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Nutrition

Everything You Need to Know About Moringa

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Step aside, turmeric!

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You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about moringa. Maybe you’ve heard about it at your yoga studio or seen it on the menu at your favorite smoothie shop. You may have even seen it in your natural makeup products. But what’s the real deal with this supergreen and its benefits?

Moringa is a tropical plant that has been used for its healing properties in South Asia for centuries, and it is increasingly found in supplements, bars, and other health-food-aisle favorites in the United States. The plant packs a wallop in terms of nutritional value, with tons of vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, moringa has more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, and more protein than yogurt. It also outperforms carrots (in vitamin A), bananas (in potassium), and spinach (in iron). Bottom line? It’s filled with nutrients that are good for your body.

Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist, says all the nutrients in moringa lead to lots of benefits. “The vitamins assist in providing the building blocks for anti-aging, wound-healing, [and] hair growth,” she says, while the antioxidants in moringa are believed to aid against free radical damage. While more research needs to be done, “This is how [moringa] is thought to protect against cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory distress, heart disease, arthritis, and obesity,” she says.

Another benefit of moringa? Its leaves “are bioavailable to the body, which means that they are easily converted inside our systems,” says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, an integrative medicine specialist. So once you consume moringa, your body can readily access its many nutrients.

How to Use Moringa

As far as integrating the supergreen into your everyday life, moringa, which is widely available as a powder supplement, can easily be added to smoothies, soups, curries, and more. “It’s a simple ingredient to toss into the blender in place of or along with kale and/or spinach,” Ilyas says. “I’ve seen it boiled in tea, sprinkled on desserts, or added to the glaze of desserts to give them a nutrient-packed green tinge.” Just keep in mind that moringa is a little bitter, so use a light hand until you figure out the right amount for your taste buds.

Trattner recommends using moringa that is 100 percent organic and from first-harvested leaves; essentially, you should make sure you know the source and quality of the supplement. Additionally, while moringa is full of necessary nutrients, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Because moringa is so high in iron, having too much of it can lead to digestive issues.

Find other great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.