Agave is a genus of plant from the Asparagaceae family. Agave plants grow in arid and semiarid climates throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. There are over 200 different species of agave plants, with a handful being used traditionally for food and nutrition benefits. The most well-known types of agave are those used to produce mezcal and tequila.1
The blue agave plant is used for its nectar—a syrup often used as an alternative sweetener to sugar.
Agave Health Uses and Health Benefits
Agave plants are high in iron and other important trace minerals, providing agave health benefits for nutrition. Due to their high iron content, agave plants—whether raw or dried—offer benefits to women, who are often anemic (iron deficient) without knowing it. Additionally, for women’s health, agave is high in calcium—another mineral perimenopausal and postmenopausal women are often deficient in. Agave plants also contain zinc, an important mineral for the immune system and healing.2
Agave plants also contain phytochemicals called saponins. Known for binding to cholesterol in the body, saponins in agave plants can help to protect against heart disease. By binding to cholesterol, saponins in agave can help to reduce overall cholesterol levels.2
Saponins have also been studied for their health benefits in protecting against colon cancer. Saponins in agave bind to certain digestive bacteria, which prevents damage to the colon and lowers the risk of cancer.2