Why Is Moringa Miraculous?Luke Coutinho
In our line of work, we constantly keep researching the science behind food and how it is evolving. Truth be told, the gifts of nature have remained the same since the beginning of time. But as science evolves, researchers are now deep-diving into studying the nutritional benefits of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs more safely. One such plant that continues to capture the interest of many across scientific journals is moringa.
Moringa oleifera grows in different countries across the world. It is one of the fastest-growing and drought-resistant trees, native to our Indian subcontinent.
If you have ever had the South Indian preparation – sambar, you are no stranger to the flavor and texture drumsticks bring to it. Drumsticks are the fruit of the Moringa oleifera tree. But it isn’t the fruit that is the star of this article today. The nutritious leaves from this tree are packed with countless health benefits that find praise not only in Ayurveda but modern-day food science too.
Indian villages, to date, collect moringa leaves and cook them into a vegetable to be relished with rotis and rice. Looking back, I remember we had a moringa tree in our backyard growing up. My parents would use the fruit, leaves, and even flowers in different vegetable preparations. It was tasty and found a regular spot on our food menu at home once or twice a week.
So I want to take this opportunity to delve into what makes moringa a superfood.
Moringa in Ayurveda
Did you know kings and queens used moringa to improve their alertness and to maintain healthy skin? Even Indian warriors consumed moringa to enhance their energy, relieve pain, and counter stress during war. The traditional uses of moringa in Ayurveda, naturopathy, and nutrition include healing skin infections, anxiety, asthma, wounds, fever, diarrhea, sore throats, cancers, and even autoimmune conditions, like arthritis.
When we read, understand, and process this, it is also important to remember that moringa is not a wonder drug that will cure all your health issues. But it is supportive of your condition. When consumed the right way and addressing your lifestyle and root causes, it can help you manage your ailment better.
Nature plays a huge role in our healing and recovery. A reason why food is considered medicine. The right quantity, quality, time, and food synergy also matter.
What is food synergy? You may ask. It is how different foods, when combined the right way, can act like medicine for your body. For instance, turmeric on its own may not be as effective. But pairing it with black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin from turmeric into your blood and maximizes its benefits. Why? Because black pepper has piperine that makes this possible.
Several people google the benefits of turmeric and start popping turmeric pills. They do not realize that these pills do not have black pepper in them which means their bioavailability is extremely low.
READ: Food Synergy – 10 Best Food Pairings to Perk Up Your Health
Remember, when we say food is medicine, it doesn’t mean that it is a replacement for the medication prescribed by your doctor. Nutrition only works when you also make lifestyle changes – pay attention to your movement, sleep, and emotional health.
If you ace each of these pillars, there is a big possibility that one day you will feel better and be able to wean off your medications safely under the guidance of your healthcare expert.
How moringa is helping fight malnutrition in rural India
Why is moringa such a beautiful food? Three years ago, one of my nutritionists, Harshala Chedda (who is a registered dietitian), and I worked on a malnutrition nutrition project in the village of Gopalganj in north India. We worked extensively working with the director of IHI (Institute of healthcare improvement) U.S who in turn had been working with Care India, an NGO empowering women and girls of India. They approached us after observing our research on moringa. They said, “Luke, moringa grows abundantly in this village. How can we add it to our meals?”
Led by the then district manager of Gopalganj, Animesh Kumar Parashar (IAS) with the help of the then Deputy Secretary, Department of Health, Rajesh Kumar, this initiative taught villagers how to grow and use the moringa in cooking preparations.
When we assessed the food habits of the locals we were surprised to know that they had been using moringa abundantly for years but stopped. As processed and junk food started becoming more affordable, they replaced the goodness of what they were eating with these.
The aim was to improve health and nutrition, combat anemia and malnutrition across women and children, and aim for healthier pregnancies. You can read more about the project here.
Moringa works as a multivitamin. It can help fight malnourishment in regions with difficult climatic conditions where food is scarce. Its rich iron content makes it beneficial for those suffering from anemia. The high content of vitamin C further boosts the bioavailability of iron. So, moringa is super powerful if used correctly. Let us now dive into its health benefits.
