The world is full of superfoods that aren't well understood outside of a small group of aficionados and evangelists. Everything from exotic berries to mushrooms to roots.
One such food is moringa, which you may have heard of as it is gaining some understanding and publicity recently.
But what is moringa and why do people take it?
What Is Moringa
Moringa is a shortened name for moringa oleifera, a tree that is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Southern Asia.
It is also commonly called the drumstick tree, horse radish tree, and ben oil tree.
Despite many wonderful health benefits, which we will get into shortly, it is considered an aggressive invasive species and it grows quite quickly.
Traditional Uses of Moringa
Since moringa has been around and in use for thousands of years, many traditional and folk uses have come about.
Many of these are not legitimate, but it's still worth noting simply to understand the reverence people had for this plant and its properties.
Some of these traditional uses include:
- Pregnancy prevention
- Increase of breast milk production
- Snakebite treatment
- Wart treatment
Moringa Nutritional Facts
Before we get into some of the real health benefits of moringa, let's take a look at the nutritional content of the plant.
One cup of fresh, chopped leaves contains:
- 2 grams protein
- 19% of the RDA of B6
- 12% of the RDA of Vitamin C
- 11% of the RDA of Iron
- 8% of the RDA of Magnesium
All in all that's pretty damn good for a plant you've probably never heard of!
Why Do People Take Moringa?
In the West, most people do not eat moringa, but take it as a dietary supplement either in powder or capsule form.
The reasons are pretty numerous:
- Moringa is high in anti-oxidants
- It may help lower blood sugar levels
- It may help fight inflammation
- It can help lower cholesterol
- It may protect against arsenic toxicity
All in all, moringa offers a host of benefits and potential benefits without nasty side effects. As an easy add on to your diet, it's a low-cost way to stack the deck in your favor.
How to Take Moringa
Some people just prefer to down a few capsules per day, which is totally fine if that is what you prefer.
My preference is to get the powder form and mix it in to vegetable and fruit smoothies. It's very difficult to taste any difference when consuming it in this way, and since I'm going to make a smoothie anyway, I like a few add-ins for the nutritional boost.
Moringa is worth exploring for just about everyone. Next time you're in Whole Foods or whatever, take a walk by the aisle and give it a once over.