When it comes to fighting inflammation—AKA the root of all health evils—turmeric is the most talked-about holistic solution. Whether the flare-up is rearing its ugly head in the form of acne, gut problems, or something more serious (like cancer), turmeric is bound to be part of the treatment plan. And while it’s definitely a powerful healing agent, another superfood is starting to become just as popular due to the fact that it’s—wait for it—even stronger than turmeric. What is it? Moringa.
“Moringa is becoming a trending ingredient because people are looking for ways to get the most nutrient-dense green they can.”
Grown on trees in regions of Africa, South America, and India, the super green is typically ground up and used in powder form, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in bottled juices and bars. “Interest has been growing around greens in general, such as with smoothies or kale, and I think moringa is becoming a trending ingredient because people are looking for ways to get the most nutrient-dense [green] they can,” says Lisa Curtis, founder of Kuli Kuli, America’s leading moringa supplier.
She has a point: Kale has been the green of choice among healthy eaters for years, but according to Kuli Kuli, moringa actually has twice the amount of protein, four times the calcium, six times the iron, and a whopping 48 times the amount of vitamin B2. So, what’s the best way to work it into your diet, where can you find it, and who benefits from moringa the most? Keep reading for all the facts.
Scroll down for everything you need to know about moringa.
Why it’s so good for you
The reason why moringa is able to pack more vitamins than anything you’d find at the salad bar is because it’s more nutrient-dense. “Most greens are 90 percent water, leaving only 10 percent for nutrients. But moringa is only 80 percent water,” Curtis explains.
Besides fighting inflammation, it’s being used medicinally by people with diabetes for its ability to regulate glucose levels. In one study, participants with type 2 diabetes who consumed eight grams of moringa a day saw their glucose levels decrease by 28 percent after two months. And in the doula community, moringa is often the recommended remedy for increasing lactation.
When it comes to how much to consume to get the max benefits, Curtis says you can start with just two grams a day (particularly if you don’t already eat a lot of greens). If you want to take moringa medicinally to fight inflammation or diabetes, work your way up to 10 grams a day.
How you can get a taste
On its own, moringa has a slightly bitter taste; so it goes down easiest in grab-and-go bars and drinks. Yogi tea recently launched a new product that pairs it with blackberries, and it’s a starring ingredient in an adaptogenic kombucha Suja is coming out with at the end of the month, available exclusively at Target.
“My family and I did many service trips to Kenya and Ethiopia to help bring clean water to those without. We were constantly amazed at how the leaves and bark of the moringa tree were being used to combat malnutrition,” Suja CEO Jeff Church says of his decision to add it to the brew. “Over the past few years, we’ve watched in the U.S. as this has become a miracle of sorts ingredient.”
Pressed Juicery is also using moringa in its new digestion shot, mixed with ACV and ginger. “We formulated it to provide prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive support, but we also wanted to maximize the amount of antioxidants, which is where the moringa comes in,” says Pressed Juicery co-founder Carly de Castro. “When you take our digestion shot, you’re supporting your overall health—well beyond just the digestive benefits—thanks in part of the powerful effects of the moringa.”
What to keep in mind when you’re buying loose moringa
Of course, the other way to get your moringa fill is by buying it in powder form and throwing it into your smoothie or tea. (Curtis says it’s also great in soups, pesto, and stews.) It’s been so popular on Nuts.com (yes, they sell more than peanuts and cashews) that the site posted recipes on their site of how to add it to your oatmeal or cookies.
One buying tip to keep in mind is that powder sales aren’t strictly regulated online, so Curtis says it’s important to buy from a brand you already trust or one that explains on its site where the ingredient is sourced from (a good practice no matter what you’re buying online). But once you’ve got moringa in your pantry, you’re one step closer to going green…for your anti-inflammatory fix.
Now that you have the full intel on moringa, here’s what you need to know about all your favorite greens, from arugula to spinach. Plus, 6 common food shopping mistakes even healthy people make.