The Superfood Crop Brought From The Mind Of God To The Hands Of Man That May Help Change The World
by Gordon originally from Tapnewswire Sun 6:30 pm UTC, 17 Jan 2016 1
Every time you turn around there seems to be another superfood that claims to boost energy, protect against every disease known to man, and help you lose weight. Six months later, it’s sitting on the markdown shelf. But moringa leaf may be different.
Native to northwestern India, Moringa oleifera is a small tree that’s grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. The leaves have a slightly nutty taste with a hint of horseradish and can be eaten raw or cooked, though they’re most commonly powdered and used as a supplement in smoothies and drinks or made into a tea.
It’s extraordinarily nutritious: Ounce for ounce Moringa has twice the protein of yogurt, four times as much calcium as milk, and three times as much potassium as a banana.
Not only is it healthy and tasty, but you don’t have to feel guilty about buying it. Unlike crops that can be harvested only once a year, moringa leaves grow and mature all year round. This means farmers can subsist on the plants while growing them, which hinders the kind of problems typically associated with foods such as quinoa, where the entire crop must be sold, leaving little for the farmers or their communities. The tree also produces other crops and products growers use and sell locally: The seed pods are edible, and the seeds can be made into a useful oil. Not only do they produce abundant crops, but the trees also need little in the way of water or fertilizers and grow easily in dry places where few other crops do well. Bonus: The leaves are compact and lightweight to store and ship, giving them a much smaller ecological footprint.
Moringa oleifera is a. It was recognized by the National Institutes of Health as the Botanical of the Year for 2007, and praised again in 2011 and 2012. It is valued worldwide for its ability to treat over 300 diseases. It has the ability to retain high concentrations of electrolyte minerals, allowing it to stay internally hydrated in the driest of conditions. Africans have honored it with names that translate to: “Never Die,” and “The Only Thing that Grows in the Dry Season,” and “Mother’s Milk.” I think it’s safe to say that this plant has saved more lives in 3rd world countries than any other. Why do I say this?This amazing tree is capable of delivering what the body needs and these enzymatically active amino acid sequences may simply not exist in the food chain anywhere else, and that is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg when it comes to Moringa oleifera.
It’s an unfortunate fact that our own “civilized” food supply no longer feeds us well nutritionally. Our food is comforting, and tastes good, but as far as our cells are concerned, too much of what we eat is over-processed, denatured and acidic, and ends up depleting our bodies— robbing us rather than feeding us.Today’s western diet has double the caloric intake of a consumer in 1965 and we are receiving 75% less nutrient value for current calories consumed. Seeking daily, quality nutrient supplementation is no longer an option but a requirement for health.We all need to supplement our diets in the most efficient and economical means possible.
When we consider the incidence of disease affecting the 317,000,000 people in America (215 million overweight or obese, 50 million with heart disease, 45 million with chronic headaches, 44 million with osteoporosis, 37 million with arthritis, 30 million with sinus problems, 26 million with diabetes, 79 million pre-diabetes, 12 million with cancer, 6 million with Alzheimer’s) and we understand the relationship between nutrition and disease, it seems obvious but we have to ask how did this come to pass. Hippocrates will be proven right: food is indeed our medicine and the answer to disease.
Moringa oleifera provides a rare combination of zeatin (a potent antioxidant), quercetin (a flavonoid known for its ability to neutralize free radicals and relieve inflammation), beta-sitosterol (a nutrient superstar that blocks cholesterol formation or build-up and is an anti-inflammatory agent for the body), caffeoylquinic acid (another powerful anti-inflammatory compound), and kaempferol (a key nutrient that promotes healthy body cellular function). All in all, enzymatically active and bioavailable Moringa oleifera provides 36 natural anti-inflammatory agents. Free radical damage caused by electron-seeking, highly reactive, oxidative molecules has been identified as the source of many maladies through mechanisms such as inhibition of telomerase, changes to cellular permeability and DNA damage. It has been established that Moringa oleifera contains 46 different antioxidants.
So where can you score some? Moringa leaf is getting easier to find every day. It’s sold in most health food stores and many supermarkets, and you can shop for it online. You’ll find moringa leaf powder sold in powdered form, as well as ready-to-eat products such as Kuli Kuli Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars (which supports small farmers in Africa) or blended with other ingredients to make a suplement, such as Essential Living Foods Organic Vegan Protein Powder. It’s even found its way into beauty products, such as Blue Labelle Organic Restorative Face Oil. Moringa smoothies and facials, anyone?
