Moringa - The new superfood
Heard of Moringa before? You might want to go and get some after reading this….
Moringa (moringa oleifera) is also known as the Ben Oil Tree, Drumstick Tree, or Indian Horseradish. Moringa is a fast growing tree typically cultivated in India, tropical Asia, Africa and Latin America, yielding long seed pods that resemble drumsticks, hence the name Drumstick Tree.
Moringa has long been used in eastern medicine to treat many ailments such as low energy, adrenal fatigue and helps to naturally detox the liver just to name a few. As a dietary supplement, Moringa is high in protein, Vitamins A, B and C and contains minerals such as calcium and iron.
It is also rich in flavonoid, a class of compounds found in plants that contribute to essential plant functions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Moringa products have antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic properties”. In essence, this makes Moringa a new superfood that is nutritious and medicinal.
Moringa is particularly mentioned in Ayurvedic treatments as the most nutritious tree in India. In traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments, moringa is used as a natural and safe detox, often used as a regular tonic of the body. Apart from wellness from within, moringa leaves and barks can be processed into a balm for external application, alleviating joint pains and rheumatism as the plant has a mild analgesic effect. It’s no wonder the Moringa plant is now being hailed as the latest superfood.
In the western world, Moringa products come in various forms, with the most convenient and widely-available form being Moringa powder ground from dried leaves and taken as a supplement in pill form.
Here are just some of the wonderful health benefits:
1.It's nutrient-packed - vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2.It fights free radicals - molecules that cause oxidative stress and cell damage
3.It fights inflammation – helping to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity
4.Reduces diabetes symptoms – reducing lipid and glucose levels
5.Protects cardiovascular system – prevents plaque formation and reduces cholesterol levels
6.Protects the liver – with high concentrations of polyphenols
7.Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – to fight infections
Here is your guide to taking Moringa in all it’s forms so you can start benefiting from this wondrous superfood.
Due to different manufacturing styles and ways to process the plant, the dosage can be varied. Always check the label for recommended dosage given they have different concentration of active ingredients. Usually it’s one pill per day.
For Moringa leaf powder, it is typically sold in packets or jars. For the most effective health benefits, it’s best taken raw, as heat may destroy some of the useful and healthful compounds. The general instructions for various brands seem to suggest starting off slow and adding more powder day by day in order for the body to get used to the detoxifying qualities of Moringa. Start off with a quarter teaspoon added to your smoothies, iced tea, water or sprinkled on your breakfast such as yoghurt or overnight chia pudding and slowly build up to 1 tablespoons a day.
Seeds and Leaves
You might come across roasted whole Moringa seeds or even whole leaves. These are usually hard to come by so if you want to use these, it’s best to check your local health food store, Asian markets or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. The seeds are typically bitter and astringent though; how much you use will depend on personal taste. To use Moringa seeds, remove the shell and chew five to ten seeds a day if possible, or grind them into powder and sprinkle on your food.
When it comes to cooking Moringa leaves and seeds, the spices used in Indian cooking, such as cumin and turmeric, complement the anti-inflammatory effect of Moringa. If eaten raw, start off with a quarter cup of leaves per day, and build up to half cup a day.
No matter how you choose to have your Moringa for its therapeutic effect, the key is moderation and consuming it in line with you and your body. For some that means being able to handle more at first, for you it might be to only take a quarter of the recommended dosage.
Being a superfood, it’s important to remember that Moringa is ultimately not medication but a nutrient-rich food that supports a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s not meant to be a superfood that gives you everything you need or a cure for all your ailments.
If you are pregnant, never consume Moringa tree bark or root as it could cause early labor or uterine contractions. If you are menstruating, it can cause excessive bleeding due to the detoxifying nature.
As always, consult your doctor before incorporating Moringa into your daily diet
Breakfast for Busy Women – Why It’s Important Not to Skip
The alarm goes off and you are rushing around preparing for a busy day ahead, whether you have children to get ready for school, or papers to read for a morning meeting, by the time you’ve watched the news, brushed your teeth and sorted your make-up, you are already exhausted – sound familiar?
It’s no wonder so many busy women end up skipping breakfast and just grabbing an expensive coffee which is drunk in the car on the way. But there are many reasons why this habit is bad for our health.
