The tree of life makes slim, beautiful, healthy and is entitled “Plant of the Year”: The next superfood is just waiting to prove what it can do. This time it is the Moringa tree whose leaves and its dried powder are now on everyone’s lips. It should contain over 90 important nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This makes Moringa the most nutrient-rich plant Mother Nature has ever created.
What is really behind this popular nutrient wonder? Which effects and contents are speculations that actually prove conclusively? And what makes Moringa better than other superfoods?
What is Moringa and where does it come from?
Moringa oleifera (also called horseradish tree) is the original name of the Moringa tree, which is native to almost every tropical and subtropical country in the world. Moringa oleifera thrives easily in humid monsoon regions such as India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, as well as in dry areas of Africa such as the Sahara. Especially along the Nile Moringa is widespread.
The combination of dry climate and mineral-rich soils seems to get the tree particularly well, which is why it can develop particularly nutrient-rich in these areas. Since the Moringa tree is very common in the Nile Delta, it was already a popular plant among Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Whether it was already known that the tree has valuable nutrients and can be used as an important source of vitamins and minerals, is not known. During excavations, however, researchers found some branches and leaves of the tree as grave goods, suggesting that even the Egyptians chose the Moringa tree as a special plant.
Indians swear by the healing powers of Moringa
However, more detailed information about the history and popularity of the Moringa tree is known from India. In ancient Ayurvedic scriptures Moringa is very often mentioned and even today the tree of life is very much included in the Ayurvedic therapy.
Ayurvedic therapists today use the Moringa leaves or the powder of the leaves among other things for symptoms such as asthma, flatulence, headache, night blindness, hypertension, inflammation, diabetes, nervousness, rheumatism, infertility or lack of vital nutrients.
In total, the Moringa plant is used in India for the treatment of more than 300 diseases.
What can Moringa do?
The list of good qualities of the Moringa tree is long. Basically, one can say that the Moringa tree is incredibly useful. Because almost everything on and in the tree can be recycled. From its seeds, over bark, roots to its flowers and pods.
Moringa is often referred to as a miracle tree and that has many reasons: its ground seeds, for example, can filter water. Its leaves contain numerous nutrients, some of them in such high concentrations that they should cover the daily requirement of only 10 grams for an adult human.
What sets Moringa apart is its high concentration of important vitamins (including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and K). Moringa contains as many essential minerals as iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. Worth mentioning are also the valuable amino acids and antioxidants in Moringa. Antioxidants are especially effective against oxidative stress in the body’s own cells. Amino acids, on the other hand, are proteins and are meaningful for many processes in the body. For example, they regulate the metabolism in the form of enzymes and it is speculated that they are involved in muscle building and support the structure of the skin and hair.
In addition, Moringa should possess healing powers. Not only in India, but also in other countries of the world Moringa is used in very different clinical pictures to treat them or to provide complaints. And last but not least, the Moringa tree is said to make you beautiful because it has an anti-aging effect.
How healthy is Moringa?
Moringa leaves contain:
• 7 times more vitamin C than oranges
• 4 times more vitamin A than carrots
• 4 times more calcium than milk
• 3 times more potassium than bananas
• More protein than an egg
Although all components of the Moringa tree are very useful, studies show that most of the nutrients are found in the fresh leaves, especially when the tree grows on nutrient-rich soil. For photosynthesis, the Moringa tree converts solar energy and carbon dioxide into new elements. In addition to oxygen, this process produces important nutrients that are mainly deposited in the Moringa leaves.
It is the Moringa leaves that provide our body with all sorts of healthy content. Unfortunately, it is still not easy to enjoy the healthy nutrient diversity of the fresh plants: For up to now, fresh Moringa leaves have only rarely been available in supermarkets in European latitudes. In addition, the Moringa tree in this climate zone is not particularly easy to grow.
What nutrients are in the powder?
An alternative to the hard-to-find leaves is the Moringa powder. The question arises: Can the Moringa powder keep up with the leaves of the Moringa tree or has it no longer earned its reputation as a superfood?
The Moringa powder was analyzed in 1998 by Campden and Corleywood Food Research Association. With the following result:
Moringa powder contains:
• 17 times more calcium than milk
• 15 times more potassium than bananas
• 25 times more iron than spinach
• 7 times more vitamin C than oranges
• 4 times more carotene than in carrots
Powder or fresh leaves, what is better?
Since typically about 10 kilograms of fresh Moringa leaves are used to make one kilogram of Moringa powder, the level of nutrients is still above average. Because the loss of water, which is produced by the drying of the leaves, increases the concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Although the Moringa leaves provide a lot of healthy content, the dried Moringa powder has an undeniable advantage: It is longer lasting!
The conclusion after the comparison between powder and Moringa leaf is: Moringa powder is not in the shade of Moringa leaves. Even in its dried version Moringa stands out the wealth of nutrients, it is easier to obtain and can be stored longer.
Which nutrient covers how much daily requirement?
