Moringa is a type of tree, which originated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Due to its widespread use, it’s now grown in many locations throughout the tropics as well.
It’s often referred to as the “miracle tree” because of its impressive nutrient profile, medicinal uses, and ability to nourish regions where food is scarce.
Most parts of the tree (leaves, bark, pods, seeds, and oils) are edible and have long been consumed by humans.
The leaves are most widely used in Western societies. While you can eat them fresh, they’re most often dried and ground into a powder.
Moringa contains 92 nutrients as well as 46 natural antioxidants and many other phytonutrients.
Specifically, the leaves contain high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamin A (as beta-carotene)
- vitamin C
They’re also a good source of fiber and highly digestible protein. The protein is also complete (containing all essential amino acids), which is rare for plant foods.
Moringa leaves are rich in flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants necessary to fight free radical damage and delay the aging process.
Other phytonutrients, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and chlorophyll among others help rid the body of toxins, cleanse the liver, support the immune system, and participate in cellular repair.
Potential Health Benefits
Traditionally, moringa has been used for centuries to treat over 300 types of diseases. As a result, it’s been investigated extensively over the past century. There are over 600 published studies to date. And scientific evidence suggests it may be beneficial for the following:
- bacterial and fungal infections
- cancer prevention
- high blood pressure
- inflammatory diseases
- digestive health
- skin health
- nervous disorders
- reproductive health
- malnutrition/nutrient deficiencies
How to Incorporate Moringa into Your Diet
I always recommend getting nutrients from food whenever possible as opposed to synthetic nutrition supplements. They’re more effective in their whole form and when consumed with other naturally occurring cofactors.
So pick up a bag of moringa powder and consider adding it to the following foods:
- Smoothies and fresh veggie juices
- Soups and stews
- Salad dressings
- Pesto and other sauce
- Guacamole and other dips
- No-bake treats
Dried whole leaves are also sold, which can be used to make a nutrient rich tea.
If you have access to fresh moringa leaves, you can add them to some of the foods above as well as:
- Homemade pizza
Fresh leaves also make a super healthy garnish for almost any dish
While I don’t suggest using moringa to treat a specific health condition without consulting with your doctor, I do suggesting adding it to your diet for a nutritional boost. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and potent phytonutrients necessary for a healthy and vibrant life.
Adaora, V., & Florett, C. (2014). Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties of Vigna subterranea and Moringa oleifera. Antioxidant-Antidiabetic Agents and Human Health. doi:10.5772/57338
Anwar, F., Latif, S., Ashraf, M., & Gilani, A. H. (2006). Moringa oleifera: a food plant with multiple medicinal uses. Phytotherapy Research,21(1), 17-25. doi:10.1002/ptr.2023