Moringa earned the name "miracle tree" because it's packed with essential nutrients and medicinal properties to keep you healthy. It's certainty a live-saver in remote parts of the world because its seeds help purify dirty drinking water. The leaves are useful too, providing important protein, vitamins and phytochemicals. You'll mostly find moringa in powder form in the U.S., so try adding it to your smoothies, soups, casseroles and stews as a supplement. If you want to eat raw leaves, you'll have to move to a tropical climate where the trees grow.
If you're tired of the same old protein powder shakes, try moringa leaves in a smoothie instead -- moringa provides all nine essential amino acids. You'll also get vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, calcium and potassium from moringa. These keep your bones, skin, teeth, muscles and immune system healthy. After hitting the gym, moringa can help your muscles recover quickly from a tough workout and may prevent injuries and reduce inflammation. Moringa was called an "ideal dietary supplement" by writers of scientific study published in the journal "Phytotherapy Research."
Boosting Your Immune System
If you're worried about catching a cold or feel your immune system needs a boost, moringa provides vitamin C and can help fight off bacterial and fungal infections. The journal "Ancient Science of Life" published research showing that moringa leaves have a powerful effect against bacteria responsible for staphylococcus and E. coli infections. Moringa's antifungal abilities also combat annoying yeast infections and athlete's foot. The combination of vitamin C and iron is especially helpful for new cell growth needed to heal wounds and repair broken bones.
Not only are the leaves of the morgina tree useful, the seeds, flowers and stems all have powerful antioxidant activity thanks to their phytochemicals. Flavonoids, carotenoids and tocopherols help prevent cancer and diabetes, and reduce inflammation in your body. A study published in the "Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention" in 2003 found that moringa slows cancer tumor growth. As an added bonus, your skin may have fewer wrinkles because of the anti-aging power of its phytochemicals.
Preventing Heart Disease
Taking moringa may ease your mind about heart disease. It has a slight diuretic effect, which helps to reduce water retention -- preventing bloating and even lowering blood pressure. Supplementing with moringa also helps you control both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Obese people who ate high-fat diets had lower cholesterol levels after being given moringa supplements, according to the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology." Lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels all mean less risk of heart disease for you.
- Phytotherapy Research: Moringa Oleifera: A Food Plant With Multiple Medicinal Uses
- Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: Chemomodulary Effect of Moringa Oleifera, Lam, on Hepatic Carcinogen Metabolizing Enzymes, Antioxidant Parameters and Skin Papillomagenesis in Mice
- Phytotherapy Research: Hypoglycemic Effect of Moringa Stenopetala Aqueaous Extract in Rabbits
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Hypocholesterolemic Effects of Crude Extract of Leaf of Moringa Oleifera Lam in High-Fat Diet Fed Wistar Rats
- Ancient Science of Life: Antimicrobial Action of the Leaf Extract of Moringa Oleifera Lam
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Experiemental Assessment of Moringa Oleifera Leaf and Fruit for Its Antistress, Antioxidant, and Scavenging Potential Using In Vitro and In Vivo Assays
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.