Grab your cheat sheet
Weight loss has become such a hot topic in recent years that it's often hard to figure out what’s right from wrong when it comes to information and methods.
Some people are so focused on losing weight quickly that they end up following dangerous advice. And, that’s never the way to reach your goals.
Effective, healthy, and lasting weight loss takes some time, and it's crucial that you do it properly. If not, it’s likely that any weight loss will be gained once you stop dieting - and it’s what is known as yo-yo dieting.
There are many things to consider when it comes to a sustainable weight loss strategy—including diet, exercise, and general lifestyle tweaks. To be successful, they all must go hand-in-hand.
Healthy eating in general is important, but there are many specific, key ingredients you should focus on that can help the process. One such ingredient is the nopal cactus.
Read on to learn about the many ways you can use nopal cactus for weight loss.
Let's dive in.
What is Nopal Cactus?
The nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus Indica)— also known as cactus pear or the prickly pear— is a type of cactus native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It's a versatile plant with many different uses.
It's a staple in many Mexican recipes as the pads of the cactus can be eaten while the plant is still fairly young. In addition to being a regional delicacy, the nopal cactus is really, really good for you (in the right doses).
Let it get too old, though, and it becomes too tough for most people. And no one wants a sore jaw.
What is Nopal Cactus Used For?
The Opuntia Ficus Indica plant is so versatile the list of uses is long and vast.
Fun fact: while it's mostly added to food and supplements thanks to its health benefits, the nopal cactus can also be used as an aid to harden plaster. It's a pretty amazing ingredient, to say the least.
It's one small thing that companies can do to make their processes more natural.
There are some places in Mexico where it's a very common ingredient in many dishes. This is, in part, due to the flavor and texture it adds to the dish and because it's readily available.
But, many people also consume nopal cactus for specific health and/or medicinal uses.
There are many things that regular consumption of nopal cactus can help to prevent, and others that it can reduce or reverse.
Lastly, it's also used—often quite effectively— to aid people in their weight loss efforts.
Nopal Cactus Benefits
Whether you're adding the prickly pear fruit to your dinner recipe, blending it up in a smoothie, or taking it as a supplement, the nopal benefits are many.
In terms of maintaining good health, nopal cactus offers plenty of body-boosting benefits when used as part of a balanced diet. Let's take a quick look.
Nopal cactus boosts your immune system. Yes, prickly pear is high in vitamins C and E, both of which support your immune system. A single serving includes over one-third of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Prickly pear also contains antioxidants— a real body-boosting bonus. Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress in humans while protecting the skin, improving vision, and increasing brain function.
Blood sugar regulation
Nopal also helps regulate blood sugar. Especially for those with diabetes, regulating blood sugar can be a real struggle. While it won't do the job on its own, there is evidence to support taking nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus Indica) in addition to other diabetes medication as a way to further reduce blood sugar naturally.
The prickly pear may reduce your cholesterol levels. This is still in the early stages of study, but those taking nopal cactus have discovered significantly decreased levels of LDL, or “bad cholesterol.” They also found that nopal cactus does this with far fewer side effects than traditional medications.
While the night out itself is a great time, nobody likes the aftermath of too much drinking (cue head-throbbing headache). Nopal cactus may be able to help when taken before the party. One study had its subjects feeling much better and experiencing fewer and more mild hangover symptoms when they took prickly pear extract beforehand.
Yes, prickly pear is antiviral. Nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus Indica) contains many anti-viral properties and may help you prevent contracting certain viruses when you take or consume it regularly. So, a helping of nopal cactus a day could well keep the doctor away.
The nopal cactus is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication is pretty easy to get, but what if you could ease your pain more naturally? It can be applied topically to reduce swelling outside of the body. It can also be consumed to reduce internal inflammation and ease any associated pain. Basically, nopal cactus offers most of the anti-inflammatory properties your body needs to succeed.
Nerve cell protection
This epic cactus also protects nerve cells. Damage to nerve cells can cause both pain and a loss of sensation. An essential study from 2014 found that prickly pear has some neuroprotective properties that help prevent nerves from suffering debilitating damage.
These are some of the biggest and most common benefits of the plant, but this list is not exhaustive.
It's been used in ancient/traditional medicine for a long time thanks to the many, many ways it helps and benefits the human body.
Read: All about why exercise is essential to your mental health to get inspiration for your brand new healthy lifestyle.
Nopal Cactus For Weight Loss
In addition to helping you maintain good health in general, the nopal cactus weight loss uses and health benefits are also plentiful. It works in a few different ways:
It's a very low-calorie food
While calories aren't everything, they do play a role in any weight loss endeavor. Many weight-loss strategies include consuming fewer calories than you burn. Including prickly pear in your diet makes this easier.
It slows the digestion of carbs
Slower carbohydrate digestion means better regulation of sugar absorption. This aids in weight loss because low blood sugar spikes your appetite, and high blood sugar causes a release of insulin. Too much insulin stops your body from burning any fat that's stored away. Properly managing your blood sugar prevents both of these extremes and ensures no weight is gained unnecessarily.
It's high in fiber
Dietary fiber makes you feel full for longer, meaning you won't feel the need to eat quite as much. Getting enough dietary fiber in your system will also help you regulate your cholesterol levels, keep your bowels healthy, and manage your weight. Another win for the prickly pear.
It's a natural energy booster
Opuntia Ficus Indica contains amino acids. These amino acids provide you with energy throughout the day and can prevent fatigue. This helps you power through workouts healthily and naturally.
It's good for prostate health
That's right. If you're a guy looking to improve your health and shed a few pounds, you'll be happy to know that some studies suggest that prickly pear can help you from getting an enlarged prostate. If you do have issues in this area, taking nopal cactus alongside traditional medicine could well help you tackle them head-on.
