Every time you turn around there seems to be another superfood that claims to boost energy, protect against every disease known to man, and help you lose weight. Six months later, it’s sitting on the markdown shelf. But moringa leaf may be different.
Native to northwestern India, Moringa oleifera is a small tree that’s grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. The leaves have a slightly nutty taste with a hint of horseradish and can be eaten raw or cooked, though they’re most commonly powdered and used as a supplement in smoothies and drinks or made into a tea.
It’s extraordinarily nutritious: Ounce for ounce Moringa has twice the protein of yogurt, four times as much calcium as milk, and three times as much potassium as a banana.
Not only is it healthy and tasty, but you don’t have to feel guilty about buying it. Unlike crops that can be harvested only once a year, moringa leaves grow and mature all year round. This means farmers can subsist on the plants while growing them, which hinders the kind of problems typically associated with foods such as quinoa, where the entire crop must be sold, leaving little for the farmers or their communities. The tree also produces other crops and products growers use and sell locally: The seed pods are edible, and the seeds can be made into a useful oil. Not only do they produce abundant crops, but the trees also need little in the way of water or fertilizers and grow easily in dry places where few other crops do well. Bonus: The leaves are compact and lightweight to store and ship, giving them a much smaller ecological footprint.
Moringa oleifera is a. It was recognized by the National Institutes of Health as the Botanical of the Year for 2007, and praised again in 2011 and 2012. It is valued worldwide for its ability to treat over 300 diseases. It has the ability to retain high concentrations of electrolyte minerals, allowing it to stay internally hydrated in the driest of conditions. Africans have honored it with names that translate to: “Never Die,” and “The Only Thing that Grows in the Dry Season,” and “Mother’s Milk.” I think it’s safe to say that this plant has saved more lives in 3rd world countries than any other. Why do I say this?This amazing tree is capable of delivering what the body needs and these enzymatically active amino acid sequences may simply not exist in the food chain anywhere else, and that is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg when it comes to Moringa oleifera.
It’s an unfortunate fact that our own “civilized” food supply no longer feeds us well nutritionally. Our food is comforting, and tastes good, but as far as our cells are concerned, too much of what we eat is over-processed, denatured and acidic, and ends up depleting our bodies— robbing us rather than feeding us.Today’s western diet has double the caloric intake of a consumer in 1965 and we are receiving 75% less nutrient value for current calories consumed. Seeking daily, quality nutrient supplementation is no longer an option but a requirement for health.We all need to supplement our diets in the most efficient and economical means possible.
When we consider the incidence of disease affecting the 317,000,000 people in America (215 million overweight or obese, 50 million with heart disease, 45 million with chronic headaches, 44 million with osteoporosis, 37 million with arthritis, 30 million with sinus problems, 26 million with diabetes, 79 million pre-diabetes, 12 million with cancer, 6 million with Alzheimer’s) and we understand the relationship between nutrition and disease, it seems obvious but we have to ask how did this come to pass. Hippocrates will be proven right: food is indeed our medicine and the answer to disease.
Moringa oleifera provides a rare combination of zeatin (a potent antioxidant), quercetin (a flavonoid known for its ability to neutralize free radicals and relieve inflammation), beta-sitosterol (a nutrient superstar that blocks cholesterol formation or build-up and is an anti-inflammatory agent for the body), caffeoylquinic acid (another powerful anti-inflammatory compound), and kaempferol (a key nutrient that promotes healthy body cellular function). All in all, enzymatically active and bioavailable Moringa oleifera provides 36 natural anti-inflammatory agents. Free radical damage caused by electron-seeking, highly reactive, oxidative molecules has been identified as the source of many maladies through mechanisms such as inhibition of telomerase, changes to cellular permeability and DNA damage. It has been established that Moringa oleifera contains 46 different antioxidants.
So where can you score some? Moringa leaf is getting easier to find every day. It’s sold in most health food stores and many supermarkets, and you can shop for it online. You’ll find moringa leaf powder sold in powdered form, as well as ready-to-eat products such as Kuli Kuli Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars (which supports small farmers in Africa) or blended with other ingredients to make a suplement, such as Essential Living Foods Organic Vegan Protein Powder. It’s even found its way into beauty products, such as Blue Labelle Organic Restorative Face Oil. Moringa smoothies and facials, anyone?