Also called drumstick tree, horseradish tree, Moringa is an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
Moringa also called drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree or benzoil tree is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas.
Almost all parts of the tree are eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicines.
Moringa leaves are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) contains:
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDA
In Western countries, the dried leaves are sold as dietary supplements, either in powder or capsule form. Compared to the leaves, the pods are generally lower in vitamins and minerals. However, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. One cup of fresh, sliced pods (100 grams) contains 157% of your daily requirement.
The diet of people in developing nations sometimes lacks vitamins, minerals and protein. In these countries, Moringa oleifera can be an important source of many essential nutrients.
Moringa benefits are:
- Very Nutritious
- Rich in Antioxidants
- May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
- May Reduce Inflammation
- Can Lower Cholesterol
- May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity
Antioxidants are compounds that act against free radicals in your body.
In addition to vitamin C and beta-carotene, these include Quercetin which is a powerful antioxidant may help lower blood pressure and Chlorogenic acid, also found in high amounts in coffee, which may help moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
One study in women found that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood antioxidant levels.
However, there is one downside, Moringa leaves may also contain high levels of antinutrients, which can reduce the absorption of minerals and protein.
The results suggest that Moringa leaf meal can be used to substitute up to 10% of dietary protein in Nile tilapia fish without significant reduction in growth. Diets with higher inclusion levels of moringa leaves significantly depressed growth performance on the fish tested.