Is Moringa a superfood or just hype? The answer according to science...
There has been a lot of talk about Moringa being a hailed a superfood but is it justified? We reviewed over 1,300 studies on Moringa and this is what we found.
According to research, Moringa:
Contains A Rich Nutritional Profile
Is Abundant in Antioxidants
Provides Plentiful Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
Balances Blood Sugar Levels (Helps Fight Diabetes)
Nourishes the Skin
Enhances Brain Health
1. A Rich Nutritional Profile
Moringa is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and more. All parts of the tree can be eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicine. The leaves and pods are commonly eaten in India and Africa.
In Western countries (where soil isn't ideal for growing Moringa trees), the leaves are consumed in powder form to unlock the most antioxidant-packed benefis. The powder can be added to food, liquid or taken as a capsule.
Some key nutrients in Moringa are protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and iron.
2. Abundant in Antioxidants
One of the most powerful properties of Moringa is that it is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are critical for maintaining health because they help prevent disease. They connect to "free radicals", which if left unchanged can lead to a wide range of illnesses and chronic conditions.
A variety of antioxidants exists, each benefiting a different part of the body. While the body produces some antioxidants it's not enough, which is why it's critical to incorporate high antioxidant foods into one's diet, like Moringa. Consuming high levels of antioxidants can enhance memory, help with heart and eye problems, and promote the immune system.
Moringa is an excellent source of antioxidants because it contains high amounts of polyphenols. Studies show that plants rich in polyphenols help protect against many diseases.
One study found that women taking 7 grams (1.5 teaspoons) of Moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood oxidant levels.
This study found Moringa's antioxidants to have a therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by preventing oxidative modification in human plasma cells.
Antioxidant value in foods and supplements is expressed in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units. Moringa's ORAC test showed that it's packed with more antioxidants than rival superfoods goji berries and pomegranate. Moringa also contains twice the radical quenching power of baobab and many other superfoods.
Eating high ORAC foods can increase the antioxidant power of human blood 10%-25% and slow the effects of aging. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests consuming 5,000 ORAC units per day as it may lower your risk of heart diseases, Alzheimer's and many other health conditions. Moringa's value is 1,576 per gram meaning 4 grams is well above the suggested intake. By adding 1 teaspoon (4.9 grams) you are more than meeting your daily antioxidant needs.
While Moringa is an antioxidant powerhouse, it's good to get antioxidants from a wide variety of foods. Other good sources of antioxidants include, berries, nuts, spices and vegetables.
While inflammation is essential as a protective mechanism it can have long term consequences if untreated.
Moringa has been used for decades to treat acute and chronic conditions. Chronic low grade inflammation has been linked to insulin resistance and obesity, heart disease, and cancer among many other diseases.
Moringa is so impressive because it contains similar abilities to conventional anti-inflammatory drugs but without the negative side effects.
In vitro (cultured cells) and in vivio (animal) studies have recommended Moringa's effectiveness in treating inflammation and the potential to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This study found Moringa to alleviate low grade inflammation associated with chronic diseases.
Here is a complete list of Moriga's anti-inflammatory compounds and their effect on the body.
4. Balances Blood Sugar Levels (Helps with Diabetes)
High blood sugar is one of the main characteristics of diabetes and heart disease. Several studies have found Moringa oleifera to lower blood sugar levels. Moringa contains a powerful compound called isothiocyanates, which found to be effective for the prevention of diabetes, as seen in this study. Moringa also contains cholorgenic acid which has show to help blood sugar levels.
This study holds Moringa as a therapeutic potential for chronic hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, which is the culprit to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This study shows a significant decrease in blood sugar levels after consuming Moringa and this study found that women taking Moringa every day had a reduced fasting blood sugar level of 13.5%.
Additionally, a study in six diabetic patients found that adding 50 grams of Moringa leaves to a meal reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21%.
This study was done on individuals with diabetes who were given Moringa with their meal (consisting of a carbohydrate, protein and fiber). The results showed a reduced blood glucose response.