Health benefits of moringa
Scientific journals point out that it has 7x more vitamin C than oranges, 10x more than Vitamin E in carrots, 17x more calcium than milk, 9x more protein than yogurt, 15x more potassium than bananas, and 25x more iron than spinach. Well, it is true, but don’t get fooled. You may have to eat moringa in large quantities to get that kind of value. And anything in excess can be harmful to your health.
Moringa has 90 bioactive compounds. It is loaded with protein, calcium, potassium, iron, chromium, copper, magnesium, selenium, zinc, folic acid and contains high levels of antioxidants. It is also a rich source of B vitamins.
Moringa lowers inflammation
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of most diseases. Photo Credits: Pixabay
Most diseases today from cancer to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, gut issues, and even diabetes – are inflammatory. The antioxidants present in moringa leaves reduce inflammation. It is also used widely for autoimmune conditions like arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis, among others, thanks to its pain-relieving properties. In the olden days, people would extract oil from moringa leaves and crush them into a paste with water. They would apply this paste to pain points on the body for relief.
Moringa is great for heart health
When you have inflammation in the heart or have plaque forming in your arteries and endothelial lining, your cells can get inflamed. Moringa’s antioxidant properties help lower this inflammation.
Moringa to tackle allergies and lower diabetes
It is also rich in antioxidants like quercetin and chlorogenic acid. While quercetin (an antihistamine) helps with allergy symptoms, chlorogenic acid helps manage blood sugar levels. It is effective in lowering diabetes. But it comes with a warning. If you are on diabetes medication and also using moringa – be careful. Track your sugar levels to ensure you do not go into hypoglycemia. Use moringa under supervision.
Moringa can also help lower high blood pressure
If you are on high blood pressure medication, moringa can also lower your blood pressure. So you don’t want to be in a situation where your medication, moringa, and lifestyle are all working resulting in low blood pressure. So make an informed decision.
Moringa is rich in calcium
It is beneficial for nursing mothers. It can boost lactation and improve the quality of breast milk by making it calcium-rich for the baby.
Moringa has anti-aging properties and boosts skin and hair health
Loaded with antioxidants and anti-aging compounds, moringa leaves lower the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation, thus slowing down aging. Its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties boost your skin and hair. It is effective while managing breakouts and acne, can prevent scalp infections, boost hair growth, and get rid of dandruff.
Moringa helps with cancer management
Science today has also labeled moringa as anti-cancerous. But does this mean it can take away your cancer? NO. Given the moniker of miracle tree, moringa can assist with management and recovery in cancer patients. It boosts their immunity, provides the much-needed antioxidant support, and keeps them well-nourished.
When you’re on heavy medication like steroids, moringa can help manage the side effects by stimulating your immune system. It helps correct signaling pathways that have gone wrong and reduces inflammation. Moringa is packed with flavonoids and polyphenols that are crucial for your immune system to fight germs, pathogens, viruses, or even cancers.
Moringa leaves are also rich in the bioactive compound – niazimicin B. It is known to inhibit tumor growth and promote apoptosis (killing cancer cells).
Moringa can break fevers and provide relief from diarrhea
The next time you have a fever that won’t break or have a bad case of the runs, try drinking moringa tea. All you need to do is steep a bag of moringa leaves into a cup of hot water. You can also have moringa pills or moringa powder. If you are lucky enough to have a moringa tree, pluck out the leaves and cook them in a simple vegetable the same way you make any other sabji.
Moringa is hepatoprotective
It means it plays a massive role in protecting the liver. We recommend it to our cancer patients because their liver is susceptible to damage after heavy treatments. Moringa is also potent in managing cirrhotic and alcohol-induced fatty livers. It is also great for kidney protection. But again, it needs to be consumed under the supervision of your healthcare expert to ensure that it does not interfere with any medications or conditions that you may have.
