Health Benefits of Moringa Leaves Backed by Science
The health benefits of Moringa leaves have been most widely studied by the researchers. Researchers often mentioned it as a panacea. In this article, we summarized 11 amazing health benefits of moringa leaves.
Overview: The Moringa Tree
Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam), is a small native tree from Asia and Africa and found everywhere in India. It is commonly known as ‘drumstick tree’ or ‘horseradish tree’. Moringa has been praised for its health benefits for thousands of years and is called “the miracle tree” as well.
In India, moringa is mainly used as a vegetable. Apart from this, various parts of the tree are used in traditional herbal medicines. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root of the tree are used to make medicines. These medicine are used to treat 300 or more common and chronic diseases.
In developed countries dried Moringa leaves are out in the market in the form of capsules or powder.
Recently, researchers provide insights into the health benefits of Moringa leaves. They documented that the leaves can be used as a cure for several common and chronic diseases. Let’s take a look…
Health Benefits of Moringa Leaves
Several studies have demonstrated the health benefits of Moringa leaves in animals and humans.
Here are the 11 amazing health benefits of Moringa leaves supported by scientific research.
1. Moringa Leaves are Nutritious
The leaves of Moringa are amazingly rich in nutrition.
As USDA data published in 2018, One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) may provide you…
- Protein: 2 gm
- Total Fat: 0.3 gm
- Calcium: 38.8 mg
- Magnesium: 8.82 mg
- Potassium: 70.8 mg
- Iron: 0.84 mg
- Sodium: 1.9 mg
- Phosphorus: 23.5 mg
- Zinc: 0.13 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.25 mg
- Beta-carotene (Vitamin A): 80 μg
- Vitamin C: 11 mg
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.14 mg
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.47 mg
The quality of the protein present in the leaves rivals that of milk and eggs. The dried leaves contain protein levels as high as 30.3% and 19 amino acids. It can serve as an excellent source of plant protein for vegans and vegetarians. (3)
Apart from the vitamins and minerals, Moringa leaves contain various amino acids and phytochemicals. They contain phytochemicals like tannins, sterols, saponins, terpenoids, phenolics, alkaloids, and flavanoids.
It is rare for a single plant to contain many essential nutrients and that too in high quantities.
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2. Moringa Leaves are Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize the harmful activities of free radicals in your body and prevent cell damage. They provide you a preventive effect against the development of several chronic diseases.
Research shows that Moringa leaves contain several important antioxidants apart from Vitamin A and Vitamin C. These include: (4)
Polyphenols: Moringa leaves contain a good amount of polyphenol compounds like flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Myrecytin, quercetin, and kaempferol are the main flavonoids present in the leaves. These compounds can lower hypertension, blood sugar, cholesterol and can reduce atherosclerosis too.
Alkaloids, Glucosinolates, and Isothiocyonates: These compounds have anti-cancer properties and effective against cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Tannins: This powerful antioxidant may prevent atherosclerosis, liver diseases, and even certain type of cancers.
Saponins: Moringa leaves are a good source of saponins which exhibit anti-cancer activities.
3. Moringa Leaves Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect us from bacterial and viral infections. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses and diseases.
Moringa leaves have the potential to treat and prevent chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis, joint pain, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disorders, and even cancer. (6) , (7), (8). The leaves act on the cellular level improving cell health and reducing inflammation within the body.
Research shows that isothiocyanates and quercetin are responsible for anti-inflammatory actions.
4. Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes has become one of the common diseases worldwide. It is identified based on the patient’s blood sugar levels. It is not easy to fix diabetes completely. By making some changes in your diet, it can be controlled to a great extent.
Several studies on animal models have shown that Moringa leaves may help lower blood sugar levels.
The compounds flavonoids, phenolic acids, and isothiocyanates found in Moringa leave increase insulin activity, improving glucose uptake and utilization. It reduces insulin resistance as well. (9) , (10)
Diabetic people are vulnerable to various short and long-term health complications. They should always keep their sugar level under control.
