Do you want to improve your overall health, increase your energy, and maybe strengthen your immunity? Then I’m sure you’ll be interested in moringa and the incredible health benefits it offers!
Moringa is classified as a superfood, which makes it arguably one of the healthiest foods in the world. Leaves, powder, and moringa oil show a wide range of positive attributes that people successfully use in medicine, cooking, and cosmetics.
Are you interested in learning more about moringa’s wide range of benefits? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Below you will find a complete set of information on this wonderful plant.
What is moringa
This fascinating plant has been known to the world since antiquity. Cultivated for thousands of years, Moringa oleifera is often called the tree of longevity. Due to its healing properties, it has gained recognition in many countries of the world, showing enormous medical and nutritional potential.
Its original place of occurrence is northern India, but to this day it has managed to spread throughout Asia, Africa, and South America. Thanks to its widely understood medical advantages, they often call it the “miracle tree”. That’s because each of its elements contains medicine.
For example, you can use the powdered leaves of the Moringa tree to combat malnutrition and improper nutrition. This is because these leaves contain the most important amino acids, fatty acids, and minerals with vitamins. Moringa itself grows naturally within the Himalayas and reaches an impressive size of about 10 meters in height. That’s roughly 33 feet for you, American friends. It’s surrounded by a large number of small and oval leaves and cream-colored flowers. Ayurvedic medicine already enjoyed the benefits of moringa about 3,000 years ago!
You might have come across a different name of moringa – the horseradish tree. The name itself refers to the roots of the tree, which when tasted resemble the taste of horseradish. Due to its structure, this plant is also extremely resistant to all kinds of droughts. We currently know of 14 different varieties of Moringa, but the most recognizable element is Moringa oleifera.
Fruits, shoots, and leaves are mostly used in the kitchen, and the oil is produced from the seeds, just like pumpkin seeds oil. The oil works both in the kitchen and in the production of, for example, soap and paints. Interestingly, Moringa is also often used as animal feed and for biofuel.
Nutritional values of moringa
This wonderful plant contains a lot of valuable ingredients, such as antioxidants, protein, potassium, iron, vitamins A, C, and E. It also contains a lot of manganese, chromium, and boron. Manganese is responsible for the health of bones and joints, chromium plays a large role in the fight against stress and supports metabolism, and boron is extremely important for the proper functioning of the brain. Moringa is especially beneficial in this case, as it contains more boron than any other plant. As an excellent source of antioxidants, it also protects us against oxidative stress. This helps prevent the development of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. As a cherry on top, moringa also contains plenty of amino acids and omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.
Here’s how nutritional values of moringa compare to some other products per 100 grams:
- 10 times more vitamin A compared to carrots,
- 12 times more vitamin C than oranges,
- 17 times more calcium than any milk,
- 15 times more potassium than in banana fruit,
- 25 times more iron than spinach,
- 900% more protein compared to yogurt.
Very impressive! And the best part is, powdered moringa leaves will retain their nutritional value and benefits for years without the need for cooling. This makes them undoubtedly one of the most popular forms of this plant and a nutritional powerhouse.
Moringa also contains zeatin – an antioxidant that facilitates the absorption of vitamins and minerals. This is great, considering the bioavailability of nutrients is the most important factor in a healthy diet.
Health benefits of moringa
Nowadays, there’s a ton of tests that confirm all kinds of benefits that moringa has to offer. By consuming its powdered leaves rich in valuable nutrients, we can improve not only our well-being but also our own health. And so, here are all the amazing properties of moringa, according to research:
1. Have a positive effect on the condition of our skin, hair, and nails
Moringa is often used in cosmetics thanks to the high content of vitamin E and antioxidants that inhibit the aging process of the skin. A tablespoon of powdered leaves a day is enough to support the natural process of building collagen fibers and improve the firmness of your skin.
2. Cleanses the body and helps detoxify the liver
Moringa owes its detoxification properties both to the presence of isothiocyanates and the rich content of chlorophyll, which helps us regenerate the liver and supports detoxification of our body from heavy metals and various other toxins.
3. Helps regenerate muscles
Moringa powder contains a large amount of protein, which increases the efficiency of our body and promotes its regeneration after hard exercise (e.g. training). Moreover, it contains all 9 essential exogenous amino acids – which are amino acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own, so they must be provided in the diet.
4. Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol
High blood sugar is a major issue of diabetes, but it also increases the risk of other serious health problems like heart disease. By taking Moringa leaf powder daily, we can help the body lower the level of glucose in our blood and increase its tolerance due to the chlorogenic acid present in the plant. Like almonds and oats, moringa can also lower your blood cholesterol, which essentially reduces the risk of heart disease.
