The Super Food You’ve Never Heard About

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Throughout history, people have searched for ‘The Tree of Life’, a tree that would supposedly bring health and youthfulness to those who discovered it. Moringa Oleifera, otherwise known as Moringa, is the real life miracle tree, bringing health and nutrition to people around the world. Moringa is the most nutritious tree to ever be found growing on our planet.

Often called the ‘Tree of Life’, Moringa is native to the Indian sub-continent and has spread to tropical and sub-tropical areas throughout the world. Moringa is a deciduous tree or shrub that grows extremely fast and is drought-resistant. Every part of the Moringa tree has beneficial properties that can help humans. People throughout the ages have used the leaves, pods, flowers, bark, gum, and roots as a source of nutrition and medicine. While the seeds can be used to create cooking oil, they can also be used as a tool to purify water.

For centuries, Moringa leaves have been used in many countries as traditional medicine for common ailments such as intestinal worms, diabetes, skin infection, malaria, urinary disorders, diarrhea, abnormal blood pressure, anemia, and many more. Research today indicates that Moringa leaves contain many disease-preventatives, as well as all of the essential amino acids.

A study from the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad, India shows that 1 gram of fresh Moringa leaves contains seven times the Vitamin C of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the Calcium of milk, three times the Potassium of bananas, and two times the Protein of Yogurt, whereas dried and powdered leaves contain ten times the Vitamin A of Carrots, seventeen times the Calcium of milk, twenty-five times the Iron of spinach, and nine times the Protein of Yogurt.

In 1987-98, Alternative Action for Africa Development (AGADA) and Church World Service tested the advantages of Moringa leaf powder in southwestern Senegal and found that it has the ability to help cure malnutrition in pregnant or breast-feeding women and their children. Malnutrition was a huge issue in this area, with more than six-hundred malnourished infants treated each year. During the test, doctors, nurses, midwives and village women alike were taught how to prepare and use Moringa leaf powder. The test found that children maintained or increased their weight and improved overall health, pregnant women recovered from anemia and gave birth to babies with higher birth weights, and breast-feeding women had a higher production of milk.

There are organizations such as AGADA, that are teaching villages about the benefits of cultivating and consuming Moringa. As a result of AGADA’s efforts and research, the government of Senegal is promoting Moringa as part of the national diet and the plant is becoming more and more well-known and used for human consumption throughout the countries of Africa. Africans are once again beginning to go back to their old traditions of using the miracle tree as traditional medicine.

One Moringa plant can grow from a seed up to three meters in its first year. Producing leaves year round, one Moringa tree could feed a family of five and contribute to a sustainable and healthy livelihood allowing the family to become less dependent on international recourses. Moringa leaves can also be stored for up to a year, allowing villages to have a sustainable back-up recourse in case of famine or unforeseen weather. Because 100% of the tree can be used, it is one of the most sustainable natural, local, edible recourses available to people in Africa. If every family in Africa grew Moringa, the ability of its seeds to purify water would give them all readily available access to purified drinking water.

Examples of Moringa helping the economy in villages and countries of Africa are slowly beginning to pop up throughout the continent. Kuli Kuli is the first company to introduce Moringa to the US market in the form of a food product. Kuli Kuli supports women farmers, enabling them to earn a living while still growing Moringa for their families and villages. The Moringa used by Kuli Kuli is harvested from women-owned farms in West Africa. These women earn a fair wage and support their families without being exploited for profit.

Moringa powder is the perfect dietary supplement for people looking to add more nutrition into their diet. Not only is it a healthy choice, but it is also a great product that helps support local economies in developing countries.You can find Moringa powder at health food stores and online.

Image: Flickr/Rusty Clark

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