5. Moringa Leaves Protects Your Liver
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of Moringa leaves can help to detoxify your liver.
It can protect you from various chronic health issues by supporting liver health and function.
The compound quercetin found in the leaves shows the hepatoprotective effect.
6. Moringa Leaves Can Lower Cholesterol
The leaves have a strong effect on the lipid profile. Research shows that flavonoids and phenolics play important roles in lipid regulation.
The bioactive compound β-sitosterol shows the cholesterol-lowering effects. Saponins found in the leaves prevent the absorption of cholesterol, which leads to the lowering of plasma cholesterol as well.
Keeping your cholesterol level under control, you can directly reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular and heart diseases.
7. Moringa Leaves May Prevent Cancer
Cancer is a widespread disease and improper medication is considered as one of the main reasons for cancer death.
Moringa leaves show chemoprotective properties and may help hinder the growth of several human cancer cells. (15)
Research shows that leaf extract has the potential to treat pancreatic and breast cancer.
8. May Prevent High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the leading factor for several chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, as well as dementia.
The bioactive compounds nitrile, mustard oil glycosides, and thiocarbamate glycosides isolated from Moringa leave stabilize the blood pressure.
9. May Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
The antioxidant compound isothiocyanate isolated from Moringa leaves has a beneficial effect on improving brain function. (21)
It can help you to enhance memory by nootropics activity. The leaves may prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression as well.
10. May Prevent Eye Diseases
The major cause of blindness, starting from impaired dark adaptation to night blindness, is vitamin A deficiency.
Moringa leaves contain high concentrations of vitamin A, which may help to prevent night blindness and eye problems. (22)
Consuming the leaves with oils improves vitamin A deficiency and delayed the development of cataracts.
11. Moringa Leaves Can Treat Malnutrition
Moringa leaves contain a lot of minerals and vitamins that are essential for human growth and development. Calcium is one of the important minerals for human growth.
Moringa leaves may provide you about 1000mg of calcium. And Moringa powder may provide you 4000mg of calcium. In contrary to that 8 ounches of milk may provide you only 300-400mg of calcium.(23)
In addition, you can get more iron from Moringa leaves and moringa powder than spinach. About 6 spoonfuls of leaf powder may provide a pregnant woman’s daily iron and calcium requirements. It can be used as an alternative to iron tablets to treat anemia. Studies shows that moringa powder may offer 28 mg of iron, whereas beef may offer only 2 mg. (24)
A good dietary intake of zinc is vital for the proper development of sperm cells and is necessary for DNA and RNA synthesis. The leaves contain about 25–31 mg of zinc/kg, which can meet the daily requirement of zinc in your diet. (26)
How to Use Moringa Leaves
You can use Moringa leaves in the form of raw leaves, powder, and juice.
Raw Moringa leaves: You can consume raw leaves adding them in curries, shakes, and smoothies, sprinkle them into soups, as salad toppings, and in tea as well.
Moringa leaves powder: You can make Moringa powder at home. Take a sufficient amount of fresh leaves of moringa and let them dry in shade. Don’t dry them under direct sunlight as it will reduce their nutritional value. After it is dried, grind them in a mixer to make a fine powder.
Moringa leaves juice: Take a handful of fresh Moringa leaves, and blend them in a grinder, strain the juice and consume.
You can shop for moringa powder and moringa juice from your nearby market or online. There are various superb supplements available at Amazon.
Side Effects of Moringa Leaves
The general safety of consumption of Moringa leaves was studied by many researchers..
Sometimes higher consumption of the leaves may harm you as it contains some anti-nutrients, which may cause indigestion. (28)
Moringa leaves are rich in minerals, vitamins, and other essential phytonutrients. Several studies are documenting the health benefits of Moringa leaves in protecting against a variety of disorders starting from malnutrition to cancer.
Moringa leaves have great potential to be used as a medicine in undeveloped countries where malnutrition is a serious issue. As a native tree of India, Moringa can become a great source of income for the nation if this potential is properly utilized.