If you're interested in natural supplements, you've probably heard of moringa and its potential health benefits. It is said to help reduce high blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. It is also associated with strengthening defenses and obtaining energy.
But what is moringa? What are its properties? How is it taken? Here we offer you all the keys to know it thoroughly.
What is it?
Moringa oleifera is a tree native to northern India whose health benefits were discovered thousands of years ago. It is widely cultivated in Africa and South Asia. In South and Central America it is also possible to find many moringa plantations.
This tree performs extremely well in very hot and dry areas, conditions where it is very difficult to cultivate. One of the reasons is that it is capable of storing a large amount of water in the root and trunk.
With a maximum height of 12 meters, practically all parts of this tree are used, either as a food or as an ingredient in traditional remedies. Even parts such as the root and trunk are used. The roots can be used to make tea, while a juice is extracted from the trunk that is applied to the skin to cure all kinds of skin conditions.
Today, many of the warmer regions of the world use it due to its unusual nutritional properties, which are considered to help meet many basic needs. In fact, many people refer to it as a "miracle tree".
While most plants are known for one particular nutrient, moringa it is characterized by containing a great variety of nutrients. Its vitamins and minerals have been found in fairly high amounts and in beneficial combinations.
Its leaves are rich in vitamins. They contain a lot of vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, as well as protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, and magnesium. However, it appears that this part of the tree may also contain high levels of antinutrients.
Its antioxidant content can protect cells and prevent cancer. A property to take into account, since the diet of many people does not include a sufficient amount of antioxidant substances due to the abuse of processed foods.
Moringa leaves are highly valued for their supply of vegetable proteins. Along with soybeans and some others, it is among the few plants rich in protein. But apparently, unlike the first, its proteins are easily assimilated. For this reason, it can be a good alternative for people who are intolerant or allergic to soy.
The seeds contain an oil that can be used in cooking and as a cosmetic. Once pressed, they are used to purify water, a very useful property in developing countries where clean water can be difficult to obtain.
The pods are richer in vitamin C than the leaves (One cup far exceeds the recommended daily allowance for this nutrient). Instead they are lower in vitamins and minerals in general.
18 of the 20 amino acids have been found in moringa. It is also one of the few plants that contain the nine essential amino acids, which are those that must be obtained through food because the body is not capable of producing them.
Bioavailability of nutrients
Note that more studies are needed to determine the bioavailability of all nutrients present in moringa. However, it has a great endorsement in this regard, and it is how well it has been working for decades in developing countries to treat and prevent malnutrition.
How to drink
Moringa is mostly considered an ethnic food. In certain areas of India and Africa its leaves and pods are eaten. In developing countries its leaves are beneficial for people who have a lack of essential nutrients. Infusions and essential oils are prepared with other parts of the tree.
Step by step, moringa is reaching the mainstream. Moringa leaves are sold as a dietary supplement in western countries, either in powder or capsules. The leaves are ground to a green powder. This is the best way to conserve all your nutrients. You can find these supplements in health food stores.
Taking moringa oleifera supplements will not provide a large amount of nutrients compared to a balanced diet based on fresh foods. However, due to its high concentration of nutrients, if combined with a low-calorie and low-sodium diet, it is believed that moringa can help strengthen people's health. In short, it can be an interesting support.