other blood sugar medication and herbs such as bitter melon, chromium, kudzu, panax ginseng, or ginger without the guidance of a health professional as this could result in hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, confusion, distorted speech, and loss of muscle control.
Always consult with a physician before adding any form of Nopal to your diet. Always give your physician a complete list of all medications, herbs, and supplements being taken.
Serving Size 1 capsuleServings Per Container 100Amount Per ServingPregnenolone50 mgOther ingredients: rice flour, gelatin, water.Contains rice. This product contains NO milk, egg, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp), soybeans, tree nuts, wheat, yeast, gluten, or corn. Contains NO sugar, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.
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