The nopal is a plant belonging to the family of cactus that usually grows in the American countries although by its capacity of adaptation has come to be produced in countries as far afield as those belonging to the European continent.
As the family of the cactuses, it can develop in lands both wet and dry and nutritional requirements are minimal enough to be sustained over time without requiring large amounts of nutrients. It is able to be maintained both in times of drought and winter weather in the snow.
Origins of Nopal
This plant originates from American lands, especially from Central America. Mexico is the country where its consumption is more extensive, with records of the ancient Aztec tribes that used the nopal as a base ingredient of multiple medicinal recipes.
The native ones of those lands used the nopal to prepare concoctions that would help in the treatment of different ailments like wounds, diarrheas, male stares, among others. With the passage of time the use of these medicinal properties have been maintained and today the nopal continues to be part of natural remedies, expanding its use beyond Mexican borders.
Nopal medicinal properties
The natural components of this fruit give it certain abilities that allow it to serve as a palliative to various diseases as well as prevent the onset of other ailments. Due to its great resilience, it is not necessary to dedicate great care to it, which represents an important alternative for its easy cultivation and the productive benefits that it gives.
Among the properties that present by nature the nopal can be mentioned the following:
The nopal is a fruit that contains high levels of amino acids, vitamin B and at the same time low-fat content. In this way, it contributes to the reduction of the amounts of cholesterol in the blood by the digestion of these amino acids and the formation of proteins through them.
Many of these amino acids are degraded in the liver and excreted through the urinary tract in the form of uric acid if the body does not need it or has too much of them.
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high concentrations of glucose in the blood. Regular consumption of the cactus helps keep the levels of glucose in the body under control, which is reflected in the blood glucose values or, what is the same, the concentration of glucose in the blood.
Increased gastrointestinal motility
The nopal is a fruit that contains large amounts of fiber. In addition to other favorable components, fiber helps to regulate gastrointestinal motility by producing improvements and reducing the annoying symptoms of people with celiac disease.
The high concentration of fiber also contributes to the relief of constipation and helps to create a habit that allows the gastrointestinal system to go to the bathroom regularly.
Prevention of autoimmune diseases and cancer
The presence of a large number and diversity of fiber types also has an effect in reducing the chances of developing cancer. This is explained by the presence of insoluble fibers, which help facilitate the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the colon.
It also helps prevent or lessen the possibility of cancer cells accumulating mainly in the gastrointestinal tract but also in other parts of the body.
People who aim to shape their figure and lose weight, also get solution and response to their goal using various ways the nopal. Whether combining it with other foods or as part of beverages, this fruit is ideal for preparing recipes that aim to lose weight.
Control of atherosclerosis
The nopal is a fruit that possesses within its medicinal properties the fact of being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Eating this fruit can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fats and other components inside the blood vessels, specifically the arteries. These fats stick to the walls of the arteries making it difficult for blood to pass through them, and in this way can generate an increase in blood pressure, among other conditions.
Said plant, in addition to the medicinal benefits mentioned above, is also used in various areas of industry. For example in the production of soaps, lotions, and other cosmetic products. It is during the test period as raw material or added in the production of fuels such as plastics and latex-based materials.
Use of the nopal in the food industry
To make matters worse, it is also used as part of the ingredients required in the preparation of many recipes. It is used to give flavor to meals, as part of stews, salads and a variety of sauces.
Below are some recipes that include within its main ingredients the nopal.
Put the nopal to cook in boiling water previously washed and cut into strips. When its consistency is soft it is removed from the fire and drained to remove excess water. It can be combined with vegetables such as onion, tomato, cucumber, celery, carrot, among others.
Wash, peel and chop the nopal and chopped into the blender with a little water and sugar to taste. Other fruits like orange, mango or pineapple can be added. This way a cocktail of juices could be made.
Adding parsley, cilantro, celery, and pineapple to the juice of nopal, you can get the preparation of a drink that serves optimally as a digestive in case of ingesting heavy meals or stomach upset.
There is an infusion of nopal with aloe vera, orange juice and/or grapefruit, which serves in the treatment of diverse.