This awesome guest post was written by Taymer Mason, a Barbadian food scientist, author and vegan chef. You can check out her website here!
Moringa is a tree that grows in tropical and subtropical areas. It has leaves and pods which produce seeds that can be consumed or used for water purification purposes. Most of the moringa plant can be consumed and the leaves and seeds have an impressive nutrition profile.
Moringa leaf powder has over 92 nutrients, 18 amino acids, it boosts the immune system and is touted as an anti-aging agent. Moringa leaf powder has four times the amount of vitamin A than carrots, seven times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange, three times the amount of potassium as in bananas, twenty five times the amount of iron than spinach and four times the amount of protein than an egg.
Yes, these dried leaves are a power house on their own!
Consuming the leaf powder can regulate your glucose levels, they are anti-inflammatory, promotes circulation and aids in digestion. Personally I use moringa for its energy boosting ability and the oil from the seed in hair and skin care.
The seed powder that is sometimes overlooked is high in oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. The seeds are also rich in Vitamin A, C and Iron. The seeds also offer a surprising benefit for people that do not like to drink water. Chewing the raw seed coats your mouth and esophagus with a sticky secretion that sweetens water once you drink water directly after. It wears off after a couple of minutes.
Moringa leaf powder and seed powder can be purchased at any health food store and if it is not loose it is sold in capsule form. Fresh moringa leaf powder is bright green, moringa leaf powder over two months has an olive green color.
Moringa leaf powder and seed powder are easy to make at home. Pick fresh leaves and wash the plant and leave to air dry completely, put the leaves in the oven and dry below 180 F for about one hour and fifteen minutes. Take off dried leaves and place them in a blender and blend until the leaves turn into a fine powder. Sieve this powder and store in an airtight container.
Moringa grows in tropical and subtropical climates and it is a tree that does not require any special care as it grows in the wild. This makes moringa even more accessible and cheaper to produce because the extra care factor is not there and land availability will be the only determining factor.
Now, we know the nutritional benefits of moringa leaf powder and seed powder the question is how can we integrate more of this into our diets outside of taking them orally as capsules?
Integrate the leaf power into smoothies.
The dosage can be up two teaspoons per serving of leaf powder. The mild green earthy flavor of the leaf powder pairs well with mint and this is good way to balance the flavor of the moringa transforming it into a tasty additive and not a boring supplement. Moringa oleifera is a culinary superstar and an unsung food hero! Check out some moringa recipes below.
Moringa Mint Shake
Adapted from Caribbean Vegan Expanded Second Edition Nov 2016
1 piece of mature coconut meat
2 cups of non-dairy milk
1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds
2 heaping teaspoons hemp seeds
½ small apple
1 teaspoon moringa leaf powder
1 tablespoon moringa seed powder
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
A few blocks of ice
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve immediately.
The blossoms on the moringa tree are white and beautiful and can be added into granola and dehydrated, served fresh on salads for a slightly spicy kick or used to make and garnish teas.
3 cups (720 ml) water
¼ cup 5 g) whole moringa leaves
¼ cup (5 g) whole mint leaves
2 pieces lemongrass 8 inches long inclusive of the stem
2 dried lime leaves, optional
Moringa flower blossom, for garnish, optional
Place the water, moringa leaves, mint, lemongrass, and optional lime leaves in a heavy medium sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Let steep 5 minutes, remove herbs, strain, and serve hot. Top with a delicate moringa flower blossom if you have one.
You can also use the fresh moringa leaves like spinach, sautéed or cooked into other foods. They are heartier than spinach and have the depth of mushrooms. They also stand up well in soups and stews.
Moringa is more than just your next superfood, integrate it into your diet today!
Healing Wonders of Herbs by Herminia de Guzman- Ladion pg 19
Caribbean Vegan Expanded Second Edition Nov 2016 by Taymer Mason