Moringa powder adds color and subtle flavor to a new ice cream at Pondicheri.CreditCaitlin Ochs for The New York Times
The flood of so-called super foods from the tropics continues nonstop. Moringa — a tree that grows in hot, arid climates — has leaves that are dried and turned into a powder rich in calcium, vitamin A and protein. Alone the powder is fairly bitter, so it’s best added to smoothies and sauces. At Pondicheri, an Indian restaurant in NoMad, moringa bolsters verdant avocado ice cream. The generous scoops are rolled in chopped pistachios and more of the powder. Ajna Jai, who manages the restaurant for her mother, Anita Jaisinghani, the owner, thought of using moringa because it made a good alternative to the ubiquitous matcha. “In general, moringa works well in Indian food,” Ms. Jai said: Moringa ice cream, $4 a scoop to eat in or take out, $6 in a cone, Pondicheri, 15 West 27th Street, 646-878-4375, pondichericafe.com.
Haitian ‘miracle tree’ fights disease
Philippe Cousteau looks at the Moringa tree, known to have large amounts of essential disease-preventing nutrients.
Moringa oleifera seeds, used in ancient Egypt to clarify drinking water, contain a protein that makes bacteria clump together and die.
September 10, 2010
University Park, Pa. — Often called the “miracle tree” for its potential to provide food, fuel and water in harsh environments, the moringa oleifera tree is at the center of a new effort by three Penn State engineers to provide clean drinking water to the developing world.
The work — funded by a year-long, $10,000 Environmental Protection Agency P3 grant — seeks to optimize a water treatment process involving the moringa seed.
“P3 – that’s people, prosperity and planet. It’s for the developing world,” said Stephanie Velegol, instructor in environmental engineering and a co-principal investigator on the grant.
Darrell Velegol, professor of chemical engineering and the grant’s principal investigator, said, “The idea behind our use of the moringa is this: the seeds of the tree contain proteins. One of them is a cationic protein, a positively-charged protein, which contains a little peptide sequence that acts like a molecular knife. So this little molecular knife goes through the bacterial cell wall and kills it, basically slitting it open. We have data showing that for one type of E. coli bacteria, the moringa proteins not only take the bacteria out, but kill the bacteria too.”
And because the moringa protein is naturally positively charged, it’s able to wrap up sediment in water, which is mostly negatively charged, allowing the sediment to settle out of water very quickly.
The chemical engineer continued, “So the purpose of the grant scientifically is to identify what range of pathogens in water, whether it is a giardia protozoan or a pathogenic bacteria, does the moringa tree protein kill and what is the capacity of a certain amount of moringa seed in removing the sediment and the pathogens from the water?”
This summer, Velegol, along with his wife Stephanie and Richard Schuhmann, the Walter L. Robb Director of Engineering Leadership Development and a co-principal investigator on the grant, journeyed to Tiout, Morocco, to assess the tiny village’s water supply and to get a better understanding of the people and culture they hope to assist.
“People are a central aspect of this grant because when you bring a technology like this into a place like Tiout, or Port-au-Prince, Haiti, or wherever, you need a technology that the people find locally acceptable, that they feel they can do and that they feel like they can carry on,” Darrell Velegol said.
The team found that the village had a very clean water supply by standards in the developing world.
“I was impressed by the water source,” Stephanie Velegol said. Tests the team ran for hardness, iron and pH did not indicate any significant issues.
While on this particular trip, the engineers did not get the opportunity to test for bacteria or other biological contaminants, but a sanitary survey indicated that hygiene problems may reside with the storage of water subsequent to pumping.
Stephanie Velegol said the moringa provides a possible solution that’s sustainable to places where access to clean water is difficult.
“This moringa grows naturally in harsh environments like the Moroccan desert,” she explained. “It’s not a toxic chemical that we’re bringing in that we have to dispose of. In addition, we believe moringa can bring prosperity to the people because it’s not only something that has food and water purification, but there are oils within its seed that can be sold at a profit. So we thought it was a perfect mix.”
