We have all seen it before… A new “superfood” hits the market and is talked about all over the Internet. It becomes a raging fad but then proceeds to slowly die off after the said “super” health benefits turn out to really not be as amazing as they were claimed to be. But is moringa just another one of these health fads? Or is moringa a superfood that is the real deal?
It has been talked about in many different online newspapers/journals and is beginning to be seen more and more on shelves at stores. Moringa tea in particular seems to really be squeezing its way in, but the moringa powders, moringa drinks, and other moringa products are also making their way in.
But what is all the hype about really? What is so great about moringa? Well… I’ll dive into this in a second, but first let’s go over a little about what it actually is and some history on it.
Moringa as a member of the plant kingdom… Obviously, and is sometimes referred to as a “drumstick tree”. They can grow up to 12 m in height and have small round leaves with long seedpods pinking off the branches.
The moringa tree is native to the Himalayas in India, where it first began used for health reasons thousands of years ago. It has since spread to Eastern Asia and Africa where it is also commonly used in traditional medicines or even just for cooking.
Some early documents even describe moringa oil being used in ancient Egypt, mainly for skin protection, or at least that is what is thought.
So it has been around for thousands of years and has been known to have many different health benefits for thousands of years… So then why is it all of a sudden now gaining so much popularity?
This is a great question and honestly it is one that I cannot answer. My best guess is that the reason is catching on so much recently is simply due to the increasing trend of healthy eating, which people really didn’t care about too much about in the Western world in times past.
There are many different benefits to be had from adding moringa to your diet. The leaves in the seedpods are usually what is harvested because the are the most nutritious, however the leaves seem to be the safest to eat, which is why pretty much every single moringa product on the market is made from moringa leaves.
Some of the many benefits that are worth mentioning include…
Vitamins, minerals, protein, moringa has a lot to it.
If you have read about moringa before then you probably have already heard some of the claims and may even be a bit skeptical. 5x more vitamin C than an oranges!?.. 3x more potassium than bananas!??.. More beta-carotene than carrots… seriously?, and more iron and protein than spinach.. Which is what made Popeye so big and strong?
Well the truth is that all of these statistics are indeed correct. Moringa does pack one heck of a nutritional punch and is very dense with nutrients. However, what you must keep in mind is that moringa is not a food that you can eat a lot of.
When you eat an orange, on average you are eating about 140g, which will give you about 70 mg worth of vitamin C. Moringa does provide more vitamin C per weight, giving you about 57 mg for every 100 g of moringa leaves, but who the heck is ever going to be eating 100 g or more of moringa leaves at a time? The answer is no one.
Most moringa supplements are dosed at about 1 to 3 g of dense powder per serving.
* Moringa also contains vitamin A, vitamin E, some of the B vitamins, and more.
Antioxidants are very important. They help stop those nasty little free radicals that run around inside the body damaging our precious cells.
Moringa happens to be a good supply of antioxidants, much of its antioxidant activity coming from the beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E that it contains.
One of the most physically noticeable differences that antioxidants can make is improvement in skin health, which is why moringa is potentially a good natural choice for reducing wrinkles and just skin health altogether.
There are nine essential amino acids that us humans must get from our diets because our bodies are not able to synthesize them. Moringa is what you call a “complete protein” , as is the superfood spirulina, which means that it has all these nine essential amino acids. This is one thing in particular that separates it from other proclaimed “super foods” like kale.
This is more of a “possible” benefit because it is difficult to really say whether it will actually make a difference in your energy levels. That said, many people do claim to file noticeable difference in energy, which is one of the reasons why drinking moringa tea in the mornings is becoming more popular.
Many of the nutrients inside moringa, such as the B vitamins, or known to have effects on energy levels, so this is nothing to be surprised about, however, I would say that any difference is probably going to be minimal.
And there is much more that I’m not going to get into in detail here. There have been studies conducted on moringa testing a variety of different benefits and it has been shown to do everything from lowering blood sugar levels, to reducing asthma, and even helping to prevent cancer.
Ok… Everything sounds good so far, but what about the side effects? Am I going to start taking moringa and end up with a massive rash in the worst area possible or worse?
Well, 99% of moringa products are going to be safe because they are made from the moringa leaves, which you can read on Web MD are generally recognized as being safe. But of course this assumes that you are listening to the suggested serving sizes. It is safe in moderation but if you go out eating 4+ times the amount recommended you might start to cause your body some harm.
In fact, on examine.com, it is stated that consuming 3-4x the recommended dose could start to be slightly toxic to your body.
However, like I said, you should be more than fine. There have been studies where humans have consumed up to 6 g per day for three months with no adverse effects and most of the room moringa supplements out there are dosed at only 1 to 3 g per serving.
It is also worth noting that you should avoid consuming the stem, roots, and maybe even the seedpods of the plant. There is still more research that needs to be done, but these could have small amounts of toxin.
The definition of a superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being” and since moringa is a very nutrient dense food that has many known health benefits, I do think it indeed qualifies as a superfood, or at least in my book it does.
However, there is no standard for what should be considered a superfood and what shouldn’t be considered one. It is not like there is a list of criteria that a food must meet in order to be considered “super”. What qualifies as one and what doesn’t is largely based on opinion.
But it doesn’t really matter whether or not anyone considers it a superfood. The bottom line is that it does provide many different nutrients and is a great natural supplement to add to your list of health foods that you might give a try now or maybe in the future.
If you are considering buying moringa then you have to be somewhat careful what you purchase. With foods like this that are over-hyped to some extent, you will often find overinflated prices. If you are looking for good quality moringa at a reasonable price then I suggest taking a look at my recommendation below…
Also, feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂
Kyle is an avid health enthusiast that believes in nature as a cure-all. When he's not drinking spirulina smoothies or dealing with the horrible aftertaste of stevia, he is probably working out, researching healthy herbs, or dealing with hand cramps he gets from writing articles like this.