Moringa is beneficial for those with thyroid
It is effective for those with both – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. But again, if you are on medication for thyroid – always track your levels. You do not want both your medication and moringa to work rapidly and fluctuate your levels so much that you have a new problem. Always make an informed decision under medical supervision.
Moringa promotes wound healing
In villages to date, people pack wounds with moringa leaves. You can also mix moringa oil with a carrier oil like coconut or sesame and apply it to insect bites for relief.
Who should be careful while consuming moringa?
- If you are pregnant, you can consume moringa but speak to your doctor first. DO NOT take moringa as a replacement for your calcium or iron because you are now feeding two lives. Many people approach me saying, “Moringa is cheap. Can I only have moringa and not take anything else that my doctor prescribed?” The answer is NO, you cannot because you cannot eat excess moringa to replace all of your other supplements.
- Now a lot of people use the moringa bark. You want to be careful of this if you are pregnant because it can increase your contractions.
- Moringa is also documented to interfere with fertility. So if you have problems with fertility, speak to your doctor first before consuming it.
How to add moringa to your meals?
Moringa powder. Photo Credits: Pixabay
Every part of the Moringa oleifera plant is edible, and the leaves are the most nutritious.
- Shade dry the leaves and powder them. When dried and crushed into a powder, these are even more powerful than fresh leaves. Add this homemade moringa powder to any dish to boost its nutrition.
- Drink moringa tea with readymade sachets or brew crushed dried moringa leaves. Let me warn you, moringa tea is bitter when you mix it with water. I like adding it to my sattu shake because it takes away the taste of the moringa completely.
- Transform it into juice, soup, curries, and chutneys.
- Cook it into a vegetable, sambhar, or rasam. You can also preserve the moringa stalk and add it to your curries or rasam.
Add moringa powder to your dals or lentils. Buy it here.
You can add moringa to your khichdi. When cooked the right way, it does not taste bitter at all and is delicious.
TRY THIS: Moringa Khichdi Recipe
Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much moringa can I have?
A. You can start with a teaspoon and go up to two teaspoons of moringa powder a day. Remember, everyone is unique, so do what suits you.
Q. Can you give it to children below the age of four?
A. The answer is, there isn’t much research on this. We do know that many families prefer cooking the leaves into a vegetable for their kids. It is much better because moringa powder may be a little too strong for them. Consult your pediatrician to make a wise decision.
Q. Is moringa a superfood?
A. Yes, moringa is a superfood and it is inexpensive. But there is a reason why I avoid calling it a superfood too much because the minute we label it, it may start becoming expensive.
Q. Is moringa used in other countries too?
A. In our own experience consulting with patients across the globe and working with ethical farmers for our sustainable e-commerce platform You Care Lifestyle – we know of people in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, who fly in tons of moringa. They use moringa in holistic treatments of health conditions, and just general well-being like skin and hair health.
Moringa is a gift of nature that has been abundantly available for civilizations. It is about time we start finding creative ways to maximize its benefits for our health and lifestyle.
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Thank you Luke.
Most welcome, Alice 🙂
I have been struggling with hair fall for a while now and nothing has seemed to help. I have tried different shampoos, oils, and treatments, but nothing has worked. I decided to give moringa powder a try after reading this article and it has been a life saver! My hair fall has dramatically decreased and my hair is finally starting to look and feel healthy. I am so grateful to have found this natural solution that has worked so well for me.
This is excellent to know, Sheryy. Glad it worked for you 🙂
Are you applying or consuming moringa?
Thank you for sharing this information about the potential benefits of consuming moringa! I was not previously familiar with this “miracle tree” and it is interesting to learn about its rich nutrient content and potential health benefits. I will definitely consider adding moringa to my diet, but I will be sure to consult with my healthcare provider first to ensure it is safe and appropriate for me. It is always important to prioritize our health and well-being, and finding natural ways to support our bodies is always a plus. Thanks again for sharing this information!
Amazing. Keep winning 🙂
Hey Luke…is taking a capsule of this powder as good as the real deal?
If so how many capsules should one take and how often?