Moringa is the new superfood where no part goes to waste: fruit, flowers, roots and leaves
Moringa trees are cultivated in South America, and are used to extract a powder that’s becoming increasingly well known among superfoods. Their roots stretch far back in history – the Greeks and Romans knew of them, and the ancient Egyptians loved them them as a food and used their oil for beauty treatments. People living in the valley of the Nile know them as Shagara al Rauwaq, or purifying tree, because the flour ground from the seeds can be used to purify water, and is a practice that still exists in some countries today. Over the centuries it’s gone by names like plant of miracles and tree of life. In Africa it’s called nebeday, or the tree that never dies. Although the Moringa originally came from the Himalayan mountains of India, the trees are now grown in Thailand, the Philippines, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Cuba and Argentina. Moringa is similar to matcha tea and is rich in protein and vitamin E. According to Ayurvedic medicine, it can help prevent over 300 illnesses.
The Food and Agricultural Organization calls moringa an important crop, to be preserved for its infinite beneficial properties. No part of the moringa goes to waste, from the fruit to the flowers, roots and leaves. It’s becoming more common as a nutritional supplement, but is also great in raw salads or lightly boiled like spinach. The moringa produces a pod-shaped fruit that is pleasant but delicately flavored. In Asian cooking they’re used with curry and coconut milk and served with basmati rice. The slightly spicy leaves can be a tasty addition to fresh salads, or can be cooked in soups or stewed with meat. Moringa seeds produce a sweet oil rich in unsaturated fat that can be used as a salad dressing, as well as a moisturizing treatment for hair and skin.
Did you know
Moringa powder is extracted from the leaves and seeds. They’re ground up to create a substance that contains 9 essential amino acids, 27 vitamins, 46 antioxidants and many minerals. Moringa contains twice the protein of yogurt, 4 times more vitamin A than carrots, 3 times the potassium of a banana, and quadruple the calcium of milk. It even has 7 times more vitamin C than oranges. The leaves are thought to boost energy levels both during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as general periods of fatigue and lowered immunity.