By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Move over, kale; moringa is the new green vegetable in town being touted for its superfood powers. Where did this new veggie come from, and is it the mecca of health value that its proponents claim it to be?
What is Moringa?
The Moringa oleifera plant is also known as a drumstick tree, horseradish tree and ben oil tree. It's native to India, but is grown in assorted sub-tropical climates throughout the world. Though it's only recently begun gaining popularity in the West, it has been consumed as both a medicine and a food in the East for many centuries.
Though all parts of the plant are edible, it is the leaves of moringa that are most widely used. If you buy moringa powder, you are likely purchasing ground up leaves. In addition to being packed with nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins, moringa is used to treat ailments including, but not limited to: diabetes, digestive distress, inflammation, high cholesterol and liver disease. That's quite a mix of uses! Let's examine how well—or not—claims about moringa stand up to testing, and how you can use it.
Diabetes: Moringa Lowers Blood Sugar
When it comes to managing blood sugar, diabetics aren't the only people who can use assistance. High blood sugar can be a precursor to diabetes, so products that lower blood sugar may be beneficial to much of the population. Moringa leaf extract has yielded positive results in some studies for lowering lipid and glucose levels and also restoring structure to pancreases damaged by diabetes.
Inflammation: Moringa Reduces Inflammatory Markers
What starts as systemic inflammation can soon become an autoimmune illness, so controlling inflammation is becoming vital for reasons beyond controlling joint pain or digestive issues. Moringa reduces inflammation associated with chronic illnesses, as well as decreases inflammation in healthy cells not suffering from disease.
Detox: Moringa Protects the Liver
If there's one thing we have become hyper-focused on in our society full of chemicals, it's detoxification. Your body does this task on its own, but many people feel help is in order to optimize the liver's functioning. Thanks to its antioxidant content, moringa effectively protects the liver from damage and helps the liver recover from damage that has already occurred.
What Moringa Tastes Like
Since the leaves of this green vegetable are used to make powder, it's not surprising that moringa tastes similar to spinach. It is considered less intense in flavor than algae, such as chlorella or spirulina, and has been likened to matcha green tea powder in flavor.
How to Use Moringa Powder
Because its flavor isn't overpowering and it is a highly concentrated food, moringa leaf powder can be used in small doses for applications that are sweet or savory. You can add it to a smoothie or juice, sprinkle it onto a salad, mix it into a cooked vegetable dish, add it to hot water to create a tea, use it as a dried herb in seasoning protein or stir it into a soup. If you don't care for the taste of moringa, you can take it in capsules instead of as a powder.
If you'd like to take advantage of its antimicrobial properties to improve your skin, you can mix the powder with water or vinegar to create a face mask. That's not the only benefit to a moringa mask: it's also been shown to have anti-aging properties when used topically.
From liver detox to improved appearance of wrinkles, it's no surprise that moringa is the new “it” veggie! It stands up well to studies and is helpful for a great variety of health concerns.
Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and bestselling author. She has been featured in media such as Forbes, CBS’ “The Doctors,” and Huffington Post, and her private clientele includes celebrities such as P!nk. Ariane has two books published,the first of which, The Bone Broth Miracle, reached the #1 ranked cookbook on Amazon on multiple occasions. She also has two books forthcoming in 2019.