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Moringa: The Miracle Ingredient with Multiple Health Benefits

Have you ever observed those drumsticks used in the sambar you eat with piping-hot idlis and dosas? Well, these drumsticks are pods of the moringa tree! Moringa, also known as Moringa oleifera, is native to India and is often deemed a magical tree for all of its health benefits. For centuries, Moringa oleifera has been used in traditional medicine owing to its wide range of healing compounds.

Want to know a fun fact about this plant? The entire plant is edible, which includes its roots, flowers, and leaves. Its feathery leaves are considered to be high in protein, while the root, bark, flowers, seeds, etc. are used to treat various diseases like skin infections, diarrhea, joint pain, and even, in some cases, depression. Let’s find out how this seemingly plain-looking plant has been used through the centuries and now has even become a main ingredient in many antioxidant supplements.

The History of Moringa

Moringa's use has been widespread in India for thousands of years, and now word of it has slowly spread to the Chinese and African cultures as well. The plant was used to treat a variety of health conditions that range from skin disorders to respiratory ailments. Traditional doctors began to notice its impact and thus named it the “miracle tree”. It is believed that in ancient times, moringa extract was given to Mauryan fighters to impart the necessary strength and energy during the war, and at the same time, moringa was used to relieve them of their injuries.

What’s so Special about this Plant?

Well, we’ve already spoken about its usability and how it has been leveraged for ages for various remedies. Let’s have a look at the nutritional components of this plant and find out what makes it a superfood.

Moringa leaves have seven times the vitamin C of an orange. They’re also a complete source of protein, containing all the necessary amino acids, thus making them a great plant protein source. It is also abundant in calcium, potassium, and iron when compared to other natural sources like bananas, milk, spinach, etc. The leaves are also therapeutic owing to their anti-inflammatory properties. They contain isothiocyanates and a compound called niazimicin, which is highly beneficial in decreasing cancer cells and works in developing agents that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Apart from the nutrients, moringa is also one of the antioxidant foods that contain molecules that reduce inflammation. When inflammation levels in the body are too high, it can lead to chronic inflammatory diseases such as gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, persistent infections, compromised immunity, etc. To combat this, maintaining our intake of antioxidant supplements on a regular basis is crucial.

Health Benefits of Moringa

Every part of the moringa tree, ranging from leaves, roots, pods, seeds, and bark, has been used in traditional medicine for its healing properties. You can also create your powder at home by crushing the leaves. Half a teaspoon of this powder can be taken with warm water to obtain its health benefits. Its seeds were also commonly used to control diabetes and symptoms related to diabetes like hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia.

Decades ago, the roots and leaves of the tree used to be mixed with water and consumed for the treatment of diabetes, malaria, hypertension, and other respiratory disorders like asthma. Its bark juice or leaves were used as disinfectants to help treat burns, wounds, etc.

With its endless benefits, it’s no surprise that it has become a major ingredient in health supplements. Taking a moringa-enriched supplement daily can have a wide range of health benefits, some of which include:

1. Improves digestive health:

Moringa leaves are high in fiber, thereby adding bulk to our stools and promoting regular bowel movements. This high-fiber property also helps relieve constipation, bloating, and gas. Furthermore, they contain natural digestive enzymes that help our gut break down food better and also aid in the proper absorption of nutrients. Moringa has prebiotic compounds too, which foster the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, making our gut healthier and promoting better digestive health.

2. Regulates weight:

Since moringa has such a powerfully positive effect on our gut, it also controls the health of our gut microbiota, which is responsible for our metabolism and hormones. A healthy gut microbiota ensures that we don’t have any unwanted cravings. One study found that moringa leaf extract was therefore beneficial in weight management.

3. Boosts immunity:

The creation of white blood cells, which are in charge of battling infections and disorders, depends on vitamin C, which is abundant in moringa. Vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium are also a few of the minerals found in moringa that are beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system. These vitamins and minerals help promote the development and function of immune cells.

4. Manages blood sugar levels:

Compounds found in moringa may help slow down the bloodstream's uptake of glucose. This can lessen the chance of insulin resistance and prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. Moringa may also aid in improving cells' responses to insulin. This causes our body to efficiently use insulin and keep blood sugar levels stable. Additionally, the antioxidants in moringa can help to safeguard the pancreas, which is the organ in charge of making insulin. By defending the pancreas, moringa may thus support normal insulin levels and guard against insulin resistance.

Wrapping Up

Since moringa is rich in nutrients, it comes as no surprise that it has become an important ingredient in whole-food supplements. Some antioxidant supplements also combine this miracle ingredient with other superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina, ashwagandha, elderberry, etc. to improve overall health. This ensures you get all the nutrients, effortlessly.

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996918304307?via%3Dihub

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6108815/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958191/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872761/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34747026/

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