What Is Moringa? Your Guide to This Buzzy Nutritional Supplement
It may be made from little leaves, but experts say it may pack a major immune-boosting punch.
If this is the first time you are hearing about moringa, you may be surprised to learn that parts of the moringa tree have been used by humans for its nutritional and restorative properties for thousands of years. The tree, which can be found in North India, is believed to have many health benefits. Here, two experts share their thoughts on moringa, and explain why you might want to consider adding it to your diet today.
All in the Leaves
The leaves of the moringa tree are believed to be full of both preventative and healing properties. Mascha Davis, a private practice registered dietitian, nutritionist, and founder of Nomadista Nutrition, says that the leaves of the moringa tree are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins C and A, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential to maintaining many functions, like the immune response. While some of the believed benefits of consuming moringa leaves include lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, protecting the liver, improving skin health, and treating mood disorders, Davis advises that those claims have not yet been confirmed.
How to Incorporate It Into Your Diet
Davis says that there are several different ways you can add a little moringa to your diet. You can try it in powder form and add it to your daily smoothie or morning oats, or you can buy it in pill form. However, she recommends consuming it in its original leaf form to get the most nutrients and fiber possible.
If none of these options sound appealing, holistic nutritionist Julie Hefner suggests consuming moringa as a tea. Her favorite way to get a dose of the plant, especially when she's feeling under the weather, is to add it to a cup of hot water and lemon. "Because it is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, it helps my immune system stay strong." Hefner explains that you can use either fresh or dried leaves to make your own moringa tea. "[The leaves] are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols, and are a good source of antioxidants."
Consult Your Doctor Before Start Taking It
Although the supplement boasts a lot of beneficial properties, Davis says it is not recommended for everyone. "If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should generally avoid supplements and/or consult with a health care provider [prior to use]." Additionally, she says that although it is rare, there are some cases in which moringa can lower blood pressure to a dangerous level.
Davis also points out that while moringa is a great supplement that can boost the nutritional quality of your diet, it cannot treat any disease on its own. She says you should only consider adding it as part of a well-rounded diet.