Note: This post is sponsored by Kuli Kuli.
Moringa oleifera, also called drumstick tree or horseradish tree, is a plant that has gained popularity as an herb for energy and weight control. But what is it? And what benefits does it really have?
Moringa’s rise to glory actually began in ancient India where it flourished. While it was realized the timber could not be used for construction material, the tree was recognized as a good food source and was cultivated for that purpose. It also became apparent that the leaves had medicinal properties, and it became known as a plant used for conditions such as asthma, joint pain, low energy, heart disease and ulcers, ultimately earning it the nickname “Tree of Life.” The tree is grown abundantly in the tropics, but also has the ability to survive in warm, dry areas susceptible to drought, which makes it a life-saving plant in developing countries with those conditions.
While the precise medicinal benefits are still being studied, we do know that Moringa is highly nutritious. While all parts of the plant offer nutritional benefits, the leaves are the most nutrient dense part of the tree. Aid workers in Africa noted that people there who included Moringa leaves in their diet tended to be healthier and more energetic than people not including it in their diet.
Historical uses of Moringa have included using it to relieve some symptoms of inflammation and joint pain, to help normalize blood pressure, and as a digestive. Moringa leaves are a good source of several nutrients, including protein, vitamins
B2, B6 and C, as well as iron and magnesium. They also contain the antioxidant compounds quercetin and chlorogenic acid. It is the overall nourishing effects that could explain any weight control benefits, as well as the modest blood sugar and cholesterol lowering benefits.
Moringa may be a good option to help fill in gaps in the diet. It is available in powder form, or in tasty nutrition bars such as Kuli Kuli Moringa Superfood bars. Their soft & nutty texture would make a great crumble to pair with plain lowfat yogurt and fruit – a great option for kids who may not want to eat the bar straight. For adults, the bars offer convenient nutrition on-the-go. I tried them on a recent business trip that kept me on my feet without a lunch break, and the bar kept me satisfied until dinner time.