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Moringa health benefits

moringa health benefits
This nutrient-rich plant is known for its health benefits. Discover more about what moringa is, the various health benefits and the potential risks as well

Are you wondering what’s the health benefit of moringa tea? Could it really be the new matcha? Does it have what it takes to rival turmeric on the inflammation-fighting front? Read on to find out why you might be tempted to sprinkle a pinch of moringa powder into your morning smoothie.

What is moringa?

Moringa goes by many names. You might have heard it called a drumstick tree, horseradish tree or even a ben oil tree. Its full name is moringa oleifera, but you’ll most commonly hear it referred to as ‘moringa’.

Moringa is a plant that’s native to North India. Most of the plant is edible, although it’s the leaves that are usually considered most nutritious. We typically see moringa in powdered form or added to supplements. You can also buy moringa tea and dried (or fresh) moringa leaves at some health shops. Moringa oil is another alternative.

Moringa leaves benefits

Of all the parts of the tree, the moringa leaf offers the most concentrated dose of vitamins and minerals. These leaves are usually crushed to make a powder which you can add to your smoothies, sprinkle into your energy bars or drink as moringa tea. The dried leaves are also available as dietary supplements, in powder or capsule form.

Moringa seeds benefits

The seeds don’t offer the same density of nutrients as the leaves, and consequently don’t offer the full range of benefits of moringa. But the moringa seeds’ benefits shouldn’t be overlooked.

In particular, the seeds have a healthy oil content that can be extracted and used in many ways. For example, as a cooking oil it’s a source of monounsaturated fat (a heart-healthy variety), that also provides protein and a variety of other nutritional compounds. Alternatively, as an essential oil, it’s often found as a nourishing ingredient in hair and skincare products.

Summary

  • Moringa oleifera is known for being one of the most nutrient-rich plants
  • Technically, all parts of this tree are edible, but it’s the leaves that offer the most powerful moringa benefits
  • The leaves are often crushed to form a powder or dried to serve as a moringa tea
  • A nourishing oil can also be extracted from the seeds

Moringa benefits for hair

Nutrients aside, the beauty world also swears by moringa oil as a hair care product. 

What are the benefits of moringa?

Well, for a start, did you know it provides seven times more vitamin C than oranges?1 And that’s just one of the impressive nutrient qualities of this plant. Moringa is often dubbed the world’s most useful tree, and it’s easy to see why.

Moringa includes:2

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E
  • Minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper
  • Folic acid, pyridoxine and nicotinic acid
  • Fibre

This varied catalogue of moringa nutrients is behind the diverse range of health benefits connected to the moringa plant – from supporting immunity to adding radiance to your skin.

11 benefits of moringa

What is moringa tea good for? And can a scoop of moringa powder really make a difference to your wellness? More research is needed to identify precisely how this plant can help with human health and wellbeing – a lot of the evidence at the moment is based on animal studies or is anecdotal.

However, the following 11 moringa benefits for health are good indications of the wellness potential of this plant.

  1. A rich source of multiple vitamins and minerals

Many superfoods standout because of high content of a single hero nutrient. This is not the case with moringa.

As well as being a plentiful source of vitamin C, it also gives you 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas, and 25 times more iron than spinach.3

  1. Antioxidant power

Like many other superfoods, moringa also contains a plentiful supply of antioxidants.

In fact, one study detected a significant increase in the antioxidant levels in the blood of participants consuming 1½ teaspoons of moringa powder every day for three months.4 

A diet rich in antioxidants helps to prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress.

  1. Convenient source of plant-derived protein

If you’re vegetarian, following a vegan diet or maybe you’re simply trying to eat less meat, moringa is a great source of plant-based protein.

And unlike other non-meat protein sources, (we’re thinking of lentils) it requires no cooking or preparation.

  1. Balancing influence on hormones

Like other dark leafy greens, moringa can provide support to the endocrine system, helping to regulate hormones.

For example, a 2014 study suggested the antioxidant properties in moringa (in this case when combined with amaranth) could help to prevent complications caused by hormonal changes in post-menopausal women.5

  1. May help lower the effect of inflammation

The moringa fruit possesses properties that could help reduce out-of-control inflammation. And although these inflammation-fighting claims are yet to be the subject of human trials, animal and test tube studies show positive potential.6

Handpicked contentA guide to natural anti-inflammatory sources

  1. A helping hand with lowering cholesterol

Moringa could contribute to healthy cardiovascular function by reducing elevated levels of cholesterol. For example, a 2007 study on rabbits indicated that moringa helped to lower cholesterol.

