Meet Mighty Moringa

It's so cool working to celebrate the empowerment of people everywhere through healthy living and I just love to include my African, Caribbean and Indian cultural heritage into the mix, which is the lens I view my experience of food through and how I see the world.
Can you imagine how thrilled I was to learn that the mighty Moringa plant is cultivated in three of my heritage regions Africa, the Caribbean and India (as well as in other parts of the world), what a colourful lineage!

Although Moringa is known by many different local or regional names, it is also known for being a drought tolerant, medium-sized, evergreen tree that thrives in warm, frost-free climates. Its tender leaves and twigs can be harvested at any time from a well-established, 1.5 to 2 meters tall plant. Moringa plants therefore have the potential to support impoverished communities in need of dietary supplements like protein, minerals, and vitamins around the world.

The moringa plant has been eaten by indigenous cultures worldwide for over 4,000 years. In the Indian Ayurveda health tradition, moringa leaves are believed to prevent over 300 diseases and are used all the time in traditional healing. The roots are often ground down for use in supplement capsules. Traditional medicine uses the roots, leaves, and the seeds.

There are so many easy ways to enjoy Moringa and it's delicious spinachy green flavour: 
I love to enjoy dried Moringa as a herbal tea, as a 1oz juice shot, add Moringa leaf powder into my green juices, smoothie's, raw energy balls, crackers, puddings, salad dressings, soups, dips, sauces, ice lollies and ice cream etc. Plus adding the new soft leaves or flowers to my salad.

Moringa offers you significant plant based nutrition and adding moringa to your daily routine is is an excellent source of vitamins & minerals, macronutrients fibre and protein. The many health benefits include:

  • Moringa greens (leaves) are an excellent source of protein which is a unique feature for any herbs and leafy greens in the entire plant kingdom. 100 g of fresh raw leaves carry 9.8 g of protein or about 17.5% of daily required levels. Dry, powdered leaves indeed are an excellent sources source of several quality amino acids.

  • Fresh pods and seeds are an excellent source of oleic acid, a health-benefiting monounsaturated fat. Moringa, as a high-quality oilseed crop, can be grown alternatively to improve nutrition levels of populations in many drought-prone regions of Africa and Asia.

  • Fresh leaves and growing tips of moringa are the richest sources of vitamin A. 100 g of fresh leaves carry 7564 IU or 252% of daily required levels of vitamin-A! Vitamin-A is one of the fat-soluble anti-oxidant offering several benefits, including mucosal repair, maintenance of skin integrity, vision, and immunity.

  • Fresh moringa (drumstick) pods and leaves are an excellent sources of vitamin-C. 100 g of pods contain 145 µg or 235% of daily required levels of vitamin-C. 100 g of greens provide 51.7 µg or 86% of daily-recommended intake values of this vitamin. Research studies have shown that consumption of fruits/vegetables rich in vitamin C helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals from the body.

  • The greens, as well as pods, also contain good amounts of many vital B-complex vitamins such as folates, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Much of these vitamin functions as co-enzymes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. 

  • Furthermore, its greens (leaves) are one of the finest sources of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Iron alleviates anemia. Calcium is essential for bone mineralization. Zinc plays a vital role in hair growth, spermatogenesis, and skin health.

While studying at The Hippocrates Health Institute, it being an ideal climate in Florida, I was able to harvest fresh young Moringa leaves for my raw plantain salad. If you live in a cooler climate, try the herbal tea, or powdered leaves. I like to purchase the best quality Moringa I can find, currently my favourite suppliers are from UK based Aduna, Kenyan Me Moringa and St. Anne Moringa from Jamaica.

I treat Moringa like other magnificent greens as a vegetable and I always buy an organic green powder version too. A few months ago, I sampled some lovely Moringa seeds (obtained from the pods of the moringa tree) in Zambia. Fresh and raw moringa seeds are quite tender, but as soon as they get dried, they become hard and start resembling small beans. The seeds can be chewed, steamed, steeped, or eaten just like nuts, so add them to your raw granola or a trail mix you prepare with other nuts and dried fruit. Mix them with hemp seeds for an incredible boost of energy.

I am also enjoying some Moringa seed oil obtained in Lusaka, which is edible and also great for your skin and hair because of the high levels of behenic acid contained in it. 

What next? Watch out for my Moringa recipes coming your way on line soon...
Hope this information was helpful for you. Please let us know by leaving your comments...

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©AnitajisWorld - Moringa Flowers


Sources and Research:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4545797/
www.nutrition-and-you.com/moringa.html
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1242-moringa.aspx?activeingredientid=1242
https://authoritynutrition.com/6-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera/
http://hippocratesinst.org/science/moringa-oleifera-mans-best-friend

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