As you can see, using nopal cactus for weight loss is an effective strategy as it offers a variety of benefits. Hooray for the nopal cactus.
Nopal Cactus Side Effects
There's no denying that there are many nopales benefits to be gained from regular consumption of nopal cactus (Opuntia Ficus Indica). But, is there anything to be worried about? Even natural ingredients and solutions can come with a few risks and side effects.
Thankfully, the possible nopal cactus side effects are pretty mild—which is good news if you're thinking about weaving the prickly pear into your diet.
When consumed as a food or in a supplement, potential side effects include:
- Diarrhea or increased stool production
It should also be noted that pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant shouldn't take any nopal cactus supplements. There isn't enough proof and reliable information out there yet about whether or not it's safe in these situations.
Those with diabetes should also exercise caution when taking nopal cactus or prickly pear fruit, as it can affect blood sugar. While this can be a good thing for those who struggle to keep their blood sugar levels under control, it's recommended that you speak to a doctor before using a prickly pear supplement.
FYI: Studies show that nopal cactus is high in sugar. So, if you're thinking about eating prickly pear flesh or throwing it into a shake or smoothie, try not to go overboard. Consuming too much sugar isn't the greatest thing for your health.
Ways to Consume Nopal Cactus
So, we've determined that nopal cactus fiber carries plenty of health benefits and it's useful when trying to lose weight. If weight loss is the goal, what's the best way to take nopal cactus as part of a healthy diet?
In this case, supplementation and shakes or smoothies are probably your best bet.
Prickly Pear Supplement
You do have several different options here, but it's important to note that not all supplements are made equal. There are plenty of pills and powders out there that very well may contain a good dose of prickly pear, but you need to ask yourself what else they contain.
You want to avoid excessive fillers and synthetic ingredients. When it comes to nopal cactus pills for weight loss, PhenQ has a superior supplement with a proven track record and a whole host of happy customers.
What are nopal pills good for?
This prickly pear supplement combines nopal and prickly pear cactus with several other powerful, natural ingredients to support weight loss in five ways:
- Burns fat
- Stops the production of excess fat
- Suppresses your appetite
- Boosts your energy
- Improves your mood
- Provides dietary fiber
These five health benefits make the perfect recipe for healthy and effective body weight-loss and PhenQ's nopal cactus pills for weight loss do it all in one.
This saves you from having to spend more money on multiple products and makes life much easier.
Nopal Smoothie to Lose Weight
Smoothies are another great way to get some prickly pear juice and other fat burning foods into your system to help you lose that weight. It also gives a great boost of Vitamin C and dietary fiber.
Smoothies are effective because it's an easy way to combine multiple things and consume them all at once. It's an easy way to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables in, too.
Experimenting is fun
You can experiment with different recipes, but a popular nopal smoothie to lose weight is one with pineapple. For a basic pineapple cactus smoothie, all you need is some fresh or frozen pineapple and, ideally, some orange juice as well.
Clean your cactus paddles
The cactus paddles will need to be cleaned and have the spines removed. Then, you just need to dice it up. Once this is done, throw it all in a blender and enjoy – easy as that!
Read: Our guide to epically easy 30-minute one pot meals to add to your new healthy eating and exercise regime.
Add Nopal Cactus to Your Weight Loss Journey Today
Hopefully, this nopal cactus weight loss review has been helpful. It should be clear to you now just how many amazing prickly cactus pear fruit side benefits there are and how useful the nopal cactus is for weight loss.
As you can see, you don't have to eat raw chunks of nopal cactus to enjoy the body-boosting anti-inflammatory effects of the prickly pear. You can add it to a tasty smoothie or take natural diet pills that contain the most magic of substances.
We know that getting into the right groove with your weight loss journey is no easy feat. But balanced choices make happy humans—and a daily dose of nopal cactus will help you smash your goals, even while juggling more plates than a pot wash at a busy restaurant.
You've got nothing to lose by adding it to your routine so you can start reaping those benefits right away. Nopal Cactus is one of the many amazing ingredients in the PhenQ supplement is a healthy, easy addition to your da, so that's probably a good place to start, with smoothies being a great way to get an extra boost once in a while.
For more insider health-boosting tips from PhenQ HQ, read our guide to the link between eating well and losing weight.
Nopal cactus FAQs
What is nopal cactus good for?
In addition to helping to regulate blood glucose levels, nopal cactus plays an active role in weight loss. Yes, that's right: you can use nopal cactus for weight loss. By flooding the body with essential nutrients and reducing your appetite, you will consume fewer calories while maintaining solid energy levels throughout the day.
The great thing is, that nopal cactus also offers a list of other body-boosting benefits including healthy levels of fiber, cholesterol-lowering properties, a bag load of antioxidants, and protection against those dreaded hangovers. If you're a man, you'll also be happy to know that this most nutritious cacti helps keep prostate enlargement at bay.
What are the side effects of consuming nopal cactus?
There are so many body-boosting benefits of taking nopal cactus, but like any form of supplement, it always pays to know the risks. Fortunately, the side effects of nopal are pretty mild. But, for your information, these include stomach cramps or diarrhea, headaches, and nausea. Take it in moderate amounts, and you should avoid these issues.
How do I take nopal cactus for weight loss?
You can consume this most delicious of cactus in the form of a juice, a shake or a smoothie (you can even add extra ingredients to for an extra nutritional boost). But, without a doubt, one of the most effective ways to take nopal cactus is in the form of a weight loss pill or supplement.
PhenQ contains a balanced dose of nopal cactus to help you reach your weight loss goals alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise.