Inflammation is the biggest buzzword to hit health headlines in years. And for a good reason: it has been linked to nearly every type of disease imaginable including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc…
Given that, it was only a matter of time before smart companies developed products to capitalize on this trend. And that’s exactly what the folks at Trivita have done with their product Nopalea.
But does it really work? Or is the rather expensive concoction (selling for as much as $49 per bottle) just marketing hype to get your money?
Let’s investigate a bit, shall we? With over 7 million bottles sold, this juice claims to:
- Reduce pain due to inflammation
- Improve joint health
- Relieve swelling in muscles
- Protect cellular health
And how exactly does it do all this?
Well, according to its makers, “It’s derived from the fruit of the Nopal cactus in the vast Sonoran dessert – the most extreme dessert in the world. Nopalea contains powerful bioflavonoids, unique antioxidants that quench the fires of runaway inflammation.”
Impressive, right? But before you run off to hand them your hard-earned money, consider the following…
There’s no question that bioflavonoids do what the company claims. They are indeed powerful antioxidants that can indeed “quench the fires of inflammation”. But here’s the kicker… if you have a closer look at their website (trynopalea.com), you’ll notice that the most frequently asked question is if Nopalea contains added sugar.
This is extremely important because sugar is pro-inflammatory. Obviously it would cancel out any of the drink’s benefits. Now, while it doesn’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, it does get its taste from agave nectar.
And that’s the real deal-breaker. Forget about the fact that this product is extremely expensive. And forget about the fact that you can find bioflavonoids in a range of other fruits and veggies (e.g. strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) and without breaking the bank. The bottom line is, agave nectar is a devil in disguise.
Just like inflammation, sugar and artificial sweeteners have been getting a bad wrap. As a result, people are starting to avoid them. However, the food industry isn’t stupid. When we stop buying one type of product due to health scares, they just market something else.
In this case, it’s agave. You’ll be hearing a lot about this in the near future and how it’s good for you since it’s not sugar and it’s “all-natural”. But the fact is, it’s not only heavily processed, it consists primarily of fructose – the worst kind of sugar you can ingest. And guess what fructose does?
If you answered inflammation, pat yourself on the back.
So, to answer the question: does Nopalea work? Best case scenario, the pro-inflammatory agave cancels out any anti-inflammatory benefits of the bioflavonoids (i.e. you’re just throwing your money down the drain).
Worst case scenario? You’re causing more inflammation by drinking the stuff.
In my opinion, you’d be well served to use your cash for natural fruits and veggies. They’ll provide you with all the anti-inflammatory nutrients you’ll ever need (and then some). Plus, you’ll save plenty of money too.