Hottest new protein comes from drumstick plant
By Anuradha Sawhney Aug 04 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
Have you heard of a new word doing the rounds nowadays? Something that everyone tells you we must have for the best health benefits? Something which is actually a very common item but the English name can really confound one. Moringa… have you heard of it? The first I heard of it, I was awestruck, thinking with a name like that, I wonder if we will find it in India. And then I did my research and guess what I found out? Moringa actually refers to the humble drumstick plant!
The moringa, or moringa oleifera to use its scientific name, is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s most nutrient-dense plants. Today we can buy moringa powder which is made from naturally-dried moringa leaves. Moringa leaves are 25 per cent plant protein and 31 per cent fibre and very high in antioxidants. Since moringa powder is a natural source of these nutrients, it is more accessible than manufactured supplements. This means our bodies can absorb the nutrients more easily, ensuring a greater uptake.
According to purehealing foods.com, moringa leaf is best known as an excellent source of nutrition and natural energy booster. This energy boost is not based on sugar and so it is sustained. Moringa is also soothing. It helps lower blood pressure and is a sleep aid. Its detoxifying effect may come from moringa’s ability to purify water. Moringa acts as a coagulant attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria. It is believed that this process is taking place in the body as well.
While the continued use of moringa for food and medicinal purposes by cultures in separate and distant parts of the world attest to its beneficial effects, moringa is a recent “discovery” of modern science. But, of course, we in India knew about it from like forever, didn’t we? The leaves of moringa oleifera are nature’s multi-vitamin providing seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the calcium of milk (and plant based calcium on top of it), four times the vitamin A of carrots, three times the potassium of bananas and two times the protein of yogurt (sans cholesterol and animal protein to boot).
On top of that, science is proving moringa to be a powerhouse of nutrients; 90 are known to date, with the possibility of more yet to be identified. If that were not enough, moringa has no known impurities.
Moringa has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any food. It has six times the antioxidants of goji berries and comparable levels to the antioxidant powerhouse matcha (green tea). Antioxidants are essential for protecting, repairing and preventing cell damage, helping support the ageing process of the skin in the long-term. And guess what! The skin benefits of moringa are so exceptional that moringa powder was one of the first food items to ever be sold in the beauty halls of prestigious London department stores Liberty and Selfridges!!
All you young body builders, who are on the look out for protein boosts, stop consuming all those whey proteins. They do you more harm than good. And turn to moringa leaves. Yes, that’s right, moringa oleifera leaves are almost 25 per cent protein, which is unusually high for a plant. Moringa powder contains nine essential amino acids making it a complete source of protein, supporting the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)