Discover the data behind the science about what’s been coined the Miracle Tree, native to Africa, and being exported for Your kitchen as the world’s most nutrient dense superfood.
The Moringa Profile
Moringa Oleifera is a plant native to India. There are 13 species in the Moringaceae family, each native to various regions of Africa. Other names the plant is known in the English language by are the Horseradish Tree (or just a Radish Tree), a Drumstick Tree, the West Indian Ben, Mother’s Best Friend and the Miracle Tree.
In Eastern Cultures Moringa is a staple part of a daily diet. It’s used like spinach and tastes the same too, but provides a heavy weight punch in the nutrients department.
That’s why it’s considered the superfood of the superfoods!
It’s huge in Eastern cultures but in the West, you’re more likely to find it sold as a dietary supplement in powder form or in capsules.
Research into the health benefits of Moringa Oleifera are ongoing, but early indications of existing scientific research on the properties of various parts of Moringa are promising.
Here, we take a peek into what scientific studies tell us about Moringa to decipher the latest health craze and see if it’ll stick, or be a fad.
What the Research Tells us about the Proclaimed Health Benefits of Moringa
Moringa is the Most Nutritious Superfoods
If you’re interested in getting superfoods into your daily diet, consider this…
The nutrition values of Moringa provides:
- 7x more vitamin C than oranges
- 9x more protein than yogurt
- 10x more vitamin A than carrots
- 15x more potassium than bananas
- 17x more calcium than milk
- 25x more iron than spinach
People taking supplements for an iron deficiency can benefit from substituting iron tablets for moringa powder or capsules to treat anemia by increasing hemoglobin status. For the rest of us, other benefits to moringa are healthier skin, nails and hair.
High in Antioxidants, Moringa Helps in the Fight Against Serious Diseases
Serious diseases antioxidants fight against include heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. As moringa is packed with 46 antioxidant properties, free radicals (Reactive Oxygen Species – ROS) can be neutralized, reducing the chance of oxidative stress, which is a leading cause of neurodegenerative diseases.
Moringa supplementation can play a positive role in healthy aging when taken regularly.
Moringa Will Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Animal studies aside, which most health studies are based on, a few clinical studies have been analyzed and show that moringa does indeed lower blood sugar levels. Research into the medicinal uses of moringa have progressed from using it as a treatment to now studying the possible side effects.
Something to note is that if you are taking medications to control diabetes, moringa will lower your blood sugars even further. For those taking diabetes medication, consult your doctor before experimenting because there is a risk of lowering your blood sugar levels too far. Moringa isn’t a dietary supplement to substitute medications for blood sugar regulation. It should only be used in accordance with professional medical advice.
Moringa Shows Potential as an Anti-Inflammatory and for Pain Relief
One study, although based on animals concluded there is anti-inflammatory potential use with moringa extract. It’s already used in various cultures around the world as an alternative health medicine. Western animal controlled and test-tube-based studies are indicating there is potential use for moringa extracts to be used for medicinal purposes. As an anti-inflammatory, the results of the study are not ground-breaking because we already know there are three dozen anti-inflammatory properties in moringa.
What is ground-breaking relates to chemical stability of isothiocyanates in moringa concentrates made from fresh moringa leaves and water. The chemical stability could result in food grade products to treat low levels of inflammation, which can contribute to chronic diseases when left untreated.
Moringa May be Effective at Lowering Your Cholesterol
There is “therapeutic potential” showing moringa can reduce cholesterol significantly. The plant also contains hypolipidemic agents, which are why moringa is used in the Indian culture as an herbal medicine to treat obese patients. Using the extract from moringa leaves in combination with a high-fat diet over 30 days led to a reduction in “cholesterol levels in serum, liver and kidney”.
Moringa May Protect Health from Arsenic in Your Tapwater
The EWG Tapwater database shows that 46 states tested positive for arsenic levels, 31 of which are over the legal limits. It’s due to contaminated water, Americans are advised to use water filters. However, scientists have discovered that moringa seeds offer better water purification.
Going forward, this will be invaluable as the world is in the midst of a water crisis. 70% of the world is water, but only 2.5% is freshwater and of that 1.5% is inaccessible because it’s trapped in icebergs and glaciers. An even smaller amount of 0.007% is natural drinkable water.
We need to be
treating water and with moringa being a natural plant source, you could be
using moringa to purify water and gain some of the health benefits associated
with the Miracle Tree.
The Various Parts of the Miracle ‘Food’ Tree Broken Down
One publication describes the moringa tree as a “supermarket on a trunk” because every part of the plant is edible.
Moringa leaves can be boiled and used just like spinach, or they can be ground into a powder. They can also be dried and crushed to sprinkle over foods. The leaves are the richest source of nutrition. Some nurses in parts of Africa keep ground up moringa leaves to give to parents of malnourished children as it can be sprinkled through baby food.
Immature pods can be eaten either cut up or whole. They’re relatively easy to cut and used in cooking dishes at home. In the international market, these are often sold in cans.
Mature pods are more commonly called drumsticks, (aka, the Drumstick Tree). These are often used in Indian curries, although should be softened as they’re difficult to cut.
The flowers on moringa tea can be eaten as a cooked vegetable or soaked in water for a moringa infused tea. Eaten raw, they taste like radish, which is why the moringa tree is sometimes called the Radish Tree.
Seeds come from immature pods and should be boiled before eating just as use peas, although they can also be fried and taste like peanuts.
Where to buy Moringa?
Moringa in various forms are sold in health stores both locally and online. Whilst the moringa tree is native to Africa, it is harvested and exported. Often to Taiwan, on to Europe and the US. The most variety will be available in ethnic Indian stores as it is a cultural food.
It is difficult to buy pure moringa leaves to grind because of the product being imported. For that reason, you’ll likely find it easier to buy moringa as a diet supplement sold in either powder pods or capsules, although you can find some organic speciality tea stores selling moringa leaves.