Written and Edited by: Ms. Sandhya Nair, BSc Nutrition
Ever heard of the “Miracle Tree”?
Known as Moringa Oleifera, the Moringa tree is also known as the Miracle Tree for a reason. Wondering why a tree is made synonymous with a “miracle”? This amazing plant, which is native to north India and found throughout the tropics, has several benefits. As a matter of fact, the products of the moringa tree have been consumed for centuries as food and medicine.
So, what exactly are the benefits of moringa? The answer lies in the plant’s remarkable nutrient density and disease-fighting ability. Its medicinal properties are so potent that it has even been recorded in the Ayurvedic medicine system as a suitable treatment for over 300 different diseases! These include high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive issues, depression, and more. Moringa’s wide range of health benefits includes its immune-boosting, antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties.
Benefits of Moringa: Nature’s Way to Detox the Body
One of the health benefits we wish to highlight is Moringa’s ability to double as a natural liver detoxifier. As many of you might have already known, the liver is our body’s main detoxifying organ. Build-up of toxins, chronic stress, physical inactivity, and even the lack of quality sleep can negatively impact our body’s natural detoxing system, and the liver is no exception.
Here is where the “miracle tree” comes into the spotlight with its ability to rejuvenate the liver and restore it to its peak condition. A list of its other benefits and body detox ability includes:
1. Reduces Liver Damage and Oxidative Stress
Several studies have proven that the consumption of moringa helps prevent liver damage as well as heal the organ. This ability is oftentimes correlated with the moringa’s rich antioxidant content.
Increased levels of free radicals from stress and toxins from our day-to-day activities can lead to liver damage due to oxidative stress. When in this state, the liver’s ability to function and flush toxins from our body will be impaired. Moringa prevents this by balancing the antioxidant levels within the liver.
The antioxidant boost provided by the moringa scavenges the free radicals and maintains homeostasis. With the undisrupted balance, the liver can repair itself and continue to function properly. To ensure antioxidants are restored in your body daily, consuming antioxidant-rich foods like moringa leaf powder will be a good start. In some organic food stores in Singapore, like Nature’s Superfoods, moringa powder can be easily accessible – add a sprinkle of this superfood powder to your tea or other beverages, and you are all good to go!
2. Restores Liver Enzymes
According to a study from the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, moringa is also found to help in liver enzyme restoration. When the liver is overused, its enzymes get depleted, in turn, decreasing its ability to function properly. Moringa helps restore such enzymes for the liver to function in blood detoxing, bile production, fat metabolism, and nutrient processing.
3. Reduces Inflammation
It’s a fact that inflammation is known to lead to the development of chronic diseases and illnesses. In the case of your liver, increased consumption of unhealthy food – those that are high in refined sugar and unhealthy fats – results in increased inflammation in the organ due to the process of lipid synthesis (the breakdown of fats), which could eventually disrupt the liver’s ability to function.
Moringa’s anti-inflammatory properties counter this. Consuming products of the moringa plant will help reduce inflammation in the liver.
4. Reduction of Stress and Helps Balance Hormones
Moringa’s anti-inflammatory properties also keep the side effects of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) in check during a flight-and-fight response. During high levels of stress, the HPA signals for a total body inflammatory response which, if continued for a long time, can cause serious liver damage and later affect its detoxification functions.
Moringa helps suppress the enzymes that cause inflammation, maintains proper organ function, and reduces the risk of developing inflammation-related illnesses.
5. Increases Protection against Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
NAFLD has been known to lead to cirrhosis, liver scarring, and total liver failure. These symptoms often do not show until it is in its later stages. Moringa’s high level of caffeoylquinic acids is believed to help increase bile production that rids the body of cholesterol and toxins, and possibly prevent the onset of liver disease.
A study observed how the antioxidants in moringa can protect the liver from damage caused by a high-fat diet. It was also shown to decrease signs of NAFLD; dubbing moringa to have potent preventative and curative liver-protecting properties.
Moringa Powder in Singapore: Your Detox Option
In a nutshell, treat Moringa like your daily detoxifier and multivitamin! It is also very high in whole-food calcium, making it a great supplement for your bones.
Not sure how to incorporate it into your diet? Moringa is very versatile and can be easily mixed into any no-bake dishes, such as juices, smoothies, yogurt, salad dressings, sauces, soups, etc. As moringa leaf powder is about 7 times more concentrated than fresh moringa leaves, we recommend starting off with 1 teaspoon a day. It has a slightly spicy spinach-like taste – typical of any leafy greens. Given its flavour profile, it will greatly complement the taste of sweet or sour dishes or smoothies and juices. Just be sure not to confuse moringa powder with matcha powder though, as they are both green!
Here’s a recipe to try! A simple detox moringa-yacon yogurt that you can enjoy for breakfast!
Almatrafi, M. M., Vergara-Jimenez, M., Murillo, A. G., Norris, G. H., Blesso, C. N., & Fernandez, M. L. (2017). Moringa Leaves Prevent Hepatic Lipid Accumulation and Inflammation in Guinea Pigs by Reducing the Expression of Genes Involved In Lipid Metabolism. Int J Mol Sci, 18(7), 1330. Doi: 10.3390/ijms18071330
Godinez, B. (n.d.). 10 Powerful Benefits of Drinking Moringa Every Day. Retrieved from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/paleo-diet-101-the-definitive-guide-to-the-paleolithic-diet
Hamza, A. A. (2010). Ameliorative effects of Moringa oleifera Lam seed extract on liver fibrosis in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology: an International journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 48(1), 345-55. Doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.10.022.
Kuli Kuli. (2019). 5 Ways Moringa Improves Liver Function. Retrieved from: https://blog.kulikulifoods.com/2017/03/25/5-ways-moringa-improves-liver-function/
Kyle. (2017). Moringa for Liver Health – Yay? Or Nay?. Retrieved from: https://operation-wellness.com/moringa-for-liver
Ndiaye, M., Dieye, A.M., Mariko, F., Tall, A., Sall Diallo, A., & Faye, B. (2002). Contribution to the study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Moringa oleifera (moringaceae). Dakar Medical, 47(2), 210-2. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15776678