Whether in fresh or dried form: Moringa is indeed one of the leaders among superfoods to meet our nutritional needs – at least predominantly. Although the nutritional information of the manufacturers differ, it is a fact that Moringa contains many important ingredients that the body needs for a balanced diet. For example, 10 grams of Moringa powder (equivalent to about a normal daily amount) will provide 20 percent of an adult’s daily requirement for calcium, 20 to 30 percent for iron, and 25 to 30 percent for vitamin A.
On the other hand, the daily requirement for potassium, magnesium and vitamin C is slightly lower. Just 1.4 percent of vitamin C can be consumed by 10 grams of Moringa powder, which consumes a conventional amount of it. After all, the demand for magnesium is around 9 percent, that of potassium at 6.5 percent, but it’s still far from enough to meet the daily needs of an adult. However, Moringa is virtually unbeatable when it comes to supplying enough vitamin B2 and vitamin E. Because 10 grams of Moringa cover the daily requirement of vitamin E to 28 to 70 percent and vitamin B2 to 130 percent.
Slimming and long-lasting: The valuable vitamin E in Moringa
Using the alternative Moringa as a source of vitamin E may be especially interesting for those who want to do without or are forced to take high-fat foods. Because often there is a significant amount of vitamin E in foods such as oils or nuts. The Moringa Powder, on the other hand, contains just 2 grams of fat, making it particularly useful for incorporating it into diet plans.
The high content of vitamin E also has another positive aspect, which is less significant for Europeans, but especially in the home countries of Moringa has a high priority: The antioxidant highly effective vitamin E, food can protect from spoiling. For this reason, Moringa is particularly popular among food to extend the shelf life.
Cure diseases with Moringa, what does science say?
It is said that Moringa is a natural antibiotic, an anti-aging master and contains valuable antioxidants. For this reason, it is believed that Moringa can cure ulcers, prevent heart disease, is healthy for the teeth and boosts the metabolism. In addition, it is believed that Moringa has a calming effect on the soul.
Research on Moringa and its healing powers that exist so far sounds very promising. Moringa should help diabetics to regulate blood sugar levels and have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
One thing is certain: Moringa brings with it all kinds of nutrients that the body does not want to do without. Whether or not Moringa can cure many diseases is in fact not proven. The reason is that there are still too few studies that actually prove that Moringa as a medicinal plant which shows very good effects.
Nevertheless, we do not want to deprive you of the first scientific findings on the Moringa plant. A study by the Philippine Information Authority (PIA) found that Moringa is one of the most nutritious plants in the world. Moringa is therefore used for medical purposes in the Philippines. The Food And Nutrition Research Institute in the Philippines has also found that Moringa can lower blood sugar levels.
According to these and other studies, at least Moringa has the potential to fight diseases like diabetes. As a panacea, however, Moringa should not be viewed. For example, whether or not Moringa can actually lower cholesterol levels has not been clearly established, but rather speculated.
How is Moringa eaten?
The fresh leaves can be prepared like spinach, for example in curries or soups. They can also be eaten raw as a salad or side dish of other foods. If you like pasta, you can also mix the Moringa leaves into a green pesto.
The powder can be spread as well at any dish and can be drunk as a tea or mixed in smoothies. The taste of Moringa is described as salty and slightly spicy.
The fruits of the Moringa tree can also be eaten, although they do not have the same high nutrient content as the leaves or the powder. The fruits are similar in shape to the rhubarb stalks, but are not red, but green and colloquially known as “drumstick”. The stems can be cut into small pieces, boiled and then eaten as vegetables. Especially in India, it is customary to add the fruits of Moringas into soups.
What else is there to know about Moringa?
The popular tree was named Plant of the Year in 2008 by the National Institute of Health. In addition to its many healthy properties, Moringa has now been given an important task: The nutrient-rich leaves of the Moringa plant are supposed to stop malnutrition in the Third World.
At least, international organizations such as UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations or the organization “Church World Service” (CWS) have this idea. Already in 1997, the latter started a program to help people in Senegal to combat malnutrition through the Moringa plant. Moringa trees are therefore planted extensively, for example in Egypt, Cuba or Haiti.
In addition, Moringa is becoming more and more popular in industrialized countries and is often exported from poorer countries, which in turn means that sales of these countries are increasing.
Incidentally, there is another useful fact about the superfood Moringa: The ground Moringa seeds are able to filter water and bind bacteria. This means that Moringa can turn polluted water into drinking water.
The entire Moringa plant is also suitable as food for animals. Waste products continue to be used as fertilizer and, in addition, Moringa can be used as biomass for alternative energies.
As it is often the case when it comes to superfoods, the following conclusion can be drawn: Moringa is healthy enough to be included in the diet, but not healthy enough to avoid other important foods. The wealth of vitamin E should definitely be used by the consumer to replenish his vitamin balance. But you should not yet believe, that Moringa definitely heals diseases .