You may not be familiar with moringa, but this leafy green superfood, native to the Philippines, is packed with benefits—in fact, it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods ever discovered, according to a 2007 review article in Phytotherapy Research. Mixing dried moringa leaf powder into foods you eat regularly, such as smoothies, juices, soups and salads, can help your healthy meals pack an additional nutritional punch. You can find moringa for sale in some health food stores, but it is most readily available via online retailers.
What’s in moringa?
Dried moringa leaf powder contains…
- 10 times the vitamin A of carrots
- 17 times the calcium of milk
- 15 times the potassium of bananas
- 25 times the iron of spinach
- 9 times the protein of yogurt
- 4 times more fiber than oats
- 4 times more chlorophyll than wheatgrass
- 1/2 the vitamin C of oranges—and fresh moringa leaves have 7 times the vitamin C of oranges.
In addition, moringa has the highest antioxidant level of any food, beating antioxidant-rich acai berries by about 50 percent, according to an independent test conducted by Brunswick Laboratories in 2012. Moringa’s leaves are about 40 percent protein by weight, and contain every essential amino acid, as well as 36 anti-inflammatory compounds. Many users have reported it increases their energy. It may also help reduce food cravings, because it helps stabilize blood sugar, as suggested by the results of 2012 research published in Journal of Diabetes (“Evaluation of antidiabetic and antioxidant activity of Moringa oleifera in experimental diabetes”).
Food, tea and more
Moringa has a vegetable taste, with a slight spiciness. For use as a recipe additive, it’s best to look for finely ground powder, because the finer the powder, the better it mixes and dissolves. (It also comes in other forms, including tea, oil and capsules.) Adding moringa to your breakfast routine by baking or mixing it into regular recipes is a great way for you to start long, on-your-feet workdays. A cup of moringa tea is an excellent source of natural energy and a great way to perk up during that sleepy time after lunch.
Oil can also be made from moringa’s seeds. This oil is high in vitamins and antioxidants; and it has a shelf life of up to five years, according to a 2012 review article published in the Universal Journal of Environmental Research and Technology. It absorbs into skin very quickly, making it an effective moisturizer and aromatherapy massage oil. Due to high amounts of behenic acid, moringa oil is commonly referred to as ben oil, and is used in many high-end beauty creams intended to reduce wrinkles. The oil is also edible, and can be drizzled on salad or used as a cooking oil to add a slightly nutty flavor.
How many foods can do all that?
About the Author
An advocate for healthy living and preserving the environment, Jeremy Marion works with his family business, Green Virgin Products (www.greenvirginproducts.com), a company that offers a wide variety of nontoxic, eco-friendly products, including moringa, soap nuts, handcrafted bar soap, stainless steel bottles and more.