Undeniably a super superfood, Moringa has been bestowed the numero uno position by health freaks
Recently Moringa has catapulted to fame owing to its nutrient dense superfood qualities. It seems like wherever you go these days (especially those easy, socially distanced weekends with friends), the little packet of moringa powder is whipped out as an accoutrement to every meal.
Back home, I decided to delve into some sleuthing and uncover the miracle powers that the plant is beholden to. I also wanted to understand why people will pack it on a holiday because they just can’t get enough of it.
Here’s what I found:
Moringa Oleifera is a plant native to India. Moringa obtains its name from the Tamil word, murungai, which denotes twisted pod. Also known as the Horseradish Tree (or just a Radish Tree), Drumstick Tree, the West Indian Ben, Mother’s Best Friend, and the Miracle Tree.
Nutritionally, Moringa leaves contain 46 antioxidant properties, 36 anti-inflammatory agents, and 10 out of 13 vitamins your body needs. I could end the article right here as this sentence in itself captures the immense goodness that this plant offers, but it’s worth your time and well- being to read on and peel off the layers of its goodness:
Moringa leaves can be boiled and used just like spinach. They can also be dried and crushed into a powder to sprinkle over foods. In fact, the powdered leaves are the richest source of nutrition, an incredible source of essential vitamins such as Vitamin B complex, C, K and beta carotene. Imbued with a rich array of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and magnesium and a good amount of protein and dietary fibre, moringa leaves are a powerhouse of antioxidants like quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Moreover, moringa leaves supplement are well-known to enhance blood antioxidant levels, help in fat loss, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels amongst other benefits.
Immature Pods – Immature pods can be eaten either cut up or whole. They’re relatively easy to cut and used in cooking dishes at home. In the international market, these are often sold in cans.
Mature pods – or fresh pods aka drumsticks or shevaga in Marathi, shajan in Hindi, murungai in Tamil, muringnga in Malayalam and munagakaya in Telugu are a great source of oleic acid, a healthy fatty acid which is known to promote heart health. These are used in vegetables, curries, pickles etc.
The flowers can be eaten as a cooked vegetable or steeped in hot water for a moringa infused tea. It helps soothe colds, plus contains vital amino acids, which are excellent sources of calcium and potassium, making them a valuable supplement for nursing mothers.
Moringa seeds are high in Vitamin B, C and other minerals. They are found in the immature pods and should be boiled before eating, although they can also be fried and taste like peanuts. The oil is extracted from the seeds which is excellent for skin and hair.
That’s why it’s considered the superfood of the superfoods! In fact, the moringa tree is aptly described as a “supermarket on a trunk” because every part of the plant is edible and useful!
Some benefits of Moringa Oleifera include:
Regular addition of drumstick in the diet also reinstate bone density in older people and easing the symptoms of osteoporosis. Potent anti-inflammatory properties of drumstick are beneficial in treating conditions like arthritis
Augments the Immune System
High on Vitamin C and antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial it helps to combat against common cold, flu, as well as asthma, cough, wheezing and other respiratory problems.
TIP: For relief from cough and throat aches, relish drumstick soup (I add some dudhi or white pumpkin), with fresh pepper to bolster the immune system and keep diseases at bay.
Promotes Gut Health
Essential B vitamins like thiamine riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B12 play a crucial role in stimulating the secretion of digestive juices and helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. The fibre in drumsticks regularise bowel movement and maintains gut health.
The goodness of bioactive compounds prevents thickening of the arteries and lessens the chance of developing high blood pressure. The rich antioxidant profile in moringa improves the circulation of blood and nutrients to the heart thus regulating hypertension.
Loaded with essential minerals, vitamins and fibre, which significantly helps lower blood sugar spikes.
Regular addition of moringa in your diet may help in reducing the development of stones in the kidney and bladder. The presence of a good number of antioxidants might help in clearing the toxins from the kidneys.
Reduced Cancer Risk
The abundance of antioxidants, Vitamin A, C, beta-carotene and niamicin help in fighting free radicals in the body and averts oxidative damage to cells.
Improves Liver Health
The hepatoprotective function of moringa shield the liver from harmful toxins. It stimulates the production of glutathione – the detox antioxidants known to fight off free radicals that increase the stress to the liver.
Edema is a condition where fluid builds up in specific tissues in the body and it is painful. The natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of drumstick can lessen the swelling, modulate the immune response and avert further water retention.
The potent anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa are efficient in battling infections caused by E. coli, salmonella etc. Its superior anti-bacterial profile is beneficial in preventing infections of the throat, chest and skin.
Other benefits that moringa bestows, are good vision, glowing skin, healthy hair and strong nails. It’s no wonder my bhajiwala has stopped stocking kale!
Note: Anyone considering using moringa as a supplement is advised to discuss it with their doctor first.