Nopales Are the New Avocado. Here Are 9 of the Coolest Nopal-Based Products Out There

Although you’ve likely been enjoying nopales since you can remember, it seems like the rest of the world is finally catching on to something that’s long been popular in our community: the magic of cacti. Whether you love them or hate them, they offer a wide array of incredible benefits, both for your health and diet as well as the environment.

From plant-based leather to beauty products and alcoholic beverages, here are just some of the top cactus-based products that are going mainstream.

Nopal Vegan Leathers

With more people than ever acknowledging the importance of a plant-based lifestyle, vegan leathers are extremely popular. Many brands are turning to eco-friendly nopal-based leathers, which originated in Mexico.

The industrial name of this new material is Desserto, and it’s the brainchild of Mexican duo Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez. They founded this company in 2019, with the goal of using cactus fibers for something productive.

Cactus-Based Beauty Products

This prickly plant is known for its water conserving properties —  how else can it survive months in a desert without rainfall —  making it the perfect hydrating beauty product. Not only is the succulent a beauty blogger’s dream, but the plant also looks super cool, which makes it popular among the TikTok generation.

Nopalera has long been one of my favorite Latinx-owned beauty brands — not only for its inclusivity but also its nopal-based lineup. The company offers a robust product range all made from cacti, including a truly magical moisturizing bar that has become my go-to during the colder winter months when my skin feels extra dry. It doesn’t hurt that it smells good enough to eat — though not sure that’s recommended!

I’m also a fan of Ceremonia, which offers an incredible yucca-based shampoo spiced with witch hazel that has done wonders for my dry scalp.

Nopal-Based Supplements

According to the Mayo Clinic, nopal is promoted for treating everything from diabetes and high cholesterol to obesity and hangovers. Its also been promoted for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Since it has long been known as a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet — it’s high in fiber, antioxidants and carotenoids — it makes sense that it would serve well as a supplement.

One of the most popular brands is Santo Remedio, hailing straight from Mexico, which offers 700mg capsules that make it super easy to add the benefits of nopal to your diet without having to eat nopales everyday.

However, if you’re new to nopal supplements, the Mayo Clinic cautions easing yourself into them. Some side effects are possible, including mild diarrhea, nausea, increased stool volume, increased stool frequency and abdominal fullness.

Cactus Water

Caliwater Cactus Water is made using the prickly pear cactus fruit (las tunas), and it has loads of beneficial detoxing nutrients. The prickly pear cactus fruit is the only fruit known to contain all 24 betalains: a range of powerful antioxidants known for their skin revitalizing benefits.

Nopal Chips & Tortillas

Nopaltilla offers perfectly crispy tortilla chips made from nopales that pair perfectly with your favorite dip or salsa. Just maybe avoid the guacamole if you’re trying to be eco-conscious.

Meanwhile, Tía Lupita offers a lineup of both chips and tortillas made from nopal that come in a variety of flavors and can easily be found in many supermarkets.

And for those of you on a low carb or gluten-free diet, these both make excellent alternatives to traditional corn or flour tortillas.

Cactus Snacks

If you haven’t tried Nemi Cactus Sticks you are missing out. I just gave them a try thinking they’d be similar to the popular Mexican snack “churrumais,” but they’re so much more. They come in delicious flavors like Mexican lime and churro cinnamon, allowing you to get both your sweet and salty fix. The cactus-based snacks are super crunchy and much healthier than traditional potato chips.

Spiked Agua Fresca

Honcho is a Latinx-owned brand that is bringing the world its bomb spiked agua fresca one by one — or case by case. They offer an incredible selection of flavors but one of the best is the spiked nopal agua fresca that is ultra refreshing. These are perfect for hanging out with friends since they offer a little kick at 4% alcohol by volume — roughly the same as a beer but without all the calories.

Cactus Seltzers

Brought to you by rap’s very own Travis Scott, Cacti is the rappers lineup of 100% Mexican agave based seltzer. The Agave spiked seltzer comes in three flavors and the brand prides itself on using “100% premium blue agave from Mexico.” The drink is an infant compared to hard seltzer giants like Truly and White Claw, yet it has already made its mark.

When a GRAMMYs ad spot for the drink featuring comedian Eric André aired before its debut, DRINKCACTI’s website sold out of its online inventory in 12 hours, according to the brand.

Cactus Plastics

With around nineteen billion pounds of plastic ending up in the ocean each year, Mexican researchers in Guadalajara have created a biodegradable alternative from cactus. Not only is it biodegradable and nontoxic (even if consumed), but it is carbon neutral as it breaks down; the carbon dioxide it emits equals the carbon dioxide it took in as a growing plant.

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