It can be difficult to keep up with all the latest superfood fads and trends.
It’s certainly true that “superfood” is an overused term, and that marketers often use it to inflate the value of their products. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some foods that are legitimately healthier and benefit-packed than others.
So how do you figure out if a food truly is a superfood?
A food’s specific functionality is becoming a factor for determining whether or not it really qualifies as a “superfood.” For example, a plant that contains isolates that can be used to treat specific cancers deserves more notoriety than one that simply contains a slightly higher level of basic vitamins and nutrients.
But when a food contains highly medicinal compounds and dramatically increased levels of essential nutrients, it’s hard not to call it a superfood. One such food is Moringa, a tropical tree native to South Asia. Moringa, which is called “the miracle tree” by multiple indigenous cultures, boasts such a huge array of health benefits that it’s a wonder it’s not more well-known.
All the nutrients you could ask for
The basic nutritional profile of moringa alone is enough to warrant keeping it within arm’s reach. This mighty tree contains over ninety beneficial nutrients, and none of them are in short supply. A 100-gram serving of dry moringa leaf contains broad spectrum B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, potassium, and calcium, just to name a few—and it rivals nearly all of the leading, popular food sources of these nutrients.
Pound for pound, Moringa has:
- 7 times the vitamin C found in oranges
- 4 times the calcium found in milk, and twice the protein
- 4 times the vitamin A found in carrots
- 3 times the potassium found in bananas
- 3 times the iron found in almonds
A whopping 92+ nutrients are found in this miracle tree!
- All Vitamins A-K
- All Omega’s 3, 6 and 9
- All 9 Essential Amino Acids and 9 Non-Essential Amino Acids
- 46 Antioxidants
- 36 Anti-Inflammatories
- Minerals and other Nutrients
It also contains a surprising amount of highly absorbable protein—nearly ten times the protein in a serving of dairy products—as well as eighteen different amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein). Complete proteins of this kind are very hard to come by in the plant kingdom.
All around, moringa is so balanced and nutrient-dense that, for the last forty years, the World Health Organization has been exploring how to use it as a low-cost solution to malnutrition in third world countries.
Moringa is also loaded with antioxidants. In addition to the vitamins mentioned above (all of which function as antioxidants), it also contains quercetin (an exceptionally heart-healthy nutrient) and chlorogenic acid. It’s even one of the best naturally occurring sources of chlorophyll, as well as an incredible anti-aging plant hormone called zeatin.
This cornucopia of healthy goodies ensures that moringa targets a wide variety of health problems, and functions as one of the most powerful tools available to you for maintaining optimal health and preventing problems before they occur.
Relief from fatigue, pain, and illness
Moringa leaf has been used for thousands of years as a general tonic for strength and vitality. It offers sustainable, long-lasting energy without the crash that comes from sugar and carbohydrates, or the central nervous system stimulation that comes from caffeine and other stimulants. In fact, it even has a marked soothing effect, due to the isothiocyanates, flavonoids, and phenolic acids it contains, which lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, balance brain chemistry, and reduce systemic stress and inflammation.
Its potent anti-inflammatory action, coupled with the bevy of antioxidants that it delivers to the body, also provides relief from aches, pains, and other symptoms of arthritis. And because inflammation and oxidative stress are at the heart of nearly all disease, these same mechanisms drastically reduce your frequency of illness.
Endless medical applications
Despite all of these incredible benefits, moringa remains a relatively obscure health food. Only now that its market popularity has begun to grow has research into the medicinal properties of moringa really begun in earnest. Here’s just a taste of its benefits that scientists have demonstrated…
- It increases the natural defenses of the body by lowering inflammation, oxygenating the blood, and providing all the nutrients needed for optimal health.
- It provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain, especially through bioavailable vitamin A and other powerful antioxidants.
- It promotes proper metabolism and digestion with an array of essential enzymes and amino acids.
- It supports healthy cell structure throughout the body.
- It promotes healthy cholesterol levels, thus offering therapeutic potential for preventing heart disease.
- It lowers the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, supports radiantly healthy skin, and slows down aging, due to its incredibly high zeatin content.
- It promotes the normal functioning of the liver and the kidney.
- It prevents cancer and inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors (especially skin tumors).
- It promotes energy (and thus combats fatigue naturally).
- It promotes a healthy circulatory system.
- It aids overall emotional and psychological wellness by increasing stress resistance and balancing brain chemistry.
- It supports normal blood sugar levels in the body.
Becoming friends with Moringa
Even though Moringa isn’t quite as widely recognized as its superfood cousins, you can find it fairly easily at health food stores. Your two easiest options are moringa seed powder—which you can take in capsules, steep as a tea, mix into smoothies or yogurt, or add to soups and other dishes—and cold-pressed moringa seed oil, which you can use as a replacement for olive oil or coconut oil (just don’t cook with it, as the heat destroys many of its beneficial compounds).
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also grow your own Moringa plant—they’re incredibly fast-growing and easy to care for (just don’t plant it in your backyard and forget about it, unless you’re alright with having a thirty foot Moringa tree within a couple years!) In this case, you can add the fresh leaves to salads, or steam them (as you would with spinach or kale).
As more and more of Moringa’s amazing health benefits are revealed, it’s sure to become one of the most sought-after superfoods around. But you don’t have to wait for it to become a fad—integrate it into your life now, and you’ll soon understand why it’s lauded by many as one of the most unique, versatile, and healthful trees on the planet.
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