Nopales, a modified evergreen organic superfood is a chief component of Mexican cuisine for centuries now. Rich in flavor and beaming with health benefits, this amazing desert plant has gained culinary popularity both in Europe and the United States.
An organic superfood that is believed to have been a staple diet for the people of Mesoamerica, about 6000 years ago or much earlier. Nopales, a true cactus species that is said to have originated in the arid land of Mexico is just one of the more than two hundred cactaceae cultivars.
This cactus belongs to the genus opuntia under the species opuntia ficus-indica which is the most commonly cultivated. A wonderful organic superfood that bears both fruit (prickly pear) and vegetable (green pad). It can grow to a height of 15ft straight up producing beautiful flower along the edge of the pads and comes in pink, red and yellow. They usually bloom during spring. The pad or the modified stem of nopales is oval, flat and a bit thick and tastes like green beans. The red fruit or what they call prickly pear on the other has a taste that cuts between a strawberry and watermelon.
Let’s talk about the nutritional and health benefits of nopales. This organic superfood is a storehouse of some of the most important vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
The green pad has a healthy level of B complex vitamins like pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, which are all essential to the metabolic functions of the body. The vitamin C it holds can protect your body against infection and also from the ravaging effects of free radicals in the body. It also contains calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
The fruit is rich in betalain, an indole derived pigment that gives it a red color. Betalain is also an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory agent, all natural with no known side effects. Eating nopales also reduces blood sugar level, making it ideal for individuals with diabetes. Taking this organic superfood on a regular basis can significantly lower your LDL cholesterol levels too.
Another thing that makes this desert veggie awesome is the number of calories it holds which is only 16 per 100g of fresh leaves. One of the lowest in the vegetable field.
Nopales paddles and fruits are safe when taken in food quantity. When taken as a medicine, an appropriate amount should only be for a short period of time. Best to be avoided by both pregnant and lactating women for safety reasons.
Choose a healthy lifestyle. Eat more organic superfood.
The article written here is for educational purpose only and is not meant to provide any medical advice. If you have an illness or medical condition, it would be best to consult first with your health care provider or family physician before undertaking any course of treatment.
Photo by: Bodypure.com