Image Credit: YIM Hafiz/ Flickr

Is moringa (Moringa oleifera) good for you?

A booth at our farmers’ market is selling moringa. It is a nutrient based plant, exceptional supplementation. It is touted to be “nature’s perfect food.”. Opinions please.

Judy0520 / Originally asked on the NutritionFacts.org facebook page

Answer:

I had to look that one up! I assume they’re talking about Moringa oleifera. There are a few in vitro studies (meaning in a test tube or petri dish outside of the body) showing that leaf extracts may have antiproliferative effects on human cancer cells (as has been shown with cabbage and onion family vegetables–see my #1 anticancer vegetable video). And of course there have been nonhuman animal studies but I was unable to find any clinical studies (meaning done with actual people).

Based on nutrition analyses it appears to be quite nutritious, though: in comparison with other foods, various parts of Moringa oleifera have more iron than spinach (5.3-28.2 mg vs 2.7 mg in spinach), more vitamin C than oranges (120-220 mg vs 69.7 mg per orange), and more potassium than bananas (1324 mg  vs 422 mg per banana). The calcium content in the leaves of Moringa oleifera is also really high but I don’t know about the oxalate content. Bottom line: if it’s comparable in price to other healthy vegetables like broccoli I’d give it a try unless you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, as it has been noted to have antifertility and abortifacient properties.

Image credit: YIM Hafiz/ Flickr

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Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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