New superfood: Moringa

moringa-trees

 

By Avery Wood

Health & Science Editor

Moringa is a plant that has recently been added to the growing list of “superfoods.” The tree is native to India, and used for nutrition in many countries.

Many parts of the tree are edible, such as the leaves, seeds, pods, and roots, but the leaves have the most nutritional value. Because of its high nutrition, it is sold as a supplement in powder form, but the leaves, which taste and can be used like spinach, have yet to reach most stores.

With a myriad of vitamins and amino acids among Moringa’s laudable traits, it is hard for other foods to measure up.

According to themoringa.com , Moringa has 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 4 times the calcium and twice the protein of milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas, 3 times the vitamin E of spinach, and 3 times the vitamins of almonds. Moringa also contains significant amounts of all 9 essential amino acids.

Since it grows extraordinarily quickly, thriving in soils and climates where other plants could not, Moringa has potential for great good. It is already widely eaten in places like India, the Philippines, and Cambodia, but many people, including the National Research Council of the National Academies, theorize that it has the potential to provide nutrition and sustenance world-wide and to make villages more self-sufficient with its many uses.

In rural communities where Moringa is plentiful and clean water is scarce, it has great potent for water purification. Conventionally treated water is too expensive for such communities, but according to the African Journal of Agricultural Research, the edible seeds of the Moringa tree can be ground into a powder and used in place of some of the conventional purification substance, effectively decreasing the cost of treated water.

Moringa also has more uses than just nutrition. The sap is used as a dye in some countries and there are a lot of products containing moringa on the market, such as moisturizer, soap and oil.

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