Foundation Diet and Health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

Moringa tree (moringa), leaves, raw

Moringa leaves (moringa tree, drumstick tree) are very nutritious. The pods and leaves are used as vegetables while the root is used as a spicy seasoning.
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Culinary uses:

The same information is available at Moringa tree (moringa), leaves, cooked. Cooking changes the nutritional profile of moringa leaves. Information about moringa powder and pods is available at Moringa tree powder and Moringa tree pod.

Many parts of the moringa tree are edible, and cooks use them in a variety of ways depending on the region.
The leaves are used fresh in salads or finely chopped as a garnish for vegetable dishes. They are also cooked and used like spinach or dried and powdered for use as a condiment. The delicate fresh leaves are often added to clear broth-based soups. You can use moringa leaves in place of or along with coriander.
The immature green fruits or seed pods (drumsticks) are prepared similarly to green beans or cut into shorter lengths and stewed in curries and soups. The outer skin of drumsticks is tough and fibrous, so diners often chew or suck on them to extract the juices and nutrients and then discard the outer fibrous material. South Indian sambar (drumsticks stewed with lentils), and the Thai dish kaeng som (a sour curry with drumsticks and fish) are examples of regional dishes using drumsticks.
The seeds are sometimes removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts.
The flowers are featured in some recipes as well. In some regions of India, cooks mix the flowers with gram flour and spices, then deep fry them and serve them as snacks or add them to curries.
Ben oil is pressed from mature seeds. The oil is clear and odorless and has a long shelf life.
The roots are shredded and used as a spicy condiment with a flavor similar to horseradish. High levels of polyphenols give moringa root its spicy flavor.1

Not only vegans and vegetarians should read this:
A Vegan Diet Can Be Unhealthy. Nutrition Mistakes.

Purchasing:

You can find moringa at Indian grocery stores, online, and in the import sections of some grocery stores.

Storing:

You can store moringa powder or seeds in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to one year. It may also be refrigerated to preserve freshness. You can store fresh leaves in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutritional information:

The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant. They are a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese, and protein, among other essential nutrients.
The seed pods/drumsticks are exceptionally high in vitamin C. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Vitamin B12 and moringa: As nutritious as moringa is, be careful of sources who claim that moringa contains vitamin B12. The B12 in moringa is an inactive B12 analog and can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in the body by blocking the B12 receptors. This means that moringa is not a source of B12, especially for vegans and vegetarians.

False promises:

Marketing campaigns often contain the suggestion that moringa, or the horseradish tree, is a “superfood” since it is rich in nutrients. These claims are often incorrect and confusing. While moringa is an excellent source of nutrients when cooked and used as a leafy vegetable, moringa powder is the most popular form of this plant. Like all plants, the leaves have a high moisture content. The drying process required to create the powdered form means that the nutrients are much more concentrated in moringa powder than in the leaves. This creates a deceptive image of the nutritional value of the powder. The recommended dosage amount of the powder is so minute that amounts of the nutrients taken in are correspondingly small – and it does not contain vitamin B12!

Dangers / Intolerances:

All parts of the moringa tree contain mustard oil glycosides, but the roots contain especially high amounts of the oil. The skin of moringa roots contains toxic alkaloids so be sure to remove it before eating the root.

Wikipedia: Various adverse effects may occur from consuming moringa bark, roots, or flowers and their extracts, as these components contain chemicals that appear to be toxic when eaten. Moringa has been used safely in doses up to 6 grams (0.21 oz) daily for up to 3 weeks.1
WebMD: It's likely unsafe to use the root, bark or flowers of moringa if you are pregnant. Chemicals in the root, bark, and flowers can make the uterus contract, and this might cause a miscarriage. There is not enough information available about the safety of using other parts of moringa during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.2

Use as a medicinal plant:

The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used in traditional medicine in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Horseradish tree juice stabilizes blood pressure and the leaves have strong anti-inflammatory properties. The roots are effective in relieving rheumatic pain. Because moringa root contains Spirochin and moringine, two alkaloids with antimicrobial properties, it is used as an antibiotic in traditional medicine and as a biological pest control.
Research on the medicinal uses of moringa is limited.
In an early study, taking 3 grams of moringa twice daily for three weeks reduced asthma symptoms and the severity of asthma attacks in adults…
Increasing breast milk production. Early evidence suggests that taking 250 mg of a specific moringa supplement (Natalac) twice daily after childbirth increases breast milk production.
2
Additional studies are needed to verify the accuracy of these claims.

Description:

Cultivation and harvest:

The moringa tree grows in semiarid, tropical, and subtropical areas. It is particularly suitable for dry regions, as farmers can grow it without expensive irrigation techniques.

General information:

The moringa tree is cultivated extensively in Southeast Asia where the leaves and seeds are used as food and for medicinal purposes. Common names include moringa, drumstick tree (from the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), and horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish).
Moringa is an important food source in some parts of the world. The leaves, the most nutritious part of the plant, are a significant source of calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, and iron. Because it can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves retain lots of vitamins and minerals when dried, moringa is used in food programs to combat malnutrition and boost food security in developing countries.1
Ben oil is pressed from mature moringa seeds and has a long shelf life. In the past, it was used as a lubricating oil and as a base for cosmetics and soap. The oil can also be used for heating purposes and as a biofuel. Research over the last several decades has shown that the seed cake that is left over after the oil is pressed from the seeds can be used to purify drinking water. In some areas, the seeds are roasted and eaten like nuts.

Literature / Sources:

  1. Wikipedia. Moringa oleifera [Internet]. Version dated 10.29.2018
  2. WebMD. Moringa: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Webmd.com. https://www.webmd.com/ vitamins/ai/ ingredientmono-1242/moringa (accessed 11.10.2018).

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