Is Moringa Good For You? 5 Science Based Benefits| Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.
Moringa is a plant that is widely consumed for its therapeutic and medicinal properties. This post will discuss five research backed health benefits of Moringa oleifera.
We will cover its (1) dense nutritional profile, (2) antioxidant richness, (3) ability to help lower cholesterol, (4) potential impact on blood sugar regulation, and (5) anti-inflammatory properties.
A Short History of Moringa
Originating in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, the Moringa oleifera tree, also known as the drumstick tree or “miracle tree”, has been used traditionally for centuries to treat various diseases such as colds and diabetes. In addition, it is also utilized for its diverse nutrient content.
Almost all parts of this tree are edible including its leaves, flowers, and seeds. Most recent research suggests moringa should be used as a functional ingredient in food. The easiest way to do this is by shade drying and then crushing the leaves into powder form to create, you guessed it, Moringa Powder! We’ll cover how to use moringa powder in another article soon. For now, let’s dive into the research to understand more about why this plant is called the “miracle tree”.
1. Highly Nutrient Dense
Nutrients are substances our bodies need for growth and maintenance of life – and moringa is jam packed with them!
A published review on the nutritive importance of moringa notes every part of the tree as a storehouse of important nutrients and antinutrients. The leaves are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. Vitamins like beta-carotene of vitamin A, vitamin B such as folic acid, pyridoxine and nicotinic acid, vitamin C, D and E also are present. See the table below for a full list of nutrients available in the leaves, pods, and seeds.
Moringa is widely consumed for its rich nutrient profile, so much so that the extracts from its leaves are used to treat malnutrition. This medical study shows a daily dose of 10 grams of moringa leaf powder speeds the recovery of severely malnourished children. The use of moringa supplementation significantly improved key health parameters in children aged 6-59 months, including a higher average weight gain, with no occurrence of digestive disorders.
These results are impressive. Coupled with the fact that most Americans aren't getting sufficient amounts of Calcium, Potassium, Fiber, Magnesium, Vitamin A, C, and E – The addition of moringa to one’s diet can help to fill in these gaps.
For reference, 1 Gram Moringa Powder Contains in total:
- 25 x more iron than spinach
- 15 x more potassium than bananas
- 4 x more protein than egg
- 10 x more vitamin A than carrots
- 17 x more calcium than milk
- 7 x more vitamin C than oranges
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that can help slow down damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals that aren’t removed from the body efficiently can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to many inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and immune deficiency. Antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals, and this can boost overall health and wellbeing.
According to a 2021 study the moringa tree can be contemplated as a great source of antioxidants as it shows a higher production capacity than conventional plant-derived sources.
The high antioxidant composition of the moringa leaf also helps to fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress that can be a cause of cell damage and various diseases.
See the total Moringa Powder nutrition data below:
- 92 nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, sterols, alcohols, ketones, acids, alkaloids and flavonoids
- 46 antioxidants
- 36 anti-inflammatory agents
- 18 amino acids
- 9 essential amino acids
3. May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a substance found in your blood. While your body needs it, too much of it can put you at an increased risk of heart disease. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits to develop inside of the blood vessels.
This raises the question, is moringa good for cholesterol? Fortunately, there are both animal and human studies to support the use of moringa for cholesterol.
This study found that administration of the crude leaf extract of Moringa oleifera along with high-fat diet decreased the high-fat diet-induced increases in serum, liver, and kidney cholesterol levels by 14.35% (115-103.2 mg/100 ml of serum), 6.40% (9.4-8.8 mg/g wet weight) and 11.09% (1.09-0.97 mg/g wet weight) respectively. The effect on the serum cholesterol was statistically significant. It was concluded that the leaves of Moringa oleifera have definite hypocholesterolemic activity.
An animal study investigated plaque formations in cholesterol-fed rabbits. At 12 weeks of treatment with moringa extract, cholesterol levels had lowered and reduced the atherosclerotic plaque formation to about 50 and 86%, respectively. The results indicate that this plant possesses antioxidant, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Moringa oleifera can lower your cholesterol levels and in turn may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. May Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s reaction to an injury or infection. This can cause pain, redness, and swelling and can sometimes become chronic. Prolonged inflammation is linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
There are a multitude of moringa users who report decreases in pain and inflammation. However, research has been limited to mainly animal studies.
The compounds in moringa leaves scientists believe help in the reduction of inflammation are called isothiocyanates and are found in the leaves, pods, and seeds.
This animal study suggests moringa can modulate the inflammatory processes, and thus confirmed confirms the folklore medicinal uses of the plant to treat various ailments related to pain and inflammatory processes.
We can see that moringa causes anti-inflammatory responses in animal studies. We need human studies to be conducted to get a definitive answer on how it could help reduce inflammation in the body. For now, testimonies of using moringa for pain and inflammation from other users and using moringa for pain yourself will have to suffice.
5. Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar means there is too much sugar in the blood because the body lacks enough insulin. This is most commonly associated with diabetes, however, nondiabetic hyperglycemia exists, too, and can happen suddenly during a major illness or injury.
High blood sugar levels, especially for a long period of time, increase the risk of many serious health problems, including heart disease. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Fortunately, several studies have found Moringa oleifera may aid in keeping blood sugar in a healthy range.
One medical study analyzed 30 women taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months. The results showed reduced fasting blood sugar levels by an average of 13.5%.
A second, smaller medical study of six diabetic subjects found adding 50g of moringa leaves to meals reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21%.
Regarding the drumstick plant’s ability to help lower blood sugar levels, these results are promising. However, more research and clinical trials are needed to strengthen this as a recommendation to help treat this condition.
Key Points to Review
Moringa oleifera is a tree that has been used and consumed in traditional medicine for centuries.
Though it touts a wide array of health benefits, there is plenty of progress left to be made in the realm of scientific research.
Thus far, studies support moringa’s provision of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory effects. Research also shows it may lead to humble reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
So, is moringa good for you? If you’re interested in testing these moringa benefits yourself, choose the best moringa powder supplement by making sure it is sourced responsibly and from its region of origin, is Organic, and Non GMO.
Please speak with your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement including Moringa. None of the content on this site is or should be considered medical advice. The purpose of this article is simply to highlight relevant research for those curious about the potential benefits of consuming Moringa.