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    HEALTH BENEFITS OF NOPAL

    Among the body systems that have been reported to be most affected by Nopal are the glandular, digestive, immune, circulatory, urinary and nervous systems.  Diabetes, heart conditions and cancer have been scientifically related to deficiencies in these systems.

    Many scientists now believe that increased consumption of natural vegetable and herbal products that are especially rich in fiber and certain phytochemicals that have been diminished or lost in the “modern” diet can significantly aid the human body in defending against and combating these and other disorders such as obesity, anxiety and depression.

    Research has found that the active ingredients found in Nopal act synergistically and simultaneously in positively impacting several human body systems.  For example, Hospitals-based clinical studies have consistently found that Nopal has a clear hypoglycemic effect on obese, insulin-resistant Type 2 Diabetic patients, while simultaneously lowering serum levels of low-density cholesterols and triglycerides.  Nopal is rich in pectin (a soluble fiber), but in addition to fiber-related inhibition of glucose absorption, fasting glucose is also significantly lowered, indicating that Nopal also has the highly beneficial effect of increasing the body’s sensitivity of insulin.  Animal studies corroborate this finding, showing that small amounts of an active fraction isolated from nopal can partially reverse Diabetes.  Similar effects on reduced serum levels of low-density cholesterols and triglycerides not entirely explained by fiber absorption were found, indicating that Nopal has a simultaneous and highly beneficial on hepatic function.  Consequently, it appears that Nopal simultaneously affects several major body systems in a synergistic way.

    Glandular System

    In comparison with other plants, Nopal is rich in nutrients that strengthen the liver and the pancreas.  The health of these two glands is vitally important to the production of insulin and the conversion of carbohydrate sugars into glycogen (stored in the liver and body cells) useable as energy by the body.  Vitamins found in Nopal (A, B1, B2, B3, and C), minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Iron) and Fibers (Lignin, Cellulose, Hemicelluloses, Pectin, Mucilages, and Gum), along with the 18 amino acids also found in Nopal help to strengthen, detoxify and support the function of the liver and pancreas.

    Additionally the ingredients in Nopal improve body cell response to insulin stimulation, which is necessary to move glucose from the blood stream into body cells where it is used as energy.

    Digestive System

    The active ingredients found in Nopal aid in preventing the digestive system from absorbing excess dietary fat and carbohydrate sugars, thereby helping to maintain proper blood sugar balance and control obesity.

    Soluble fibers in Nopal (including gums, mucilages, pectins polysaccharides and some hemicellulose) slow the absorption of glucose in the intestines. The pectin and lignin found in Nopal are also known for increasing satiety (decreasing appetite).  These are important factors in controlling obesity.

    Insoluble fibers (more commonly known as roughage); reduce excess bile and potential carcinogens (cancer causing agents) that may be present in the colon, by absorption and excretion.   Insoluble fibers Nopal include cellulose, lignin and remaining hemicellulose. 

    Nopal is a gentle alternative to psyllium (a well-known fiber supplement taken for colon cleansing) for those with a sensitivity or allergy to psyllium.

    The vegetable protein found in Nopal (amino acids) help the body pull fluid from body tissues back into the bloodstream thereby diminishing cellulite and fluid retention.  Fat build up is prevented while fat break down and excretion is increased. 

    Immune System

    Phytochemicals are powerful allies of the body’s immune system allowing it to defend the body against pathogens.  Recent studies have found that among the phytochemicals found in Nopal are the types that inhibit cancerous cell growth and may even help prevent cancer from developing.  Animal studies corroborate this showing that dosages of Nopal juice increase immune system efficiency in controlling tumor growth, Epstein-Barr virus and suppressed immune response.


    Circulatory System

    As demonstrated by the hospital studies referred to above, Nopal acts in several ways that have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease.  First, the fiber found in Nopal acts to absorb and excrete cholesterol in the digestive system.  Second, the amino acids, fiber and B3 (niacin) found in Nopal prevent excess sugar conversions into fats, while reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, by metabolizing fat and fatty acids and eliminating excess bile acids that would eventually convert into cholesterol.  Third the B3 (niacin) in Nopal acts to convert LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) forms of cholesterol.  Additionally, the amino acids and fiber, together with the anti-oxidant effect of the vitamin C, vitamin A (Beta-carotene) and selenium found in Nopal aid in preventing blood vessel wall damage and the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries (Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis).

    Urinary System

    The juice of Nopal is used (particularly in Mexico) as an anti-inflammatory diuretic and to decrease pain on or following urination.  These effects derive from bioflavonoids, amino acids and fiber in Nopal. 

    Nervous System

    Amino Acids found in Nopal (including Alanine, Aspartic Acid, Phenylalanine and Serine play a role in maintaining healthy nervous system cells and aid in the balancing the nervous system, which creates a sense of well. Nopal helps prevent Diabetic Neuropathy.

    Conclusions

    Throughout history, man has sought ways to prolong life and maintain good health; but has never quite found the fabled “fountain of youth.”  Increasingly so, modern science is finding that a return to nature holds the key to that for which man has been searching for centuries. 

    A simple plant, the Nopal, may well be the answer.

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