It seems that every few months a new superfood emerges. One you’ve never heard of that promises to provide you with miracle results. Kale is one of the most popular super healthy greens due to how densely packed with nutrients it is. However, now it seems that a new superfood is on the rise, one that appears to have even more benefits.
The moringa plant is primarily grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates, with India being the largest producer of the moringa oleifera plant. The most nutritious part of the plant for human consumption are the leaves, which have significant levels of vitamins and minerals. These leaves can be cooked and used similarly to spinach, or can be dried and ground into a fine powder which can be sprinkled over salads or onto your morning porridge if you so wish. The powder comes in handy if you need to smuggle some leafy greens into your diet, as not everyone enjoys the taste of kale or spinach.
To start with, moringa has significant levels of vitamins B2 and B6, which both keep the body running smoothly and aid improvement of skin health. If your hair is looking dry, dull and broken (it is winter, after all) then moringa may help with that as vitamin B6 can help prevent dandruff, and vitamin B2 can help keep hair strong and healthy. Many people swear by applying moringa oil directly to the scalp, although this may not be for you if you struggle with oily or greasy hair.
A particularly special attribute of the moringa plant is that it holds more iron than spinach. For men over the age of 18, 100g of moringa leaf would provide you with nearly half your recommended daily allowance of iron. As women between the ages of 19 and 50 need a higher intake of iron, 100g of the leaf would provide just shy of 30% of your daily allowance. Iron is essential for our wellbeing, without sufficient levels of it we fast become fatigued both physically and mentally. 100g isn’t a realistic amount to get through each day, but if you’re finding your diet lacking in iron, then a few grams of moringa leaf mixed with a healthy smoothie will help give you a boost towards those necessary levels.
There are plenty of other benefits for adding such a highly nutritional plant to your diet, most noteworthy being the boost to your immune system from the high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants; which are arguably essential in these dreary winter months with the accompanying cold and flu season. Plus, once our insides are happy, our outsides show the benefits with clear skin and healthy hair.
The moringa plant is used in some traditional medicines, and some scientific studies have shown promising results for the benefits of moringa in boosting general health, as well as having medicinal potential. However, there hasn’t been nearly enough research done on the plant to conclude that it could be the miracle plant we’ve been missing out on.
With the science uncertain, if you’re wanting to give moringa a go then start with small amounts mixed with food. In winter months our skin and hair suffer and there’s the usual increase in pesky colds, so it might be the perfect time to give moringa a go and see if the nutritional boost has that restoring factor for you.
Hot to get your moringa
- Moringa powder. Available from Holland & Barrett from £7.99. Moringa Energy Bar, £1.89, for an on-the-go boost.
- The Body Shop have an extensive range of moringa products; from shower gel and body sorbet, all the way through to perfume and beautifying oil.
- Herbal Essences have developed a Golden Moringa Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set which is said to restore hair smoothness and is safe for even coloured hair.
- Moringa Refined Oil, £5.95, can be used to replenish tired and dry skin. Available from amazon.co.uk.