Calling It: THIS is the Next Big Thing in Superfoods
Another day, another new superfood. Only this time, the "new" ingredient in question is actually an ancient food and medicine from Mexico. Introducing: Nopal cactus (or prickly pear as it's also known). The idea of eating a spiky cactus might sound far out, but this food has been a staple for over 800 years. Still, with everything from acai to coconut and fermented foods to ancient grains lining supermarket shelves, what does nopal cactus bring to the table that other superfoods do not? A lot, as it turns out.
Considered the richest known plant source of betalains (a phytochemical typically found in green leafy veg), it's believed to help the body detox, fight inflammation, and even relieve hangover symptoms due to concentrated amounts of prebiotics. Since it also contains a high level of pectin fibre which binds to fats, sugars and cholesterol to help excrete them from the body, it may have a role in healthy weight loss too. What else? It's low GI, and helps control blood sugar levels—amazing for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Last but by no means least, nopal cactus delivers a hefty dose of vitamins a, b and c, calcium, potassium, fibre and iron; one teaspoon contains 50% of your daily calcium requirements and 25% of your daily fibre. Plus, it's vegan.
The powder itself tastes slightly sweet, earthy and almost subtly herbal. It's undetectable in a green juice or smoothie but can be incorporated into many more dishes, including guacamole. (Click here for a tasty guac recipe.) We love it mixed with Greek yoghurt, lemon and olive oil for a creamy salad dressing.
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