The name moringa doesn’t seem like the name of a superfood or anything edible. It seems more like what you will name a new age salsa dance. Every part of the moringa plant is edible, with leaves that are small, oval, and tear dropped in shape. The seeds are encased in a pod similar to green beans.
The leaves grow in tripinnate structures and have found use in Asian Cuisines. Kale and matcha have been regarded as the superfood for a long while now, but it seems moringa might even be a healthier alternative to these super greens. In some parts of the world, it is known as horseradish because of the pungent flavor that the roots of the plant have.
What does moringa taste like? Moringa has a slightly bitter flavor with grassy undertones. When you cook the leaves, you get that grassy aroma. For moringa powder, the flavor is light and herbal with earthy tones. It also has a horseradish heat that can be described as something that resembles pepper.
You can say the taste of moringa is an acquired one. It comes in different forms, powder, leaves, and seeds.
Moringa has risen in popularity because of the nutritional value it offers. Although in some parts of the world like Africa, moringa has been in use before now.
Nutritional Benefits of Moringa
Moringa contains a very healthy amount of antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds. For years now, the plant has been praised and placed on a pedestal for its medicinal properties. But, scientists are still yet to uncover all the good that moringa can do in the human body. Nonetheless, we are still going to talk about the nutritional value we know for sure.
Moringa is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. We have protein, vitamin A, C, B6, and B2. We also have minerals like iron and magnesium. Moringa pods are a very rich source of vitamin C. When compared to the leaves, about 100 grams of cut-up pods contain 157 percent of the daily required intake for vitamin C.
Every part of the moringa plant has a use, or nutritional value that it offers upon ingestion. In developing countries, malnutrition is very rampant, and the inclusion of moringa in their diet can lead to the adequate provision of nutrients and vitamins needed. There is a little detail that can not be put aside; moringa leaves may contain antinutrients which can reduce the ability of the body to absorb minerals and micronutrients.
Moringa is a very good source of antioxidants. These are compounds that tackle radical damage in the body. High levels of free radicals in the body cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been associated with diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart-related diseases. But, these antioxidants can relieve oxidative stress and keep the body and cells safe.
When you get injured or infected, the human body responds with inflammation. It is a very effective protective mechanism, but it can become a problem if it carries on for too long. Inflammation has been linked with many health problems including cancer and heart-related diseases. Moringa has anti-inflammatory properties and could help protect our overall well-being.
Culinary Uses of Moringa
Long before it became recognized by mainstream cooking media, moringa has been used in many households in different forms. In some parts of West Africa, the leaves are used with ground melon seeds to make soups. It is regarded as both a delicacy and medicinal.
In other parts of the world like India, the young immature moringa pods are used to make this amazing lentil stew called sambhar. With hot rice and a big scoop of butter, it is lovely.
Moringa leaves can be used like spinach and incorporated into stews and soups as described in the paragraph above. They can be consumed raw or sauteed into stir fry dishes or any other use you can find for them. The leaves can also be chopped and used in salads or as a garnish.
In some places, moringa leaves are dried and ground into powder to be used as a tea for medicinal purposes. In the Philippines, the leaves are boiled with lemongrass and used to make a detoxifying healing herbal tea.
Moringa seeds can be removed from their pods and eaten like nuts, you might not like the taste, but the nutritional value is worth it. The leaves pair well with other food items like chili, fish, chicken, pork, pigeon, shrimp paste, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, or potatoes.
Where is Moringa Grown? How to Procure It?
Moringa is believed to have originated in northern India because of its use in traditional medicines that have been documented as far back as 5000 years ago. The moringa plant stems from the horseradish family and can grow up to 12 feet in height. It is known as the drumstick tree, Ben oil tree, Benzoil tree, and Horseradish tree.
Due to its high nutritional content, the moringa tree has been nicknamed the magic tree. In places like India and some parts of West Africa, the tree is grown in home gardens and used as living fences.
In modern times, moringa can be found fresh in farmers’ markets and specialty grocery stores anywhere.
Why is Moringa Bad For You?
Despite all of its good qualities, moringa can be bad for you. It is something that should not be neglected. The leaves contain an anti-nutrient that can inhibit the absorption of nutrients by the body. Taking moringa supplements in capsules will not supply a large number of nutrients like the real deal.
Facts You Don’t Know About Moringa
- The scientific name for moringa is Moringa oleifera.
- Unlike moringa seeds, the leaves are available all year round. After being cut from the tree, they can last for at least one week in an unwashed plastic bag in the refrigerator.