Schuhmann added that villages such as Tiout must truck in their water purification chemicals from a large city, which can be pricey. In the case of Tiout, the closest major city is Agadir, approximately an hour and a half east by car. With moringa, “they can actually grow their own water treatment chemicals right here in the village,” he stated.
The idea to use moringa to purify water isn’t new. Indeed, Darrell Velegol said, “Moringa’s been used for thousands of years, from the best reports we can find, to clarify water. Women working on the Nile River would take the moringa seeds, rub them along their pots to clarify some of the water. We don’t know exactly how effective it was in that form, but that’s what they did.”
It was a conversation with Rick Bates, associate professor of ornamental horticulture, that gave the team the idea to look into the moringa tree.
“He told me about this moringa tree that grows in very dry area where very little else grows,” Stephanie Velegol recalled. “The leaves are highly nutritious and contain a large number of vitamins and minerals and even proteins. They can be fed to children to stave off malnutrition. But he also told me the pods of the tree contain seeds that purify water.”
Although the seed’s purification properties were fairly well known, a problem for the researchers is the fact that water purified by moringa seeds doesn’t stay clean for very long.
“There are other proteins and organic matter in moringa seeds. They act like food,” Darrell Velegol said. “They add biological oxygen demand that the bacteria then use as food. So any bacteria that are in the air and fall into the water will start to grow because they have this fresh source of food. So you can only store the water for about a day.”
To extend the shelf life of water cleaned by moringa seeds, the researchers believe that the answer might literally be under their feet.
“The idea Stephanie had is simple,” said Velegol. “We add the crushed moringa seed to water so that the proteins go into the water. Next we add sand, so that the active protein in the solution anchors onto the sand. The rest of the proteins and organic matter — called biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD — is rinsed away. The functionalized sand is now active, and we have data to show that this sand can clean water and kill pathogens. When you’re done, you just let the sand settle out of the water, so that the sand can be used again. That’s the core of the idea.”
Although a major challenge for the team will be to perfect the moringa water purification process, convincing people like Tiout’s villagers to use the technology is as formidable a task.
Schuhmann said Tiout’s population doesn’t perceive a problem with their water supply. Though people may get sick from time to time, the locals aren’t apt to blame the water.
Stephanie Velegol said, “Is there a way to convince people that there are things in the water that are making them sick and not something else when they can’t even see the pathogens?”
The work will continue this semester in all three faculty members’ engineering classes.
“We have a charge to the students to create a sustainable process with the moringa seed that will disinfect the water to an acceptable level,” Stephanie Velegol said. “We have to constrain them to some extent, but we have to open it up to their creativity so they can find a solution we haven’t even thought of, something that can be implemented not only in Morocco, but anywhere in the world having a problem with water. And Penn State students are so bright – we’re confident that they’ll come up with a solution.”
Moringa oleifera is a plant that has been praised for its health benefits for thousands of years.
It is very rich in healthy antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds.
So far, scientists have only investigated a fraction of the many reputed health benefits.
Here are 6 health benefits of Moringa oleifera that are supported by scientific research.
1. Moringa Oleifera Is Very Nutritious
Moringa oleifera is a fairly large tree native to North India.
It goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horseradish tree or ben oil tree.
Almost all parts of the tree are eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicines.
This especially applies to the leaves and pods, which are commonly eaten in parts of India and Africa (1).
Below is a photo of Moringa oleifera leaves, powder and capsules:
Moringa leaves are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) contains (2):
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDA
In Western countries, the dried leaves are sold as dietary supplements, either in powder or capsule form.
Compared to the leaves, the pods are generally lower in vitamins and minerals. However, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. One cup of fresh, sliced pods (100 grams) contains 157% of your daily requirement.
The diet of people in developing nations sometimes lacks vitamins, minerals and protein. In these countries, Moringa oleifera can be an important source of many essential nutrients.
Another thing to keep in mind is that taking Moringa oleifera supplements in capsules won’t supply a large number of nutrients.
The amounts are negligible compared to what you consume if you eat a balanced diet based on whole foods.
Summary Moringa leaves are rich in many important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron.
2. Moringa Oleifera Is Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that act against free radicals in your body.
- Quercetin: This powerful antioxidant may help lower blood pressure (12, 13).
- Chlorogenic acid: Also found in high amounts in coffee, chlorogenic acid may help moderate blood sugar levels after meals (14, 15).
