Cactus Nutrition: Plus Other Potential Health Benefits?!

I love food and I’ll tell you right now this summer heat will not stop me from making a good plate of nachos. One thing I like to add just to change things up every now and again is nopales, the flat stemmed pads of the prickly pear cactus we discussed previously. I wish I could describe the flavor but I truly can’t find anything to compare it to. I will say if you like pickles and/or anything vinegary you’ll probably enjoy these. They not only add a unique flavor but also a very interesting texture. I won’t spoil that for you. You’re going to have to give this one a try for yourself if you’re feeling at least a little adventurous. I mean if you’ve tried our cricket recipes I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Nachos may not be the healthiest snack, depending on your favorite way of making them. Adding the nopal adds all sorts of vitamin goodness. They contain the following: vitamin B6, copper, iron, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Quite the exhaustive list! They also have one other trick up their sleeves..

The pads may contain some chemical compounds which retard the absorption of sugars and help regulate glucose levels within the body. What a novel way of potentially managing certain types of diabetes through diet alone! The author of the study referenced below has high hopes for this plants potential as per the following:

“The important conclusion expressed in this study is that the control of diabetes by purified extract of Opuntia can be attained with daily oral doses in the range of 1mg/kg body weight. This appears to be a promising result which could possibly one day replace the numerous high doses of insulin injection required for similar hypoglycemic effects.”

 My goal in referencing that statement is not to make any exaggerated claims. To stay true to the science behind this the author states the following as well:

“Definite conclusions cannot be made as of yet, however, preliminary findings strongly suggest that ingestion of prickly pear cactus has a true metabolic effect for diabetic patients.”

There are potentially so many eco-friendly and natural healing sources out there that require further study! I find this plant in particular extremely interesting and will continue to look into it. The future of farming, food, and health supplements is bright and ever expanding and I get excited just reading about these things, I hope some of you do too For now I’ll continue to just enjoy the plant for what it is, good food. Traditionally eaten mixed with eggs, salads, soups, and my favorite… Nachos! Add em to your next online order here or pick them up at your local market/grocery store and give them a try!

Sources:
https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2x53d917#main
http://bit.ly/2t3yLKt