For thousands of years, humans have praised Moringa oleifera as a plant with a lot of health benefits. Today, moringa is becoming more and more popular as a superfood because of this exceptional nutritional profile. The tree is also known as the ben tree, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or malunggay, and is popular throughout the world. The small tree is actually originated in southern parts of Asia like Pakistan, India, and Nepal and has been a part of traditional culinary and medicines in these countries and other areas in Asia.
Moringa has been popular for its beneficial leaf, although most parts of the plants, including the flowers, roots, bark, pods, fruits, and seeds are also highly nutritious and edible. The drought-resistant and fast-growing tree are now widely cultivated in many tropical and subtropical areas, aside from growing wildly in the forest of these areas without much cultivation. However, the plant is also available in capsules, pills, or powder as asupplement in western countries because many people believe that the plant is very powerful in boosting multiple aspects of human’s health.
But why is moringa becoming more and more popular? Is it just another superfood fad or are the health benefits actually worth the trend? Here are 15 reasons of why people are really into the plant as a healthy food.
1. Reduces Inflammation
When you suffer from an injury or infection, your body will naturally respond with an inflammation. It is an essential and important natural protective mechanism of your body. However, when that response happens for a long period, it may cause some major health concerns. Sustained inflammation, like what your body experiences when you are under stress, may be a risk factor that contributes many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart diseases. Fortunately, there are many foods that possess anti-inflammatory properties to help you fight off sustained inflammation, especially vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Moringa is one of the plants that can deliver this effect. Its leaves, seeds, and pods have all shown potent anti-inflammatory properties. This is possibly due to its isothiocyanates content. The active plant compound fights inflammation and soothes the cells. While most of the studies on the effect were conducted on animals and test tube, Moringa oleifera has also been traditionally used by humans to fight inflammation, like to treat gout, rheumatism, or arthritis. Some active compounds like benzyl isothiocyanate reduce the inflammatory markers that are produced in the gene expression, reducing the pain and speeding up the healing.
2. A Rich Source of Antioxidants
It’s not only important protein and other macronutrients that you can get by consuming moringa regularly but also antioxidants. Antioxidants are important compounds that actively fight against and neutralize the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are actually inevitable byproducts of metabolism, but the high levels of free radicals are dangerous. It can trigger an oxidative stress that can result in chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart diseases. Because of this, antioxidants are severely needed to combat the effects of free radicals.
Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants that you can get by consuming moringa. Vitamin C terminates the chain reaction of free radicals that can lead to the damage of cells. It is a very potent water-soluble free radical. Besides vitamin C, moringa also contains beta-carotene, which is like all other carotenoids, also play an important role as an antioxidant.
Moreover, there are other plant compounds found in moringa that can be categorized as antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Quercetin is a very powerful antioxidant that can reduce your blood pressure. Meanwhile, chlorogenic acid is important to ease diabetes because it can help regulate the level of blood sugar after you have a meal.
According to a study, women who had a daily consumption of 1,5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder for three months experienced an increase in the levels of blood antioxidants. The rise of the blood antioxidant levels is considered significant that the scientists recommend an adoption of similar consumption to prevent free radicals-related diseases.
The antioxidant quality of moringa is even commonly used to preserve foods. It increases meat’s shelf life so it can be consumed for a longer time by reducing the oxidation process in the meat.
3. Helps The Treatment of Diabetes
A high level of blood sugar should be a concern because it may lead to a serious health condition. In fact, high level of blood sugar is the primary characteristic of diabetes. When the condition happens for a prolonged time, it will lead to a number of serious problems, including heart diseases. Because of this, it is necessary to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar. Fortunately, Moringa oliferia can probably be a savior for people who suffer from diabetes as it has the ability to decrease the level of blood sugar.
Moringa works by normalizing the level of lipid and glucose aside from regulating the oxidative stress in diabetic people. Drinking moringa leaves tea regularly will improve the index of impaired glucose tolerance from 4.1% to 8.1%. An improved IGT is a sign of lowered blood sugar level.
More studies are still needed in this area as most claims concerning the effectiveness of moringa in reducing blood sugar level is based on animal experiments. A few human studies have been conducted on this matter, but they are generally perceived as of low quality. For example, there was a study with only 30 female participants who took seven grams of the extract of moringa leaf every day. In three months, the researchers observed the decrease of blood sugar by at least 13, 5%. There was also a study with a smaller population sample where six diabetic patients took an additional 50 grams of moringa leaves to their daily diet. The study saw the reduction of blood sugar by around 21%.
