Have you heard of the Moringa tree? Well, I was recently asked what my opinion was on Moringa oleifera ”…the research looks good, but is it really as good for the body as they say it is?” To be honest, it had not really been on my radar. I knew of it as a “super-food,” but I was not using it or recommending it to my patients. So when asked, I looked into it and I am glad that I did. This amazing botanical has been around for thousands of years, and has gained tremendous popularity since its debut on the good ol’ Dr. Oz show a few years back. On PubMed there are hundreds of scientific reviews and research studies on this medicine chest of a tree! I perused quite a few and do, indeed, agree that it is an extremely valuable botanical worthy of its status as a “super-food.”
Moringa oleifera, the most widely cultivated species, is native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and cultivated throughout the tropics. This amazing tree has been used worldwide to help address malnutrition. It is one of the most nutrient dense plants in the world absolutely loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber and protein-including all 9 essential amino acids.
Every part of the tree can be used: leaves, root, flowers, seeds and seed pods. Mostly just the leaves, seeds and seed pods are regularly consumed as foods. Research and traditional use has shown it to be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, protecting the body against damage form heavy metal exposure, supporting detox pathways, increases stamina, boosting energy levels and overall vitality. Medical research shows Moringa leaves can be used to help treat roughly over 300 health problems.
Moringa can be found in capsules, liquid extracts, oil, powders, and dried leaf. This is what gives it its “super-food” status! It can be taken as a supplement and consumed as a food. Dry leaves can be used in just about any way that fresh can be used. Add it to smoothies, salads, soups, or your favorite chicken, fish, or shrimp dishes at the end of the cooking to maintain full nutrient content. You can also drink it as a tea…but don’t throw away the leaves, you can put then into your next meal or throw them into a smoothie to retrieve all the nutrients these little leaves have to offer.
Gram for gram Moringa contains 7 times the vitamin C in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk and twice the protein, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 3 times the iron found in spinach, and 3 times the potassium in bananas. Boasting 92 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-Inflammatory compounds, and 18 amino acids, 9 of them essential amino acids… I am definitely planning on adding this amazing super-food into my daily life!