Moringa. Image: Dolly MJ Shutterstock

Despite its strong bitter taste, moringa is becoming a popular nutritional supplement almost all over the world.

All parts of the moringa tree – including the seeds, pods, and leaves – are used in different parts of the world for their nutritional properties.

Today we are going to talk about what moringa is and some of its most beneficial uses including disease prevention and even water purification.

What is Moringa?

Often referred to as a “miracle tree”, a fast growing tree native to northern India.

The best known and most used part of the tree is its seeds, which have been part of the traditional diet in Asia and Africa for centuries.

Today, moringa is available in a variety of forms including capsules, extracts, oils, powders, and tea. The seeds can also be roasted and eaten as a nut, and the flowers can be used to make tea.

However, the easiest way to consume moringa is in powder form, made from its dried leaves. The flavor is much sweeter than that of the seeds, and the dried leaves contain more nutrients than the fresh leaves.

In general, moringa is highly regarded for its nutritional benefits. It has also been used for non-food purposes such as the production of biodiesel and as an ingredient in cosmetics.

Moringa tree. Image: Here Asia Shutterstock

Benefits of Moringa.

1. Rich in nutrients.

Moringa is rich in vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds.

Moringa seeds are low in calories, but rich in essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

One cup (140 g) of moringa seeds contains:

  • Calories = 37
  • Carbohydrates = 8.5 g
  • Protein = 2 g
  • Fat = <1 g
  • Vitamin C = 235% of the daily value
  • Iron = 350% of the Daily Value
  • Potassium = 13% of the Daily Value
  • Magnesium = 28% of the Daily Value
  • Calcium = 3% of the daily value

Look at the exceptional amounts of iron (350% of the daily value) and vitamin C (235%).

Moringa seeds also contain 19 of the 22 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids, which your body cannot produce on its own. This is similar to other known “superfood” seeds such as sunflower and chia seeds.

The pods are particularly fibrous, which can help with digestive issues.

With this impressive amount of nutrients, moringa is very low in calories.

2. You can fight malnutrition.

The moringa tree is a good source of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals necessary for proper growth and development. The plant is easy to grow and resistant to drought, making it an important food source for undernourished communities.

In developing countries, where malnutrition is a serious problem, moringa can help.

In fact, many communities and villages cultivate moringa as a staple of their diet.

With its impressive amount of vitamins and minerals, moringa is a good source of protein and essential fats.

The leaves have even been used as a multivitamin supplement thanks to their high amounts of minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc, all of which are essential for growth and development.

The tree is also drought tolerant and can withstand dry and hot climates, making it an excellent source of nutrient-dense food for poorer communities.

3. It can be used to purify water.

Moringa seed extract can inhibit bacterial growth and be used to purify water, making it safe for humans and animals.

Endowed with antimicrobial properties, moringa seeds also play an important role in water purification in developing countries.

When oil is extracted from moringa seeds, a high protein “cake” is left behind. It can inhibit bacterial growth and used to purify water for humans and animals.

Because moringa can be grown in abundance, it is a simple and inexpensive way to prevent waterborne diseases.

4. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Moringa seeds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Research shows that moringa seeds contain a powerful blend of antioxidants that benefit our health.

In studies on mice, moringa seed extract worked as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, improving symptoms of ulcerative colitis. These data suggest that a similar effect could be observed in humans.

Another study found that boiling the seeds increased the availability of both antioxidants like iron.

5. Improves heart health.

Several studies have shown that moringa seeds can improve heart health by reduce triglycerides, the oxidative stress and inflammation.

6. Aid in digestion.

Moringa pods are high in fiber, which can aid digestion in many cases.

Each scoop is about 47% fiber and can help you digests more regularly and easily.