Breakfast Provides Many Benefits to Our Health and Wellbeing
If you think about it properly, when you wake up in the morning, your body has had no fuel since your evening meal the night before – potentially 12 hours beforehand – so your body is in starvation. Think about the words – “break” “fast” – literally the meal which breaks the fast you have been on while sleeping. You need the energy to kick-start your system and get your body ready for the day ahead.
According to nutritionists, a healthy breakfast should give you around 30% of your daily calorie requirements. It provides us with energy, protein, calcium, iron, fiber and B vitamins which are all needed to get you through the day. If your body doesn’t receive these first thing, studies have shown your body is less effective at taking them on during the rest of the day.
How Eating Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight
If you skip breakfast you are not providing your body with what it needs for energy and you will soon get hungry and are more likely to then reach for high sugar, high fat snacks, to compensate. People who skip breakfast tend to end up reaching for the snacks around 10am which doesn’t help if you are trying to lose weight.
In terms of time, breakfast really needs to be eaten between 45 minutes and two hours of waking up. This timing gives you the chance to put the needed fuel into your body to make sure your metabolism is balanced throughout the day. It is also the premium time for your body to absorb any of the carbohydrates you consume, which helps balance out your insulin levels. All of these aspects mean breakfast really sets your body up for the day and can help curb those mid-morning sugar cravings.
In a study it was revealed that people who not only ate breakfast, but made it their largest meal, lost almost 18 pounds over a three month period. The other people, who took part in the study, eating the same calories during the day but most of these for their evening meal, lost only around seven pounds. This study was published in Obesity.
Other Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
Breakfast brings a large number of health benefits, besides weight loss – providing more reasons why it really is important not to skip this particular meal.
Studies have proven that children who eat breakfast do better at school as they are better able to concentrate and behave well. If it has this benefit for our children, then it will do the same for us. Breakfast helps to restore the levels of glucose which help with our brain function. This helps to improve memory, concentration and mood and also lowers stress levels. We all know that feeling of anger that rises up through being hungry. Breakfast can help us avoid this.
Breakfast is the first supply of energy your body receives when you wake up, making it part of your daily required calorie intake. A good nutritious breakfast will give you all the energy you need to take you through to lunchtime, and should be around 300 calories as a general rule. If you think about the energy you burn, you need the most in the morning and you need the least in the evening, when you are more likely to be sat on the sofa relaxing. Make breakfast your energy priority.
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a published study revealed that not eating breakfast could actually increase the risk of diabetes for women. The study showed that women who did eat breakfast between no, and six times a week, were at far higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate it daily.
Fab Ideas for Quick and Nutritious Breakfasts for Busy Women
So it’s all very well telling you as a busy woman, why you should eat breakfast, and why it’s good for you, but realistically you probably knew most of those things already and yet, you were still skipping? Knowing you need to eat breakfast, doesn’t mean you suddenly gain time in the morning to start preparing and making amazing morning meals does it? That’s why I came up with some tips for tasty breakfasts that are super quick to make.
An Energy Bar and Fruit
The combination of a piece of fruit and energy bar creates a balanced breakfast, providing fiber and vitamins. What can be quicker than just peeling a wrapper and a piece of fruit and eating them straight away? Just doing this could make a big difference to your health.
There are many instant porridge sachets around now – all you need to do is add water and microwave for a few minutes and then you have a healthy breakfast. Avoid the ones with added sugar and flavors, to keep the calories down but a plain version provides an easy breakfast virtually instantly.
Go for natural plain Greek-style yoghurt and add in fresh fruit, for a nutritious, quick and healthy breakfast on the run. Again, this only takes a minute or so to prepare and can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
High-Fiber Cereal or Oats
Fiber can bring health benefits and help you feel full so opting for a high fiber cereal will provide your body with a good start to the day. Make sure you avoid the traditional sugar filled cereals as these will increase your calorie intake while not necessarily helping provide what your body needs. Go instead for the more natural cereals and oats that have no processing for optimal nutrition.
For many women, a busy lifestyle means rushing in the morning and skipping breakfast is a common but bad habit to get into. Breakfast can make a big difference to our health and weight, reaping the benefits for us and there are many options which are quick and easy to make, from smoothies, to energy bars, from cereal to scrambled eggs, so no more excuses ladies!
Welcome! I'm Amber. The mama behind Mama Simply. Join me on my journey to making health and wellness simple.