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 bioactive plant compounds.
So far, scientists have only investigated a fraction of the many reputed health benefits. Here are 6 health benefits of Moringa oleifera that are supported by scientific research.
1. Moringa Oleifera is Very Nutritious
Moringa oleifera is a fairly large tree that is native to North India. It goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horse radish tree, or ben oil tree. Almost all parts of the Moringa oleifera tree can be eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicines. The leaves and pods are commonly eaten in parts of India and Africa.
The leaves are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) contains the following:
- 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, dried leaves are sold as dietary supplements, in either 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 for vitamin C.
The diets of people in developing nations sometimes lack 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 protein.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re taking Moringa oleifera as a supplement, taking it in capsules won’t supply large amounts of nutrients. The amounts are negligible compared to what you are already getting if you eat a balanced, real food-based diet.
Moringa leaves are rich in many important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron.