Moringa oleifera is a plant that has been praised for its health benefits for almost 4,000 years. It is widely known as the drumstick tree, horseradish tree, miracle tree and the ben oil or benzoil tree. Although modern science is continuously proving the health benefits of moringa, it has been popular across various cultures for centuries.
Moringa is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, which was originally grown at the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. It grows up to 2 metres tall and produces long, slender, brown capsules with rounded seeds. Today, it is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables and many parts of the tree are used as herbal medicine.
Moringa oleifera offers a multitude of health benefits, however only a few of its many reputed health benefits have been studied scientifically and these are just a few:
Moringa is packed with nutrients
Moringa is a fairly large and very nutritious tree, hence its name “elixir tree.” Moringa leaves specifically are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. They are rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, vitamin A and magnesium. The fresh leaves are usually eaten as a vegetable and the dried leaves are mostly sold as dietary supplements, either in powder or capsule form.
High levels of free radicals may cause oxidative stress and serious health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants are compounds that act against them. Moringa leaves are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid which are all potent antioxidants. These antioxidants also help improve vision and provide protection against retinal damage.
May reduce inflammation
Inflammation is an essential protective mechanism of the body as it is a natural response to infection and injury. However, it may become a major health issue if it continues over a long period of time. If overlooked and not treated, it may lead to chronic health problems including heart disease and cancer.
Scientists believe that the main anti-inflammatory compounds found in moringa leaves, pods and seeds are isothiocyanates. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, polyphenols, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid are some more components that can be found in moringa leaves. These components combat oxidative stress and slow the progression of age-related disorders as well as reduce inflammation.
May prevent diabetes
A high blood sugar level is the main characteristic of diabetes which is considered a serious and escalating health problem in the UK. Diabetes carries complications that affect the heart, kidneys, eyes, liver and other organs of the body. It is important to keep your blood sugar within healthy limits. Moringa contains chlorogenic acid and isothiocyanates that allow cells to utilise glucose as required, helping to regulate blood glucose levels and fight type 2 diabetes with its hormonal balancing and glycemic controlling properties.
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease but fortunately, many plant foods can effectively reduce cholesterol such as flaxseeds, oats, almonds and of course, moringa. Moringa maintains healthy cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure levels in the body and its bioactive components, including isothiocyanate and niaziminin, also prevent the thickening of arteries and reduce the development of pulmonary hypertension. In addition, moringa’s hypocholesterolemic effects help in reducing a high-fat rise in the liver and kidney.
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