5. Lowers blood pressure
Recent studies in this matter have shown that regular consumption of powdered moringa leaves not only regulates our blood pressure but also relaxes the muscle cells of the blood vessels. Due to the fact that it has a hypotensive effect, it also reduces the high blood pressure in the human body.
6. Regulates digestion
Moringa is good for gut health thanks to its nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals. These compounds, including polyphenolic compounds and isothiocyanates, support intestinal health and, as has been proven by numerous studies, stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria while inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
7. Improves immunity and reduces inflammation
Thanks to its content of isothiocyanates, powdered moringa leaves can have an anti-inflammatory effect on our digestive tract and urinary system, and increase the body’s resistance by protecting it against pathogenic bacteria strains. Polyphenols found in the leaves of this plant capture and neutralize free radicals, which protect cells from damage and contribute to reducing inflammation.
The use of moringa in the kitchen
Moringa is one of those ingredients that we can easily include in our daily menu. Its great advantage, apart from being a natural vitamin bomb, is also the fact that we can consume it in virtually any form. The fruit tastes best when you cook it and the leaves are often prepared in a similar way to spinach or kale (they taste like watercress).
The powder is a very convenient way of reaping the benefits of moringa. Simply add it to warm or cold water, mix it, and drink it. It’s also suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. We can use it both in soups and salads – add it to cereals, muesli or yogurt, or a cocktail that will strengthen our body. It’s best to consume around 1 teaspoon (1.5g) of powdered moringa leaves 3 times a day. This amount will ensure you get all the benefits and is easy to add to your diet daily. You can easily combine it with curcumin and flax seeds for an amazing, healthy smoothie.
In addition, moringa oil is perfect for frying food, and you can use moringa leaves to make a delicious tea or use them to make nutritious fruit and vegetable juice. The latter can also act as a great food preservative and extend the shelf life of meat.
The use of moringa in cosmetics
Moringa is more and more often used for skincare and strengthening hair bulbs. For this purpose you can use the oil which moisturizes the skin, thus supporting the regeneration of the epidermis thanks to the unsaturated fatty acids present in its composition. It also effectively prevents hair loss and fights dandruff. Manufacturers use it as a complimentary ingredient of all ointments of hand lotions, body lotions, and face creams. Thanks to the presence of oleic acid, you can also use it for acne-prone and dry skin.
Is Eating Moringa Leaves Safe?
Experts say there is no “maximum dose” for moringa. Unlike many powdered superfoods, it’s not a herb or spice. It’s more of a vegetable belonging to the cabbage family – just like the well-known cabbage, horseradish, and mustard. This makes moringa generally safe even when consumed in large amounts.
Human studies on moringa consumption showed no side effects or toxicity in an amount that we can realistically eat. For example, in an experiment conducted in 1993, six patients with type 2 diabetes were fed a meal once with 50 g of powdered moringa leaves. As a result, blood glucose levels dropped by as much as 21% without any side effects.
Another example is Burkina Faso, where researchers gave chronically malnourished children 10 g of powdered moringa leaves every day. Also without any side effects. On the contrary. Children in the moringa group showed a much faster recovery than children eating the same diet but without the addition of moringa leaves.
How do researchers explain such results? Moringa is a great source of good quality, highly digestible protein with a rich amino acid profile. It is also a very good source of vitamin C, which increases the absorption of iron by the human body, as well as vitamin A and other nutrients necessary to maintain normal functions, including eyesight, bone growth, and immunity.
You can safely add moringa to your diet every day. In fact, people who added moringa to their diet experienced all kinds of positive results, especially in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, inflammation, and many other conditions
As a precaution, though, moringa can lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure when using medications for these conditions. That’s why in such a case I would consult your healthcare professional before including moringa in your diet.
How much moringa is enough to reap the benefits
In most human studies, they used around 4-8 grams of powdered moringa leaves per day. This amount was enough to see positive results after just 1-3 months of supplementation, especially in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and women struggling with the troublesome symptoms of menopause.
Rational amounts of moringa in your diet will have no side effects and that the plant’s nutritional value is huge. This basically means you can actually eat as much as you like.
Let’s just that each organism is different – listen to what it tells you. Some people successfully eat moringa leaves every day, while others will feel better if they eat it less often. In that case, every other day might turn out to be a better option for you.
One more thing. Unless your goal is to induce a laxative effect, it’s best to eat moringa with a meal, such as in a smoothie, porridge, salad, or soup. Your body often takes time to get used to new foods, especially in powdered form.
I strongly believe that in nature you can find all kinds of unusual solutions to endless health problems that people experience. The more nature in our lives, the better. Moringa is just one of so many incredible plants that our amazing world has to offer. I hope I’ve convinced you with this article to give moringa a try, its benefits are truly impressive. A miracle of nature.