The nopal or prickly pear is a plant or more specifically an arborescent cactus that has the ability to reach up to five meters in height. The nopal is generally composed of cladodes, it is related to leaves, and very flattened racquet-like appearance associated with each other and covered with thorns. Nopal snowshoes tend to appear like a branch, reaching a trunk at their base. The nopal has very small leaves only a few millimeters and the most ephemeral they scatter all along the cladodes. The flowers of the nopal are unilocular with a pistil decorated with a multiple stigma and whose color is between yellow-orange. As for the fruit of the nopal, it has more the appearance of a fleshy berry with many seeds inside, up to 300, and the color of the fruit can range from white to red through yellow.
The nopal has its origins in Mexico, it is so important in this country that it is part of the Mexican coat of arms. The nopal took such a boom because of its appearance, and its invasive peculiarity, that it is found in cultivation or spontaneously throughout the Mediterranean basin, with Algeria, Morocco, as well as Tunisia, Portugal and Italy, Greece and Israel. The nopal does not stop only around this periphery, it is also found in South Africa near Madagascar, but also in Reunion Island, that of the Canaries, or Mauritius, and also in India as far as 'in Ceylon, and even in Australia. It should be noted that the nopal favors hot and sunny climates.
Nopal its composition
Nopal is a plant specifically composed with almost 50% soluble dietary fiber such as mucilage, pectins and gum, as well as insoluble dietary fiber with cellulose, lignan and hemicelluloses. Nopal combines other important compounds such as amino acids with nearly 17 elements, eight of which are essential. There is also a vital part of vitamins in nopal, along with vitamin A, vitamins B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin B3, as well as vitamin C. Nopal also contains minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, sodium and phosphorus, but also iron and potassium, which makes it a food whose components are without harmful effect on health and 100% vegetable (SAENZ 2006).
Nopal and its medicinal virtues
Nopal has gained a worldwide reputation for its slimming properties. Nopal slimming Nopal is a cactus which has the ability to facilitate slimming diets, due to these different components, especially its mucilage which provides an effect of appetite suppressant or non-snacking faster in action. Due to its fiber component, nopal has the ability to capture lipids and carbohydrates in the stomach and release them quickly, and those up to twenty times its original weight. Since nopal allows a decrease in sugar due to its elimination, it is an argument of choice in cases of obesity and overweight.
Nopal other benefits
The nopal is ideal for the symptoms due to the disorder of the digestive system, it allows a better routing of the intestinal transit while relieving the various gastric and intestinal pains. Numerous clinical studies have updated its antiulcer virtue, as well as anti-inflammatory, ideal in all respects for colic and gastric ulcers. In addition, nopal stabilizes and improves cholesterol, and at the same time increases blood triglycerides, which is vital for people with diabetes by reducing blood sugar spikes after ingestion of the meal.
Nopal other uses
Nopal is also used in cosmetics, for nourishing oils for the body, but also to make a more popular liqueur, Ficodi. Nopal is apparently also used as a biofuel, as well as for fire protection in agriculture in fire barriers and defensive barriers. Nopal can be one of the most remarkable foods on our plates.