4. Is Incredibly Nutritious
Moringa oleifera is a very popular plant to consume as vegetable and herb in Asia and Africa. Almost all parts of the tree can be eaten as traditional herbal medicines ingredients. The leaves are especially very popular for consumption as it contains a significant amount of proteins and minerals. A serving of 21 grams chopped moringa leaves contains 2 grams of protein, 19% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, 12% of vitamin C, 11% of both riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron, 9% of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and 8% of magnesium. Although mostly grow in Asian and African countries, the leaves can be found in the Western countries in the form of powder or capsule dietary supplements because of these nutrients.
Besides the leaves, the pods are the most common part of the plants that are popular for consumption. However, the nutritional content is not as rich as the leaves. But despite its lower content of general vitamins and minerals, moringa pods are one of the best sources of vitamin C. Just a serving of 100 grams of the sliced pods will give your body around 157% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Because of this incredibly rich nutritional content, moringa is a common source of vitamins and minerals in the developing nations where many of these trees grow. In these countries, a significant part of the population adopts a diet lacking minerals, protein, and vitamin. Moringa oleifera can provide a nutritional boost for these people. Moringa is best consumed as vegetables, rather than capsules or powder, which is the way most people in these countries consume the plant.
5. Lowers Cholesterol Level
6. Protects Against Arsenic Contamination
In many parts of the world, arsenic contaminates the running water and harvest which may lead to arsenic toxicity in foods and drinking water. If you live in such area, the rice that you consume every day may be particularly high in arsenic content and it is a dangerous phenomenon. The symptoms of arsenic contamination don’t appear right away after the consumption, but the long-term exposure is detrimental to your health. Over time, the arsenic that is stacked in the body will increase the risk of chronic and potentially fatal problems, including heart disease and cancer.
The good news is that moringa may have a protective effect against the effects of arsenic contamination. Several studies have been conducted on rats and mice that demonstrated the effect of moringa in reducing the symptoms of arsenic toxicity. The ability to fight inflammation reduces the risk of potential chronic illness caused by arsenic toxicity. More studies are still needed in the area, especially in humans, but based on the available evidence, the signs are promising.
7. Treats Malnutrition in Nursing Mothers
In developing countries where nutrients aren’t abundant and access to modern health facilities and supplements is limited, there are a lot of cases of malnutrition. Nursing mothers are among the people that need sufficient amount of nutrient the most. To breastfeed the babies, the mothers need to have an enriched intake of various macronutrients and micronutrients. In countries where access to nursing supplements is not abundant, moringa leaves are traditionally used to replace the nutritional need of nursing mothers. Many mothers choose this method because a serving of this tea contains around 7 times of vitamin C than it is in an orange. Besides, it also contains a lot of calcium, protein, and potassium. By simply brewing the leaves and drinking the tea, the mothers can get the nutritional benefits of moringa.
The leaves of moringa also possess an ability to stimulate sexual expressions because of its aphrodisiac nature. One of the most prominent sexual expressions in females is the improve of hormonal production that works in the breast. Because of this, moringa can also be used to aid milk production for mothers who are nursing the baby. The milk will flow better and the baby can avoid malnutrition because moringa supplies the mother with important nutrients she needs.
8. Has Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
Moringa contains an active plant compound called isothiocyanate which exhibits strong antibacterial properties. This makes the plant a very potent herbal remedy to fight and prevent infection. Besides, it also has pterysgodpermin that has strongly displayed anti-microbial characteristics. The antibacterial and antifungal properties were first studied in the late 1940s. Since then, people have been using the leaves to replace antibiotic medicines or over the counter medicines to treat wounds. People can take benefits of the leaves by simply applying the extract topically on a fresh wound. The crushed or fresh leaves of moringa will accelerate the healing process of the wound.
9. Treats Cancer
One of the benefits of antioxidant properties in moringa is the ability to fight cancer. Cancer is one of the most common and dangerous diseases that always takes a high death toll every year. It happens around the world and there haven’t been any single effective methods to treat cancer. The best treatment is cancer is actually prevention. Prevention can be done by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Antioxidants are the active compounds that can suppress the activity of free radicals and stabilize the molecules. Because of this, the free radicals can’t react and form cancerous cells. This makes moringa the perfect herb to prevent skin cancer, breast cancer, tumor, and prostate cancer.
