Moringa - the superfood that could save the world!

  • 16 Dec, 2020
Moringa - the superfood that could save the world!

Moringa oleifera, commonly known as Moringa is the newest superfood on the block. This nutrient packed plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years due to its long list of benefits.

Moringa trees grow at a rate comparable to weeds, sometimes growing 20 feet in a year and flowering in six months. The fragile leaves are the most popular part of the plant. They can be eaten whole but can also be and ground into a fine, velvety powder. The powder smells like a mild, peppery version of green tea and adds a healthful burst of green to everything it touches. When added to water, the light powder dissolves easily, providing a distinctly “green” flavor that is bitter and slightly sweet. Dried Moringa leaf powder can also be sprinkled into smoothies, yogurts, and juices.

The leaves are chock-full of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and amino acids. They also pack flavonoids like quercetin, which can stabilize histamine production, and chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to have a balancing effect on blood sugar. A paper published in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition found Moringa leaves to contain more than seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of cow’s milk, and three times the potassium of bananas. The rich amino acid, vitamin, and mineral profile of Moringa leaves makes them a great natural energy booster, despite the fact that they are caffeine-free.

A study published in the journal Phytochemistry found that the plant also contains substances called isothiocyanates, which have been shown to potentially boost human resistance to cancer while helping regulate blood sugar levels. Stabilized blood sugar can help balance mood swings, control cravings, and reduce inflammation. A paper published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research also found that the isothiocyanates present in Moringa can aid in lowering blood pressure, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

That’s a lot of accomplishments for a small and notoriously fragile leaf, but the benefits don’t stop there. Moringa trees have been shown to be exceptionally drought-resistant, making them a critical nutritional resource in drought-prone areas increasingly affected by climate change.

“What makes Moringa leaf such a valuable food is that the plant grows very well in drought-prone parts of the tropics,” says Mark Olson, a professor of evolutionary biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who has studied Moringa for more than 20 years. “Moringa is not only exceptionally drought-resistant but its leaves have a huge amount of protein, about 30 percent dry weight, similar to powdered milk at a fraction of the cost. With so much of the global population facing protein-energy malnutrition, a protein-rich food that grows well in a drought-prone area of high population density is very important,” says Olson.

Protein-energy malnutrition is a pressing nutritional problem in many countries in Southern Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it affects more than one out of three children in developing countries, especially where residents face food insecurity.

Moringa is a convenient, nutrient-dense food that can be used to supplement diets otherwise lacking proper nutrition. The leaves provide a healthy boost of vitamins and minerals for anyone looking to consume them, but the plant’s true power lies in its potential to redistribute nutrition across a broader global spectrum. Moringa could be a vital resource in feeding the world and that’s what makes makes Moringa worthy of real excitement.

Note: This blog post references content from this article that appeared on the Vogue website in 2017.