Eat Empowered, Inflammation

What Is Moringa, and Is It Really Good For Me?

Q: What is moringa, and does it have major health benefits?

A: Like many of the superfoods that take a turn in the spotlight (acai! matcha!), you may have heard moringa is about to cure everything that ails you.

The plant is often referred to as “the miracle tree,” after all, but while it does have a pretty impressive nutrient profile, adding it to your smoothies won’t magically guarantee good health. Here’s what you need to know.

What is moringa?

The moringa tree is native to South Asia and grows crazy fast in tough climate conditions. It produces “drumstick” pods, seeds that can be eaten like peas or pressed into oil, and small, round leaves can be eaten fresh or dried and powdered. Most people in the U.S. ingest the leaves as a powder added to smoothies.

Practitioners of Ayurveda, India’s ancient system of medicine, believe the plant can prevent 300 hundred diseases, which brings us to…

What are its actual benefits?

Western medicine definitely hasn’t close to verified that 300 number (and in fact, there are very few top-notch clinical studies on the plant), but moringa does have a lot going for it nutritionally speaking. It delivers high doses of iron, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. Some studies have shown it may fight inflammation and it also contains lots of powerful antioxidants. Research has also shown it may reduce some risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, and it has many other promising potential medicinal uses.

The takeaway?

Moringa is certainly good for you, but it’s no magic bullet and isn’t easy to find. If you want to buy a green powder that lists it as an ingredient and boost your smoothie with it, go for it, but if you’re eating lots of dark, leafy greens and antioxidant-rich berries you’ll also be fine without it. Remember that supplementing your diet with the most nutrient-rich foods is just one small component of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.