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What is Moringa?

What is moringa?

Moringa oleifera (Moringaceae) is an extremely nutritious plant known for its high levels of antioxidants. Every part of the moringa plant can be eaten: flowers, leaves, pods, seeds, and roots. 

It is a distant relative of cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage, and shares the same nutritious compounds. 

Moringa is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree of the family Moringaceae, native to the Indian subcontinent. Common names include moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, and ben oil tree or benzolive tree. 

Packed with nutrients

People consume moringa to improve heart health, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. 

Moringa is packed with nutrients shown to slow down the aging process, reduce stress, lower cholesterol levels and promote healthier skin and bone health. 

These nutrients include vitamins, amino acids, minerals, antioxidants, beta-carotene, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties.

For centuries and in many cultures around the world, Moringa has been used to treat a variety of issues, including asthma, excessive mucus, blood impurities, bronchitis, chest congestion, cholera, blackheads and many other conditions.

Moringa has long been known for its beauty value. It was discovered that Moringa oil was used in skin ointments in ancient Egypt. In recent years, moringa has been an ingredient in various health care products including body and hair moisturizers. 

According to a University of California, Davis article on the superfood benefits of moringa, Carrie Waterman, a UC Davis natural products chemist says, “If there were a top 10 list of plants that are going to help feed the world over the next hundred years, I would say moringa should be on that list.”

The plant may be able to address both malnutrition and obesity. According to Waterman’s research, mice given a high-fat diet along with concentrated moringa lost weight, improved glucose tolerance and failed to develop fatty liver disease compared with those not fed moringa.

100 grams of dry moringa leaf contains:

  • 9 times the protein of yogurt
  • 12 times the vitamin C of oranges
  • 10 times the vitamin A of carrots
  • 17 times the calcium of milk
  • 15 times the potassium of bananas
  • 25 times the iron of spinach

Strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties

Many diseases stem from chronic inflammation. Around the world, 3 in 5 people die from chronic inflammatory diseases.

Inflammation plays a role in the development of many chronic diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral injury, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, allergy, asthma, bronchitis, colitis, arthritis, renal ischemia, psoriasis, diabetes, obesity, depression, fatigue, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

In 2014, nearly 60% of Americans had at least one chronic condition, 42% had more than one chronic condition and 12% of adults had 5 or more chronic conditions.

Research shows that moringa exhibits significant anti-inflammatory activity. One study found that moringa extracts may help in the treatment of breast, liver, and colorectal cancers.

Antidepressant action

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders worldwide. It’s estimated that 12.3% of the world’s population has depression.

Moringa has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which suggests that it could be useful in treating depression caused by oxidative stress or inflammation.

In fact, many people with depression find that when they start to eat better, they feel better. So it makes sense that a plant as nutritious as moringa could help with depression.

Research backs this up. One animal study showed that moringa exhibited anti-depressant activity, especially when used in combination with fluoxetine. 

The researchers believe that the antidepressant mechanism of moringa could be at least partially due to the reduction of oxidative stress in the central nervous system. This would have an influence on neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline.

How to take moringa

Adding moringa to a daily smoothie is a great way to get your greens for the day. You can also just add it to orange or apple juice. You could also mix it with warm oat milk and honey to make a moringa version of a matcha latte.

Interested in other superfoods?

Siesta Botanicals carries other highly nutritious botanicals such as cacao and ceylon cinnamon.

Cacao

Cacao beans (Theobroma Cacao) are an incredibly nutritious superfood, grown on trees in Central and South America. 

People commonly consume cacao to help reduce depression, stress and blood pressure and to improve heart health. 

Raw organic cacao has more than 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and more calcium than cow’s milk. It’s also the highest plant-based provider of iron. Iron deficiency is one of the most severe nutritional problems around the world. 

Cacao is also rich in several other minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and copper.

Cacao is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. These are naturally occurring antioxidants also found in foods like vegetables, fruits and tea. Polyphenols help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol. 

Cocoa powder contains up to 50 mg of polyphenols per gram. Single servings of cocoa and cocoa products contain more phenolic antioxidants than most foods, and more procyanidins (a class of flavonoids) than the typical American consumes each day.

The antioxidant effects of cacao may directly influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce the risk for diabetes.

The heating and heavy processing of cacao causes it to lose some of its benefits, so it’s best to get it in raw organic form.

Ceylon cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) — also called true cinnamon — is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka. 

Ceylon cinnamon is considered a superfood and is loaded with powerful antioxidants. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and antilipemic (prevents the accumulation of fatty substances in the blood) effects. 

Recently, several studies have looked at the beneficial effects of cinnamon on the blood and the brain, as well as in diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes. 

Ceylon cinnamon may also be beneficial for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. Studies suggest that consuming cinnamon can help your body balance your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of hypo- or hyperglycemia.

 

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