Nopalea juice is a fruit beverage produced by health and wellness company, TriVita, Inc. Formally introduced to the market in March of 2009, Nopalea juice has produced some astonishing results for thousands of individuals suffering from a variety of inflammatory conditions.
The product contains a rich blend of natural fruit extracts, nutrient rich nopal cactus juice squeezed from the pulp of the nopal cactus fruit and a small amount of agave nectar combined with pineapple juice for sweetener. The inflammation-fighting properties of the product primarily come from the high betalain antioxidant content of the nopal cactus fruit itself.
The History that Lead to the Development of Nopalea Juice
The idea of the Nopal Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) as a nutritious food source is not a new one. For thousands of years the native tribes of the Sonoran Desert enjoyed good health and less affliction with illness than we find among the non-Native population today. In fact, science shows that those that have stayed with the “old ways” of eating all natural, wholesome foods readily found in their backyard still enjoy great health and less dependence on medications while those that have modified their eating habits to the more “civilized” ways of eating processed, sugary foods are struggling with lower than normal life expectancies and a higher likelihood of developing chronic inflammatory conditions.
One particular tribe from the Sonoran Desert, where the nopal cactus used to make Nopalea juice is harvested from, called the Pima tribe, has become the subject of study into the diet –inflammation — disease connection since 1963. There is hope that with their cooperation, new discoveries can be made to help us better understand inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Living along the border of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, the Pima Indian tribe are the perfect example of how modern eating habits have affected the overall health of the human race. Groups of Pima people living along the Gila River in northern Mexico still live according to their old traditions of living off the land and enjoy much healthier lives because of it.
The average lifespan of a Pima Indian following old tradition is 72 years, whereas their ancestors in southern Arizona who are following more modern, western, eating habits average 50 years of age. Additionally, those following tradition have low risk of obesity, average 0% chance of diabetes by 40 years old (only 6% chance by 70) and require 0 medications. Those following Western habits have a high risk of obesity, 70% have diabetes by 40 and are on an average of 11 medications.
The Role the Nopal Cactus Plays in the Life of Native People of the Sonoran
For native people of the Sonoran region, the nopal cactus is a source of food and medicine. The nopal cactus is one of the only plants that products both a fruit and vegetable, making it incredibly unique.
The vegetable portion of the cactus called the “pad” or “nopales” is often used by natives in salads, or grilled as a side dish for their meal and is incredibly high in fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C and calcium.
The fruit of the cactus, sometimes referred to as a “pear” or “tuna” is utilized to make jams and jellies, or is simply eaten fresh as a fruit. It’s naturally sweet and is incredibly rich in antioxidants, such as betalains, and is also a natural source of several important amino acids, including Taurine.
How Nopalea Juice Fights Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to physical, mental and emotional stress. Normally, inflammation in the body is a GOOD thing- it means that your body has identified a problem and is trying to correct it. Inflammation only really becomes a problem when the inflammatory response kicks into overdrive. If your body can’t “flick the switch” to turn off the inflammatory response after the issue has been corrected, the immune cells meant to protect your body actually start to destroy it.
What Nopalea juice does to correct this “system hang up” is to detoxify and re-hydrate the cells of the body thereby eliminating any possible triggers and re-balancing the internal environment. It’s sort of like hitting the “system reset” button on your body.