A study on rats consuming Moringa seed powder found that antibodies, blood sugar, and hemoglobin (all indicative of Diabetes) were reduced as a result. The rats who received the Moringa restored their kidney and pancreas health and reduced complications of diabetes, whereas the diabetic rats who did not receive the Moringa did not.
Furthermore, Moringa oleifera is well known for its pharmacological actions and is used for the traditional treatment of diabetes
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Modern societies are increasingly suffering from high cholesterol, which is linked to many risks, including heart disease.
Moringa's ability to reduce inflammation has positive effects on lowering cholesterol. Human studies have also been tested on its ability to reduce cholesterol.
Type 2 diabetics consuming 8 grams of Moringa leaf powder over the course of 40 days showed a reduction in cholesterol by 14% in this study.
The isothiocyanates and thiocarbamates of Moringa oleifera were able to reduce blood pressure by 35-40% in this study.
This study found Moringa to increase the "good" cholesterol while decreasing the "bad cholesterol, thus demonstrating Moringa as having a hypolipidaemic effect.
6. Balances Hormones
Hormones are chemical messengers that contribute to optimum health. They can be secreted through thyroid, adrenals and other glands. Hormone imbalances can cause weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, digestive issues and even skin problems.
Hormones can be directly linked to gut health, so by nourishing your body with a healthy diet of antioxidants, healthy fats and protein it will contribute to a healthy hormonal foundation. Dark leafy greens, like Moringa, are a great source of nutrition for the gut and thus foster a healthy hormonal balance.
Moringa has been tested to be especially beneficial for female thyroid. In a study using Moringa leaf extract, female thyroid hormone levels increased, but not male rats when administered in high levels.
Norepinephrine, an organic chemical that functions in the brain and body as a hormone and neurotransmitter
7. Nourishes the skin
Moringa contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral compounds that protects the skin against infection.
Moringa is rich in antioxidants that help protect the skin from sun damage. When skin is exposed to high levels of sunshine, it causes damage to cellular lipids, DNA and proteins, thus causing sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin cancers. Moringa helps repair and revitalize the skin with it's abundance of antioxidants thus supports anti-aging skin effects.
Moringa oil can be applied to the skin as both an astringent to kill bacteria and also as a moisturizer to hydrate the skin. It is frequently used in the cosmetic industry for its ability to prevent spoilage (by killing bacteria) and it's easily adaptable odorless smell.
Want to experience the wonders of this superfood on your skin? Try this DIY Moringa Face Mask and read more about the benefits here.
8. Stabilizes Mood
Moringa is rich in amino acids, especially tryptophan, which has an impact on serotonin. Also, the abundant antioxidants in Moringa contribute to thyroid health which promotes high energy and reduces fatigue, depression, low libido, mood swings and insomnia.
Serotonin concentrations in rat brains showed a large increase in the cerebral cortex after ingesting Moringa leaf extract. Serotonin is what gives us our euphoric feelings and Moringa impacts the part of our brain that plays an important role in consciousness.
Mice in this study who were given Moringa leaf extract showed a significant reduction in anxiety, thus reducing stress and stabilizing mood.
9. Enhances Brain Health
Brain health is incredibly important as it promotes memory and concentration while also helping prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
This study found Moringa to have a role in providing protection against Alzheimer's Disease.
The results of this study justify the use of Moringa for traditional treatment of epilepsy.
A study on rats found that consuming Moringa enhances their maze-learning ability due to an increase in brain monoamines, neurotransmitters for dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin. This asserts Moringa as a potentially powerful supplement for memory and learning.
How To Use Moringa
Now that we know how incredibly nutrient dense and healthy Moringa is for our body here are a few ways to incorporate Moringa into your lifestyle.
The powder is an excellent booster to your smoothie or shakes. It can be added to soups, souces, chia pudding and other dishes. It's also excellent for making a "Moringa Latte".
Get inspired with these recipes.
The fresh, dried or ground powder can be added to boiling water to make tea. If using dried leaves or powder make sure to use a sieve or mesh or simply purchase it in tea bag form.
The oil from the seeds can be use all over the body for nutritional benefits and hydration.
Try this FERA Moringa smoothie!