One study in women found that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood antioxidant levels (16).
Moringa leaf extract may also be used as a food preservative. It increases the shelf life of meat by reducing oxidation (17).
Summary Moringa oleifera is rich in various antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Moringa leaf powder can increase blood antioxidant levels.
3. Moringa May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar can be a serious health problem. In fact, it’s the main characteristic of diabetes.
Over time, high blood sugar levels raise the risk of many serious health problems, including heart disease. For this reason, it’s important to keep your blood sugar within healthy limits.
Interestingly, several studies have shown that Moringa oleifera may help lower blood sugar levels.
One study in 30 women showed that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5%, on average (16).
Another small study in six people with diabetes found that adding 50 grams of moringa leaves to a meal reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21% (21).
Scientists believe these effects are caused by plant compounds such as isothiocyanates (22).
Summary Moringa leaves may lead to reduced blood sugar levels, but more research is needed before any solid recommendations can be made.
4. Moringa Oleifera May Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury.
It’s an essential protective mechanism but may become a major health issue if it continues over a long period of time.
Most whole fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties. However, the degree to which they can help depends on the types and amounts of anti-inflammatory compounds they contain.
But so far, research has been limited to test-tube and animal studies. It remains to be seen if Moringa oleifera has similar anti-inflammatory effects in humans.
Summary In animal and test-tube studies, Moringa oleifera has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. This effect has not been studied in humans.
5. Moringa Can Lower Cholesterol
Having high cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, many plant foods can effectively reduce cholesterol. These include flaxseeds, oats and almonds.
Summary Moringa oleifera can lower your cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
6. Moringa Oleifera May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity
Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic may lead to health problems over time.
These results are promising, but it’s not yet known whether this also applies to humans.
Summary Animal studies suggest that Moringa oleifera may protect against arsenic toxicity. However, this has not yet been studied in humans.
The Bottom Line
Moringa oleifera is an Indian tree that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
However, only a few of its many reputed health benefits have been studied scientifically (1).
To date, studies show that Moringa oleifera may lead to modest reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol. It may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and protect against arsenic toxicity.
Moringa leaves are also highly nutritious and should be beneficial for people who are lacking in essential nutrients.
If you want to try Moringa oleifera supplements, there is an excellent selection available on Amazon.
An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
5 Superfoods You’re Probably Not Eating
It’s time to move beyond kale and quinoa.
By some estimates, the state of American health looks pretty grim. And much of it is directly tied to poor diets.
Based on current trends, one in three American adults—about 146 million people—will be suffering from type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That year, say researchers at Harvard University, 42 percent of Americans will be obese, up from the current figure of 35 percent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in 2000, partially because of a surge in meat consumption, the average American ate almost 20 percent more calories than he did in 1983.
The problem isn’t only that we’re eating too much, but that we’re eating a lot of bad stuff: According to the CDC, more than 11 percent of the American diet comes from fast food. Could the gloomy 2050 predictions be averted? A hopeful sign is the growing interest in healthy diets, and in particular, superfoods. New research by Mintel, a market research firm, has found that between 2011 and 2015, the number of new food and drink products to hit the marketplace containing the terms “superfood,” “superfruit” or “supergrain” increased more than 200 percent worldwide. Just a cursory glance at your local Whole Foods will give you a sense of how ubiquitous the word has become to sell various foods and drinks.
And while the term superfood has been used aggressively as a marketing tactic, it’s a real concept. The Oxford Dictionary defines a superfood as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” But that doesn’t mean superfoods should be treated as panaceas. While Cancer Research UK points out that superfoods are often marketed as having the power to prevent or even cure various diseases and ailments, it warns that consumers “shouldn’t rely on so-called ‘superfoods’ to reduce the risk of cancer. They cannot substitute for a generally healthy and balanced diet.” But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Interested in making the most of what you eat? Try including these five “superfoods” in your diet. (And as with any change in diet, check with your doctor before trying anything new.)
(image: Suradech Kongkiatpaiboon/Shutterstock)
What has more protein than yogurt, more calcium than milk, more B vitamins than peanuts, more potassium than bananas, and more vitamin A than carrots? Moringa.
