Picture 3
Nopal Cactus (Opunita Ficus Indica) has been used as a medicinal food for thousands of years by the Indigenous people of Mexico. It’s unique phytochemical, vitamin and mineral profile make it highly nutritious and extremely beneficial for maintaining the bodies systems in optimal condition.
A natural elevator for physical wellbeing, enhanced vision and vigor and reduced digestive stress Nopal is of particular advantage to those who regularly carry out heavy, physical and intellectual work.
Besides helping to reduce cholesterol levels by reducing plaque formation in the veins and arteries to improve circulation, Nopal also aids in the assimilation of nutrients to regulate the levels of glucose in the blood. The calcium present in this cactus helps prevent osteoporosis and its high content of fiber improves digestive health.
In Mexico doctors routinely prescribe Nopal for their diabetic patients as it not only regulates the glucose in blood but affects the precursor of the insulin also. A person who suffers from an excess of glucose in the blood, can experience a 28% reduction in existing glucose levels within 90 minutes of consuming the cactus. That is because the balance of nutrient gives it a higher rate of assimilation at the cell level (over other food), and in this way the nutrients of the Nopal can help people who suffer from diabetes mellitus.
Nopal is essentially a non-fat, high-fiber, complex carbohydrate energy food!
The main constituents being polysaccharides, mineral, soft fiber (Ca, Iron, Match, Potassium), Vitamins (TO, B1, B2, C,) essential amino acids and (p. e.: Arginine, Histidine, Lysine, Methionine, Threonine, Isoleucine, Valine, Leucine, Tryptophan, Phenylalanine). Nopal also contains beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which has been identified as one of the strongest anti-oxidants.
As a food source, Nopal is used in salads, soups, casseroles, and sandwiches as well as blended in various drinks. Nopal also helps to curb your cravings as it is rich in soluble fibre which slows down the digestion process and leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
Nopal Nosh~ Recipe Round-up!
Pineapple _SmoothieNopal Nectar (Sunshine Smoothie)
1 cup of fresh pineapple (cubed)*
1/2 cup of coconut water
2 tablespoons of Nopal powder
2 tablespoons of Agave Nectar
Blend and enjoy!
* Fresh pineapples are firmer than tinned and blend best in a high powered machine like the Vitamix which can blend large, firm pineapple pieces including core.
Desert Dessert (Cactus Cake)
2343911151_89fcae13f62 tablespoons Agave nectar
1 cup (2 medium) bananas Mashed
1/3 cup of almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups of coconut flour
1/2 cup Nopal Powder
1 tablespoons Flax seed *
1/2 cup of chopped nuts if desired
* How to use flaxseeds in place of eggs for baking: mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid) stir together until thick and gelatinous.
Heat oven to 325. Lightly grease a cake tin with coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in a blender to create a batter (the Vitamix blender is great for creating an exceptionally smooth batter well blended and you can also use it to grind fresh flaxseed). Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completly before removing from tin.
Wild Mexican (Prickly Pear Pilaf)
wild-rice-pilaf2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup raw wild rice (rinse thoroughly)
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Nopal powder
1 cup chopped tomato
3 cups stock
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 chili finely diced
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook until the onion softens then add the rice all at once, followed by the garlic. Turn the heat down to medium, and stir until the rice is completely coated with oil, and lightly colored. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat down to low and add the tomato followed by the stock and Nopal powder. Stir once or twice, then cover the pan.
Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to the absolute minimum (if you have an electric stove, turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the burner) allowing it to rest for another 15 to 30 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
There are hundreds of varieties of Cactus, yet only the Opuntia ficus-indica, or Nopal, is accepted as the preferred species, widely revered for its extraordinary health and nutritional benefits!
For a pure plant powder hand harvested and maintained for freshness try Loving Earth’s organic nopal powder grown by an indigenous grower association in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.
Picture 2

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.