  1. Stabilising blood sugar

There are many health risks associated with raised blood sugar. Research suggests the plant compounds in moringa could help to balance blood sugar levels.8

  1. Liver health

The polyphenols in moringa may be helpful in reversing oxidation in the liver.9 There are studies on rats that show promising prospects of the positive impact moringa on the recovery from liver damage.10,11

  1. A positive influence on gut health and digestion

With fibre representing just over 30% of the nutritional make-up of moringa, it’s no surprise that it’s often consumed to help with digestion.12 Research also shows potential benefits in reducing disorders of the gut, such as colitis.13

  1. Potential for moringa weight loss benefits

Can moringa powder help you to lose weight? Animal studies suggest it can help with breaking down fats and reducing fat accumulation.14 However, whether these moringa weight loss effects translate to humans is yet to be scientifically investigated.

  1. Moringa benefits skin in a number of ways

Moringa contains a good supply of three skin-nourishing ingredients. Vitamin A for collagen renewal. Vitamin C for radiance and fighting the signs of ageing. And vitamin E offers up a moisture injection and skin-clearing antioxidants.

Summary

  • Moringa offers a rich dose of a range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • As well as addressing nutritional deficiencies, it also offers a number of wellness benefits – from supporting healthy heart function to regulating blood sugar and balancing hormones
  • More scientific study will help with fully understanding the action of moringa

How can you use moringa?

Moringa has a mild, slightly bitter, flavour that complements sweet or savoury dishes.

If you’re keen to try out moringa health benefits for yourself, a powder is the most commonly available form of the plant. But you might be wondering how to use moringa powder? And did you know the dried leaves are also a great way to get a serving of moringa health benefits?

9 ways to use moringa

  1. Sprinkled over salads or soups
  2. Blended into smoothies (it works well in green juices)
  3. An addition to sauces or soups
  4. Stirred into water as a caffeine-free coffee alternative
  5. Baked into brownies, energy balls, cookies, cakes or bread
  6. Mix it into guacamole or hummus
  7. Shake into salad dressings
  8. Look out for moringa-infused teas
  9. Try these moringaroons

Summary

  • Moringa is easy to incorporate into your diet or daily routine
  • It’s most often found as a powder or as dried leaves that can be used to make moringa tea
  • You can get moringa powder benefits by adding it to recipes

Side effects of moringa

In general, it’s well-tolerated. However, there are known drug interactions and some circumstances when it’s not recommended.

  • Some believe moringa can trigger uterus contractions, so avoid if you’re pregnant.
  • Not recommended for breastfeeding mums – the effects on the nursing infant aren’t fully understood.
  • Due to its effects on blood sugar, it may not be suitable for those with diabetes.
  • As moringa may reduce blood pressure, it could cause fainting and dizziness if you’re already prone to low blood pressure.
  • The taste isn’t for everyone, so you may prefer to use it sparingly.
  • There are concerns it could worsen an underactive thyroid.
  • Also avoid if you’re taking medication for low thyroid function.
  • Moringa possibly changes how the liver breaks down some medications, so seek advice if this applies to you.
  • The roots contain spirochin, a toxic substance, so avoid ingesting this part of the plant.

Summary

  • Most people can consume moringa safely
  • There are circumstances where you should take precautions to avoid unwanted moringa powder side effects
  • If you have concerns, talk to your doctor and stop taking moringa if you notice any adverse reactions

Moringa dosage

You don’t need to consume much to get the benefits of moringa powder. Follow the instructions on your product for exact guidance. But generally, half a teaspoon per day is a good starting point.15

How much moringa is safe to take?

There’s no exact scientific recommendation and the quantity that’s right for you will vary according to your individual tolerance. But product guidance for one of our popular moringa powders suggests you can build your intake up gradually over time to 2-4 teaspoons maximum daily.16

Is it safe to take moringa daily?

Yes. But keep within the recommended dose for your product.

When to take moringa supplements

You may prefer it in your morning smoothie. Or perhaps sprinkled over a salad at lunch. It all depends on how you prefer to consume moringa and how it can best fit into your routine.

10 best moringa supplements

There are lots of ways to incorporate moringa into your diet.

  1. Extracts or tinctures
  2. Moringa powder
  3. Food-grade moringa oil for cooking
  4. Moringa leaves
  5. Moringa seeds
  6. Prepared drinks
  7. Moringa capsules
  8. Hand and face creams
  9. Moringa tea
  10. Moringa seed oil for skin

Conclusion: What is moringa good for?

The plant's oils and extracts have been used for centuries in herbal medicine. However, moringa health benefits are now attracting the wider attention of nutritionists and wellness enthusiasts. As a result, it’s become a common nutritional supplement that’s available in a variety of forms – from moringa powder to moringa tea.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 27 May 2021

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