10. Boosts Reproductive Functions
The leaves of moringa can be used as the power boost for reproductive functions. Moringa contains substances that can have a stimulating effect that can boost sexual drive. The aphrodisiac nature of the leaves improves libido and enhances sex drive for both men and women. This is good for people with a lack of sex drive or difficulties to get simulated.
But aside from the sexually stimulating effect on people, moringa can also enhance sexual performance so if you and your partner take it before sex, you and your partner can last longer in bed
Moreover, moringa also improves fertility. The hormonal boost that is beneficial for sexual purposes also enhances the reproductive function of men. Consuming moringa leaf tea regularly will improve sperm count and make a man more fertile. The plants are good to consume by partners who want to have babies.
11. Strengthens Immunity
Moringa’s antioxidant properties make the plant the best boost for the immune system. Its high vitamin C content makes it the best herb to promote better white cells production that defends the body from dangerous microbes.
In addition, there’s also an antibacterial element of moringa which makes the plant an effective herbal treatment for bacterial infections. Contagious diseases won’t get to you easily if you regularly consume moringa or moringa supplement. Since it’s very high-packed in important nutrients, the benefits of consuming moringa regularly can even be bigger than taking an over-the-counter supplement.
12. Induces Sound Sleep
There are multiple causes to why sleep difficulties may occur, but the most commonly found factors are anxiety and stress. The modern life has given us many things, even the unthinkable, but it also comes with stressful and hectic routines that can increase stress and anxiety level. Moringa may help us relax. Boiling the leaves with water and drinking the tea after a day of stressful office life will make your evening more serene. It eases anxiety and nervousness and promotes calmness and peace of mind. This soothing effect will make you sleep easily. Moringa also has anti-spasmodic properties that prevent anxiety from attacking you when you sleep, causing sleep restlessness. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel more energized, fresh, and with a clear mind.
13. Cures Common Cold
Cold, fever, and along with other flu symptoms that come when the season gets bad in the year are not likely life-threatening, but they are inconvenient and may affect our productivity and ability to function normally in the daily life. When this happens, the doctors will you usually prescribe you some antibiotics and other pain-relieving medicines to get rid of the diseases and ease the symptoms. But you can treat a common cold at home without having to resort to over-the-counter or prescribed medicines.
Moringa is a common folk remedy for cold. The vitamin C boosts your immune system and makes it difficult for contagious diseases to break into your body’s defense system. Moreover, it also has antimicrobial properties that will fight and eradicate the virus that causes the disease. You can use the leaves or the roots to make a homemade herbal drink and drink it whenever you start feeling unwell then get a proper rest. The symptoms will be alleviated quickly, including fever and moderate to a severe headache, because of the anti-inflammatory properties.
14. Aids Weight Loss
The most important thing to ensure when you want to always be in the perfect shape is having the right metabolism. Slow metabolism makes it difficult for your calories and fat to burn because the body doesn’t turn them into energy as quick as your food intake. If you are trying to lose some weight, you need to consume foods that will help accelerate your metabolism. Moringa should be perfect for this. Drink a cup of moringa leaf tea before every meal and you will jumpstart your metabolism. The tea isn’t only rich in important nutrients, it also helps your body burn the calories faster. Moreover, the high fiber content that is present in the plant also means that you can drink or eat the leaves as vegetables to make you feel full longer without the extra calories. Moringa’s ability to improve satiety suppresses your hunger and craving so you won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy snacks during your weight loss program. The dietary fiber will also aid your digestion and make you become more regular with the bowel movement.
15. Boosts Liver Health
Your liver is an important part of your body which keeps you alive and healthy because of its multiple important functions. Your liver helps you process the nutrients you consume, detoxify your blood, and metabolize fructose. When the liver system is disrupted, your body cannot function properly so there are things that your body can’t digest or it will become toxic. To function well, the liver needs to work with liver enzymes. To ensure that your liver enzymes stay at their normal levels, you can drink moringa tea regularly.
Moringa will also protect your liver by multiple other ways, such as reducing the oxidative stress and inflammation and increasing the protein content. The polyphenol compounds will also reduce the damage caused by free radicals to your liver.