Moringa, a native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole gnus on the flowering plant family Moringacea. The name is derived from murungai, the Tamil word of drumstick. Moringa has become popular as a natural leaf powder supplement, although the pods, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fruits are also edible.
It’s used as a traditional remedy for many ailments, and here are 10 scientifically backed health benefits of consuming the moringa leaf:
1. It’s nutrient-packed – Moringa is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains significant amount of vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2. It fights free radicals – Antioxidants fight free radicals, molecules that cause oxidative stress, cell damage, and inflammation.
Moringa contains antioxidants called flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid in the leaves, flowers, and seeds.
Studies have found that leaf extracts had higher antioxidant activity, free-radical-scavenging capacity, and higher inhibition of lipid, protein, and DNA oxidation than flowers and seeds.
This means it prevents the damage and degradation that free radicals cause in the cells of different organs in the body, keeping them healthy and functioning at their best.
3. It fights inflammation – Inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity. Moringa reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes and proteins in the body, and moringa leaf concentrate can significantly lower inflammation in the cells.
4. It helps reduce some diabetes symptoms – Moringa leaf powder has been effective at reducing lipid and glucose levels and regulate oxidative stress in diabetic patients, which means it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and improves protection against cell damage.
5. It protects the cardiovascular system – Moringa leaf powder has heart-healthy benefits, particularly blood lipid control, the prevention of plaque formation in the arteries, and reduced cholesterol levels.
6. It supports brain health – Moringa supports brain health and cognitive function because of its antioxidant and neuro-enhancer activities. It’s also been tested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease with favorable preliminary results.
Its high content of vitamins E and C fight oxidation that leads to neuron degeneration, improving brain function. It’s also able to normalize the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in the brain, which play a key role in memory, mood, organ function, responses to stimulus such as stress and pleasure, and mental health, for example in depression and psychosis.
7. It protects the liver – Moringa contains high concentrations of polyphenols in its leaves and flowers that protect the liver against oxidation, toxicity, and damage.
Moringa can reduce liver damage and reverse oxidation in the liver. Moringa oil can also restore liver enzymes to normal levels, reducing oxidative stress, and increasing protein content in the liver.
The liver is responsible for blood detoxification, bile production, fructose metabolism, fat metabolism, and nutrient processing, and it can only fulfill these functions with the aid of liver enzymes, so it’s vital they stay at normal levels. For instance, lower levels of hepatic enzymes can impair its ability to filter the blood.
8. It contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – Moringa has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that fight infections. It’s been effective against types of fungi that cause infections on skin and strains of bacteria responsible for blood and urinary tract infections and digestive problems.
9. It enhances wound healing – Moringa has blood-clotting properties in its leaves, roots, and seeds that benefit wound healing and can reduce clotting time which means it reduces the time it takes for scratches, cuts, or wounds to stop bleeding.
10. It contains Quercetin, this powerful antioxidant may help lower pressure.