Benefits of moringa leaves have a lot. Moringa leaves are a great source of protein and also contain all important amino acids. The leaves are mainly rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and vitamins A, D, and C. There are several studies as well as scientific findings that support the therapeutic nature of Moringa leaves and have confirmed that they are indeed the powerhouse of nutrients. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of moringa leaves and their side effects.
Health Benefits Moringa Leaves
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Moringa leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, and Folate. They are also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
One cup of moringa leaves will contain 2 grams of protein, magnesium (8 percent of the RDA), Vitamin B6 (19 percent of the RDA), Iron (11 percent of the RDA), Riboflavin (11 percent of the RDA), and Vitamin A (9 percent of the RDA).
Rich in Amino Acids
Moringa leaves are rich in amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. 18 types of amino acids are found in them and each of them makes an important contribution to our wellbeing.
Inflammation is how a body naturally responds to pain and injury. Moringa leaves are anti-inflammatory in nature due to the presence of isothiocyanates. They have niazimicin which is known to reign in the development of cancer cells. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases like cancer, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many autoimmune diseases. When we suffer an injury or infection, the body suffers increased inflammation.
Basically, it is a protective mechanism against trauma but because of a wrong lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, inflammation can increase in the body. Long-term inflammation leads to chronic health issues. Eating moringa leaves helps to reduce inflammation.
Rich in Antioxidants
Moringa leaves have anti-oxidative properties and protect against the damaging effects of free radicals present in the environment. The damage caused by free radicals is responsible for many chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and Alzheimer’s. Moringa leaves are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene that act against free radicals.
They also have Quercetin which is an antioxidant that helps to lower blood pressure. Another antioxidant that is present in moringa leaves is Chlorogenic acid which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels post meals.
A study in women showed that taking 1.5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder regularly for three months had shown a significant increase in blood antioxidant levels.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Sustained high blood sugar levels lead to the development of diabetes in individuals. Diabetes, in turn, can cause heart problems and organ damage in the body. To avoid this, it is good to keep the blood sugar levels in check. Moringa leaves are a perfect resource for that as they stabilize the blood sugar levels due to the presence of isothiocyanates.
Apart from oats, flaxseeds, and almonds, moringa leaves are a dependable remedy against high cholesterol. Cholesterol is the major reason why people suffer from heart diseases and eating moringa leaves has been known to show considerable improvement against high cholesterol levels. Moringa oleifera can lower those levels and protect against the risk of heart disease
Protects the Liver
Those who have tuberculosis can benefit greatly from moringa leaves as they reduce the negative effects of anti-tubercular drugs. The leaves accelerate the repair of the liver cells. The leaves have a high concentration of polyphenols that protect against oxidative damage to the liver and may even reduce it. They increase the protein levels in the liver.
The liver is the site of blood detoxification, fat metabolism, and nutrient absorption and it can function properly only if the liver enzymes are normal. Moringa leaves stabilize these liver enzymes.
Protects Against Arsenic Toxicity
In many parts of the world, arsenic contamination is a common problem. Arsenic has found its way into our systems through many food items, particularly rice. Long-term exposure to this element can lead to the development of cancer and heart disease. Research on lab animals has shown that moringa leaves to combat the effects of arsenic toxicity.
Good for the Stomach
Moringa leaves are beneficial against digestive disorders. Those who suffer from constipation, bloating, gas, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis should add Moringa leaves to their diet. The leaves have antibiotic and antimicrobial properties which make them an ideal remedy against digestive disorders. Even the high amount of B vitamins in the leaves helps in improving digestion.
Improves Bone health
Moringa leaves are rich sources of calcium and phosphorus. Both of these elements are needed for good bone health. Since moringa leaves have an anti-inflammatory nature, they help combat arthritis and may even heal bones that are damaged.
Moringa leaves are antiseptic and fight off many bacterial infections. They are even beneficial for wound healing and help to heal bruises, minor cuts, and burns quickly as they reduce the clotting time.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, moringa leaves were used to increase lactation in nursing mothers. Since they are a rich source of protein, important vitamins, and essential nutrients, consuming moringa leaves is very good for the health of the mother and the baby.
Helps in Weight Management
Moringa leaves increase fat burning in the body. They slim down the person without depleting energy reserves. This keeps the person feeling buoyant and nourished. They reduce cravings for food and boost metabolism. They also lower cholesterol.
Good for Skin and Hair
Due to an abundance of antioxidants and nutrients, moringa leaves improve the health and appearance of skin and hair. They add suppleness to the skin and shine to the hair. The antioxidants present in moringa leaves reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. They have about 30 antioxidants present. Not just this, a paste of moringa leaves when applied to the scalp and the hair reduces dandruff and adds life and bounce to dull, lifeless hair. The leaves also strengthen the hair follicles. They are also good for acne-prone skin. This is why moringa leaves are part of many cosmetics. They improve skin tone and add a glow due to their purifying nature and therapeutic properties.
Good for the Nervous System
Many nervous disorders have been known to show positive results against the use of moringa leaves. They support brain health and work as neuro-enhancers. The high concentration of vitamins E and C combat neural degeneration and helps improve brain function. Those who have a migraine or suffer from recurring headaches must eat moringa leaves regularly. These leaves also work as mood balancers as they stabilize the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline which are important for memory, mood, and for stimulus-response.
Good for Detoxification
Moringa leaves are natural cleansers and help to detoxify the system. This helps to keep the body and increases immunity against various infections. They also increase the energy levels in the body.
21g Moringa Leaves Nutrition
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDA
In Western countries, the dried leaves are sold as dietary supplements, either in powder or capsule form. Compared to the leaves, the pods are generally lower in vitamins and minerals. However, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. One cup of fresh, sliced pods (100 grams) contains 157% of your daily requirement.
The diet of people in developing nations sometimes lacks vitamins, minerals, and protein. In these countries, Moringa leaves can be an important source of many essential nutrients.
However, there is one downside: Moringa leaves may also contain high levels of antinutrients, which can reduce the absorption of minerals and protein. Another thing to keep in mind is that taking Moringa leaves supplements in capsules won’t supply a large number of nutrients. The amounts are negligible compared to what you consume if you eat a balanced diet based on whole foods.
Moringa Leaves Side Effects
Leaves, fruits, and seeds of the moringa plant are safe to be consumed by mouth. It is however risky to consume the roots or their extracts as it contains a toxic substance. Pregnant women should take extra care so as not to consume moringa roots. The leaves of this plant have a slightly laxative effect and this may cause some digestive problems in some people.
Pregnant women and women who are nursing should also avoid moringa plants as not much research has been conducted in this area and therefore, it is unclear whether or not it will affect you or your baby adversely. On the whole, it is pretty safe to use the moringa plant in all the forms that it is available. You just have to source it from a trusted source or brand.