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Moringa – The new superfood
Heard of Moringa before? You might want to go and get some after reading this….
You may hear Moringa (moringa oleifera) referred to as the Ben Oil Tree, Drumstick Tree, or Indian Horseradish. It is a fast- growing tree typically cultivated in India, tropical Asia, Africa and Latin America, yielding long seed pods that resemble drumsticks, hence the name Drumstick Tree.
We are learning that Moringa has long been used in eastern medicine to treat many ailments such as low energy, adrenal fatigue and helps to naturally detox the liver just to name a few. As a dietary supplement, Moringa is high in protein, Vitamins A, B and C and contains minerals such as calcium and iron.
It is also rich in ﬂavonoid, a class of compounds found in plants that contribute to essential plant functions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Moringa products have antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inﬂammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic properties”. In essence, this makes Moringa a new superfood that is nutritious and medicinal.
Moringa is particularly mentioned in Ayurvedic treatments as the most nutritious tree in India. In traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments, moringa is used as a natural and safe detox, often used as a regular tonic of the body. Apart from wellness from within, moringa leaves and barks can be processed into a balm for external application, alleviating joint pains and rheumatism as the plant has a mild analgesic eﬀect. It’s no wonder the Moringa plant is now being hailed as the latest superfood.
In the western world, Moringa products come in various forms, with the most convenient and widely-available form being Moringa powder ground from dried leaves and taken as a supplement in pill form.
Here are just some of the wonderful health beneﬁts:
1. It’s nutrient-packed – vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2. It ﬁghts free radicals – molecules that cause oxidative stress and cell damage
3. It ﬁghts inﬂammation – helping to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity
4. Reduces diabetes symptoms – reducing lipid and glucose levels
5. Protects cardiovascular system – prevents plaque formation and reduces cholesterol levels
6. Protects the liver – with high concentrations of polyphenols
7. Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – to ﬁght infections
Here is your guide to taking Moringa in all it’s forms so you can start beneﬁting from this wondrous superfood.
Due to diﬀerent manufacturing styles and ways to process the plant, the dosage can be varied. Always check the label for recommended dosage given they have diﬀerent concentration of active ingredients. Usually it’s one pill per day.
In Powder Form
You will find Moringa leaf powder is typically sold in packets or jars. For the most eﬀective health beneﬁts, take it raw, as heat may destroy some of the useful and healthful compounds. Generally, you should start oﬀ slow and add more powder day by day in order for the body to get used to the detoxifying qualities of Moringa. Start oﬀ with a quarter teaspoon added to your smoothies, iced tea, water or sprinkled on your breakfast such as yoghurt or overnight chia pudding and slowly build up to 1 tablespoons a day.
Seeds and Leaves
You might come across roasted whole Moringa seeds or even whole leaves. These are usually hard to come by so if you want to use these, it’s best to check your local health food store, Asian markets or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. The seeds are typically bitter and astringent though; how much you use will depend on personal taste. To use Moringa seeds, remove the shell and chew ﬁve to ten seeds a day if possible, or grind them into powder and sprinkle on your food.
The spices used in Indian cooking, such as cumin and turmeric, complement the anti-inﬂammatory eﬀect of Moringa. If eaten raw, start oﬀ with a quarter cup of leaves per day, and build up to half cup a day.
No matter how you choose to have your Moringa for its therapeutic eﬀect, the key is moderation and consuming it in line with you and your body. For some that means being able to handle more at ﬁrst, for you it might be to only take a quarter of the recommended dosage.
Being a superfood, it’s important to remember that Moringa is ultimately not medication but a nutrient-rich food that supports a healthy diet and lifestyle.
If you are pregnant, never consume Moringa tree bark or root as it could cause early labor or uterine contractions. If you are menstruating, it can cause excessive bleeding due to the detoxifying nature.
As always, consult your doctor before incorporating Moringa into your daily diet.