Effect of nopales (Opuntia spp.) on lipoprotein profile and oxidative stress among moderately hypercholesterolemic adults: A pilot study

G. A P Pignotti, G. Hook, E. Ghan, Sonia Vega-Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the effect of nopales (prickly pear cactus pads) for improving cardiometabolic risk factors and oxidative stress, compared to control, in hypercholesterolemic adults. In a randomized crossover trial, participants were assigned to a 2-wk intervention with 2 cups/day of nopales or cucumbers (control), with a 2 to 3-wk washout period. The study included 16 adults (46 ± 14 y; BMI = 31.4 ± 5.7 kg/m2) with moderate hypercholesterolemia. There was no significant treatment-by-time effect for any dietary composition data, lipid profile, cardiometabolic outcomes, or oxidative stress markers. Both treatments significantly increased triglyceride concentrations (cucumber, 14.8%; nopales, 15.2%; pTime = 0.020). On average, LDL-c was decreased by 2.0 mg/dL (−1.4%) after the cucumber phase and 3.9 mg/dL (−2.9%) after the nopales phase (pTime = 0.176). In conclusion, these data do not support the purported benefits of nopales at doses of 2 cups/day for 2-wk on markers of lipoprotein profile, cardiometabolic risk, and oxidative stress in hypercholesterolemic adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Functional food
  • Lipoprotein profile
  • Nopales
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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