The superfood trend is still going strong. One of the latest go-to functional foods: moringa leaf powder — a so-called “superfood powder” increasing in popularity among the wellness products landscape.
Common Questions & Answers
Possible Health Benefits of Moringa
Moringa leaf, either powdered or dried, is the most common form of the supplement in the United States, says LaVardera. The potential health benefits discussed below involve moringa powder or extract (aka a pill-form supplement), and may apply to whole moringa leaf, though more studies are needed to know for sure.
Moringa supplies a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant nutrient that supports immune function and collagen production, says LaVardera. She points out that the specific concentrations of nutrients like vitamin C will vary widely between brands. Because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not have the nutritional profile of moringa available on its website, you’ll have to look at the nutrition facts panel of the product that you’re using. For instance, one brand of moringa powder sold by Thrive Market contains 9 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per ? teaspoon serving of powdered moringa. Bonus: The C helps the body better absorb iron (in the same serving of moringa, 5 percent of your daily value is covered).
“I consider moringa in the category of functional foods. We eat a lot of these foods for the beneficial plant compounds that you won’t necessarily see reflected on the package,” says LaVardera. One of those major categories? Polyphenols. These are natural compounds within the plant that protect it as it grows, says LaVardera. When you consume those polyphenols in any form, they stimulate antioxidant activity in your own body that neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals. This is helpful for reducing inflammation in the body that underlies chronic disease, she says.
May Help Prevent Diabetes
Weight Loss Potential of Moringa
That said, moringa research has not clearly shown that the ingredient directly helps with weight loss, but it may help support your body while you change your habits to reach a healthy body weight, adds Stacie Stephenson, doctor of chiropractic, a functional and integrative medicine practitioner and board member of the American Nutrition Association. “Because moringa reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, and promotes the breakdown of fat, it could be a useful way to augment your weight loss efforts,” she says.
Moringa won’t do it alone, though. More important is eating a healthful diet overall, getting regular physical activity, and sleeping well.
Side Effects and Safety of Moringa
Moringa and Medication Interactions
Common Moringa Serving Size
A serving of moringa is ? to 1 teaspoon of moringa leaf powder. This serving differs depending on the product you’re using. Look at the amount indicated on the label of the package.
Plants Similar to Moringa
Moringa is green, so you may compare it with other green powders, such as spirulina, chlorella, or wheat grass. But LaVardera says moringa is more comparable with medicinal herbs, such as ashwagandha.
How to Select and Store Moringa
As mentioned, the most common forms of moringa you’ll encounter are dried or powdered leaves or leaf extract, which you can purchase online or from stores that sell supplements. What’s important is that you’re buying a moringa leaf-based product (rather than those made from other parts of the plant).
Leaf powder will be sold in a bag or cannister, while leaf extract comes in capsules.
The one that you choose will depend on how you’re planning to use it. Is it more accessible or easier to use if it’s in capsule form? Or are you looking to stir some into a smoothie, soup, sauce, or baked with. They’re also available as dried whole leaves that can be used for brewing tea.
Store them in a cool, dry place.
Moringa leaf, when taken as a pill or extract form supplement, is generally considered safe to incorporate into your diet at lower doses in the short term. That said, research on its potential benefits is ongoing, and it’s best to talk to your healthcare team before taking it. If they give you the okay, consider adding it to smoothies, sauces or similar foods. It can be a nice addition if you’re already eating a plant-based diet full of fruits and vegetables. But like any “superfood,” it is certainly not a cure-all.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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- Development and Standardization of Moringa Oleifera Leaves as a Natural Dietary Supplement. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2019.