Often referred to as the “miracle tree,” moringa is popular for its beneficial role in nutrition. So what makes moringa so magnificent?
History and Global Use of Moringa
The moringa (Moringa oleifera) tree is a fast-growing, deciduous tree native to subtropical areas in southern Asia, Africa, and South America. Because of its ability to grow year-round, many cultures have used various parts of the moringa tree both medicinally and as a food source. First described around 2000 B.C., moringa was used as a remedy for over 300 conditions in traditional medicine (1). Today, it continues to thrive globally because of its ability to sustainably improve diets by adding protein, micronutrients, and other phytochemicals.
Nutrients Found in Moringa
Across the globe, people in developing countries supplement their diets with moringa because of its extraordinary nutrient density. Moringa leaves are rich in protein, essential amino acids, and micronutrients such as copper, manganese, iron, zinc, and vitamin A, making it a great source for natural nutrient fortification (2, 3). Moringa is not only abundant in micronutrients, but it also has polyphenols, isothiocyanates, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Moringa is a superfood that once harvested can remain nutritionally stable for long periods of time (4).
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1. Matic I, Guidi A, Kenzo M, et al. Investigation of medicinal plants traditionally used as dietary supplements: A review on Moringa oleifera. J Public Health Afr. 2018 Dec 21; 9(3): 841.
2. Olson ME, Sankaran RP, Fahey JW, et al. Leaf Protein and Mineral Concentrations across the “Miracle Tree” Genus Moringa. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159782. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159782
3. Glover-Amengor M, Aryeetev R, Afari E, et al. Micronutrient composition and acceptability of Moringa oleifera leaf-fortified dishes by children in Ada-East district, Ghana. Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Mar; 5(2): 317–323.
4. Gopalakrishnan L, Doriya K, Kumar DS. Moringa oleifera: A review on nutritive importance and its medicinal application. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2016 June; 5(2): 49-56.