THE SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF MORINGA
Many consumers are looking to improve their wellness with all-natural products. Moringa is a tropical plant native1 to India that’s highly resilient and very nutritious. All parts of the tiny flowering tree are beneficial. But the most-used components are the seeds, leaves, and stems.
The plant has a long history of medicinal and nutritional use, with stories of kings2, queens, and brave soldiers using it for various reasons. Indians have been using it for over 5,000 years.
Manufacturers ground the plant parts into a fine powder consumed by people across the world. Its rich nutritious content is used to feed children suffering from malnutrition in many African countries, including Senegal and Benin. Nine moringa species3 grow across several African countries. Moringa can also be grown as a microgreen as an optimal healing remedy.
Nutritious Value of Moringa
The most significant moringa benefit is its nutrient count. According to the USDA Food Data Central4, one cup of fresh, chopped leaves contains:
- 2 grams of protein
- 8% of magnesium (RDA)
- 11% iron (RDA)
- 11% riboflavin (B2)
- 19% vitamin B6 (RDA)
- 12% vitamin C (RDA)
- 9% Vitamin A (Beta-carotene RDA)
To put this in more perspective, research shows5,
- Seven times more vitamin C than oranges
- 17 times more calcium than milk
- Ten times more vitamin A than carrots
- 15 times more potassium than bananas
- Nine times more protein than yogurt
- 25 times more iron than spinach
These numbers can vary by species.
Glucosinolates in Moringa
Glucosinolates are a class of sulfur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Examples of cruciferous vegetables include Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprout, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Kohlrabi. Moringa oleifera has several members of glucosinolates that are not found anywhere else. The most concentrated glucosinolate found in Moringa oleifera is known as glucomoringin (GMG), which has antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits.
Moringa and All Essential Amino Acids
According to research and basic science, 20 basic amino acids make proteins in your body and 9 of the 20 are essential for your body. Research14 found that this plant contains 19 of the 20 amino acids (more amino acids than eggs (18) and beef(18)) and all of the 9 essential amino acids. It also contains beneficial fatty acids, beta-carotene, phenolics, zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, kaempferol, flavonoids, and isothiocyanates. Moringa has been shown to prevent and treat inflammatory diseases, neuro-dysfunctional diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
The health benefits of the 9 Essential Amino Acids
The following are the 9 essential amino acids and their health benefits:
Isoleucine15 — Helps stabilize your blood sugar and is required, along with leucine and valine, for muscle synthesis, repair, energy, and endurance.
Leucine16 — Helps lower blood sugar that is elevated and triggers the production of growth hormone. Along with isoleucine and valine, leucine promotes the growth of muscle, bone, and skin.
Valine17 — Helps maintain muscle metabolism and nitrogen balance. It’s also used in tissue repair and energy production.
Lysine18 — Is needed in the production of hormones, collagen, enzymes, and antibodies. It also helps combat viruses and plays a role in calcium assimilation and protein construction in bones and muscles.
Methionine19 — Is converted into cysteine and vice versa, based on the needs of your body. It’s also a primary source of sulfur in your body, which is required for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Tryptophan20 — Helps with the production of niacin (vitamin B3), which is required for serotonin and melatonin production.
Phenylalanine21 — Plays a significant role in memory formation and nervous system function, and helps reduce inflammation.
Threonine22,23 — Is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system, central nervous system, immune system, and liver function. It also plays an important role in the digestion of fats, and promotes healthy collagen, muscle tissue, skin, and bones.
Histidine24 — This is required for red and white blood cell production, and aids in tissue repair. Importantly, histidine helps protect your nerves by maintaining the myelin sheath around them.
Moringa Antioxidant Benefits
Moringa has antioxidant properties, which means it can fight free radical6 damage. Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage cells that lead to illness and aging. Studies have connected the particles to several conditions, including:
- Inflammatory diseases
- Memory-related disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Genetic degenerative diseases
Lower Blood Sugar Levels with Moringa
Another potential benefit related to diabetes is it may help lower your blood sugar levels. Experts believe the isothiocyanates7 in the plant help reduce levels naturally. Always combine herbal supplements with healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.
Reduce Inflammation with Moringa
Inflammation commonly occurs when you overuse your joints and muscles and as part of the aging process. It’s also your body’s response to infections. Along with the moringa antioxidant benefit, it may also reduce inflammation8 and ease sore muscles.
Moringa Benefits: Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a common problem that can increase heart disease. Moringa may lower cholesterol9 and help keep your risk of cardiovascular conditions low. Scientists have found evidence of these benefits in human and animal studies.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, author of The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook, told Prevention Magazine in April 201910,
“Moringa has been used in folk medicine for many years. Proponents claim that moringa can help with diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.”
Protect Your Liver with Moringa
Studies are available that show moringa may protect you from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease11.
Fatty liver disease is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Common symptoms include fatigue and pain in the upper right abdominal area. The disease has several risk12 factors, including:
- Insulin resistance
- High blood sugar
- High-fat diet
Fatty liver disease can lead to liver cancer and liver failure. A study involving rats showed it helped by recovering liver enzyme activities13.
How to Use Moringa
There are several ways to get benefits from this amazing plant. It has a mild, tea-like taste that won’t change the flavor of most foods. You can add the powder to nearly anything, such as,
You may also find it available as a capsule.
Always talk to your primary care physician before adding any herbal supplements to your daily routine.
5 Benefits of Drinking Moringa Tea
Drinking Moringa tea has many benefits. Here are a few of those benefits:
Control blood sugar — Research shows that this moringa tea could reduce blood sugar by up to 29.9% in normal subjects, up to 32.8% in mildly diabetic subjects, and 69.2% in severely diabetic subjects.
Supports cardiovascular health— Research shows that this plant helps normalize elevated levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in diabetic subjects. It may also help reduce the formation of plaques in the blood vessels.
Anticancer effects — It has a cytotoxic effect on breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
Supports Brain health —Some researchers say that this plant can help alleviate the effects of homocysteine on the brain in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and mitigated age-related dementia.
Prevents chronic disease — The Moringa tea is rich in phytochemicals, including tannins, saponin, and polyphenols. These compounds help the body resist the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), high blood pressure, cancer, and overall inflammation in the body.
It is important to remember that certain plants are bioactive and may interfere with medications or other supplements you’re taking. The leaves are considered generally to be safe and edible. However, there is slight controversy about the roots and stems, and as a result, it is generally recommended that you consult your primary care physician before introducing Moringa into your diet if you take other medications and/or supplements.
Moringa Is a very nutritious plant that’s easy to use and grow, if you live a growing zone. It also has other potential benefits, such as protecting the liver, reducing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol levels, and relieving inflammation, and many, many more. A few spoonfuls in your morning juice or nightly tea can be beneficial to your wellness plan.