Moringa may be the latest health fad for some, but people who consume it on a weekly or daily basis know this plant is one of the healthiest things to add to your diet.
Found commonly in Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, moringa can be consumed as leaves (also called drumstick leaves), seeds and long green fruits.
"Raw moringa leaves have a noted bite to them and have almost a radish, raw cabbage or watercress-like taste. When cooked, the taste tends to go away," says Toronto-based health and nutrition expert Rosanna Lee. "Raw moringa leaves, fruit and seeds provide more nutrition because they have not been processed as extensively."
In some studies, Lee notes, moringa has been touted to increase energy levels without the stimulation of caffeine, as well as promoting weight loss. "However, no conclusive evidence has supported these claims yet. People often take moringa in the form of a capsule, mixed in as a powder or consumed as a tea," she says.
And when you can get your hands on morgina (try Asian grocery stores or health food stores), you can enjoy it several different ways.
Below, Lee shares how much nutrition you get with a serving of moringa, as well as additional health benefits. How do you eat your moringa? Let us know in the comments below:
Daily nutrition: 19 per cent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) This vitamin supports over 100 of the body’s necessary enzyme reactions involved in metabolism, says Toronto-based health and nutrition expert Rosanna Lee. "B6 is also needed to support brain development during pregnancy and infancy, and supports immune functions."
Daily nutrition: 12 per cent of the RDA Vitamin C is important for preventing cellular damage and essential for making collagen, Lee adds. "Vitamin C encourages better absorption of iron from plant-based foods."
Daily nutrition: 11 per cent of the RDA If you are a vegetarian or vegan, moringa is a great way to get more iron naturally. "Iron is essential for making hemoglobin [for red blood cells] and is part of a protein that helps the body transfer oxygen from the lungs to the tissues," Lee says. Iron is also necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functions, and hormone production.
Daily nutrition: 2 grams of protein Protein is essential for wound healing, growth and development, Lee notes, and moringa is a good source of it. Try a morgina powder in your smoothie or eggs, or add the leaves to a lean meat curry.
Daily nutrition: 11 per cent of the RDA "Riboflavin is essential in the body for energy production, cellular functioning, growth, development, and metabolism of fats and drugs," Lee says. Riboflavin also helps the body maintain normal levels of homeocysteine, which is an amino acid found in the blood.
Daily nutrition: 9 per cent of the RDA Vitamin A is an important vitamin involved in eye health, bone growth, reproduction, cell division and cell differentiation.
Daily nutrition: 8 per cent of the RDA "Essential for helping the body keep normal blood pressure, maintain bones health, growth and integrity, and supports steady heart rhythms." We also suggest trying a moringa tea!