Science-Based Health Benefits of Moringa oleifera
Moringa oleifera is a plant that has been praised for its health benefits for thousands of years.
It is very rich in healthy antioxidants and bio-active plant compounds. So far, scientists have only investigated a fraction of the many reputed health benefits.
Here are health benefits of Moringa oleifera that are supported by scientific research.
1. Moringa oleifera Is Very Nutritious
Moringa oleifera is a fairly large tree native to North India.
It goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horseradish tree or ben oil tree. Almost all parts of the tree are eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicines.This especially applies to the leaves and pods, which are commonly eaten in parts of India and Africa
Moringa leaves are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) contains:
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDA
In Western countries, the dried leaves are sold as dietary supplements, either in powder or capsule form.
Compared to the leaves, the pods are generally lower in vitamins and minerals. However, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. One cup of fresh, sliced pods (100 grams) contains 157% of your daily requirement.
The diet of people in developing nations sometimes lacks vitamins, minerals and protein. In these countries, Moringa oleifera can be an important source of many essential nutrients.
However, there is one downside: Moringa leaves may also contain high levels of antinutrients, which can reduce the absorption of minerals and Protiens.
The amounts are negligible compared to what you consume if you eat a balanced diet based on whole foods. Moringa leaves are rich in many important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron.
- Moringa oleifera Is Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that act against free radicals in your body.High levels of free radicals may cause oxidative stress, which is associated with chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In addition to vitamin C and beta-carotene, these include:
- Quercetin: This powerful antioxidant may help lower blood pressure (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
- Chlorogenic acid: Also found in high amounts in coffee, chlorogenic acid may help moderate blood sugar levels after meals (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
One study in women found that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood antioxidant levels
- Moringa leaf extract may also be used as a food preservative. It increases the shelf life of meat by reducing oxidation .
Moringa oleifera is rich in various antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Moringa leaf powder can increase blood antioxidant levels.
- Moringa May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar can be a serious health problem. In fact, it’s the main characteristic of diabetes.
Over time, high blood sugar levels raise the risk of many serious health problems, including heart disease. For this reason, it’s important to keep your blood sugar within healthy limits.
Interestingly, several studies have shown that Moringa oleifera may help lower blood sugar levels.
One study in 30 women showed that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5%, on average .
Moringa leaves may lead to reduced blood sugar levels, but more research is needed before any solid recommendations can be made.
- Moringa oleifera May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury.
It’s an essential protective mechanism but may become a major health issue if it continues over a long period of time.
Most whole fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties. However, the degree to which they can help depends on the types and amounts of anti-inflammatory compounds they contain.
Moringa oleifera has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Moringa Can Lower Cholesterol
Having high cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Moringa oleifera can lower your cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Moringa oleifera May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity
Arsenic contamination of food and water is a problem in many parts of the world. Certain types of rice may contain particularly high levels .
Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic may lead to health problems over time.
Interestingly, several studies in mice and rats have shown that the leaves and seeds of Moringa oleifera may protect against some of the effects of arsenic toxicity
Studies suggest that Moringa oleifera