People in Africa and Asia have long known the health properties of moringa, a tree whose seed pods taste like a sweeter version of green beans and whose leaves have a peppery flavor. “In India, we call moringa the drumstick tree, for its long, drumstick-like seed pods,” writes Maanvi Singh on NPR.org. “It’s easy to come by in Mumbai, where I grew up. My mother would use the young, tender pods to make this amazing lentil stew called sambhar.”
Packed with protein and phytochemicals (compounds that may reduce the risk of chronic disease), moringa also has all eight essential amino acids. And while there’s also compelling evidence that moringa can help diabetes and function as an anti-carcinogen, Singh points out that the current research is preliminary.
Still, the plant punches way above its weight in nutrients. “Milligram for milligram, it outperforms many of the classic sources of vitamins and minerals by multiples, such as 25 times the amount of iron as spinach or seven times the amount of vitamin C as oranges,” writes Jonathon Engles, a food writer and eco-gardener who first discovered it in Guatemala, where it is being used to fight malnutrition.
If you can’t find moringa locally, buy it online, but be sure to look for the responsibly sourced, fair-trade variety. But the best option is simply to grow your own. If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9, 10 or 11, you can easily grow moringa trees. And next time you go camping, you might want to bring some dried moringa seeds with you: Just a few crushed up seeds can purify a bottle of contaminated water.
Here’s an easy recipe to try: Moringa pizza.
Google searches for turmeric have surged by 300 percent over the last five years, according to the company’s 2016 Food Trends Report. In fact, turmeric latte (aka “Golden milk), a drink made of juiced turmeric root and nut milk that is fast becoming a cultish, healthy alternative to coffee, may be 2016’s drink of choice, notes Saba Imtiaz of the Guardian. She adds, “Turmeric lattes are now being sold at cafes from Sydney to San Francisco, and the drink is gaining fans in the UK.”
A member of the ginger family whose root is widely used as an ingredient in medicines, turmeric is a superfood that has many health properties. Since ancient times, turmeric has been used to fight inflammation, a power given to it by the compound curcumin, which has been found to inhibit several molecules that play a role in inflammation in human clinical trials.
It has also been used to treat a wide number of ailments, including arthritis, heartburn, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, high cholesterol, headaches, bronchitis, fibromyalgia and depression. Curcumin may also help fight cancer, as its antioxidants may help prevent free radicals from damaging cellular DNA.
The fact that its wide-ranging health properties may be used as a potential treatment for a number of afflictions common to older people means that turmeric isn’t just a hipster fad. “Turmeric has potential as an ingredient in supplements and functional food and drink products, particularly within products aimed at the growing senior population,” says Stephanie Mattucci, a global food science analyst at Mintel.
A 2012 study backs up her view. Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” after consuming 764 milligrams of turmeric for 12 weeks. The researchers concluded that turmeric is “effective and safe” for the treatment of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
“After bubbling under the surface for many years, with those of us immersed in the world of curcumin saying ‘any minute now,’ it finally broke into the mainstream in a big way two years ago,” wrote Shaheen Majeed in Natural Products Insider in December. “We believe it was propelled by an overwhelming growth in the body of science on its safety and efficacy.”
Generating more than $20 million in revenue in 2014, curcumin is the top-ranking natural herbal supplement. (As a dietary supplement, curcumin extracts are generally preferred, since in its raw state, turmeric has low bioavailability.)
Here’s an easy recipe to get your turmeric on: Iced turmeric latte.
Native to the Great Lakes region and northeastern U.S., aronia (aka chokeberry) have been used in many food products, from jam, salsa and syrup to ice cream, beer and wine. But this dark, sour berry that has long been prized by Native Americans as a miracle fruit has emerged as a potent superfood.
The primary reason is its high anthocyanin content. A class of over 600 naturally occurring plant pigments, anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical, confer a dark red or purple color to many fruits and vegetables, such as purple berries, red grapes, eggplant and purple corn. There is a growing body of evidence of anthocyanins’ wide-ranging health benefits.
“Based upon many cell-line studies, animal models, and human clinical trials, it has been suggested that anthocyanins possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control and diabetes alleviation properties, all of which are more or less associated with their potent antioxidant property,” according to a 2010 Ohio State University study.
While anthocyanins are present in all those purple fruits and vegetables, none contain nearly as much as aronia. According to USDA figures, aronia has 2,147 milligrams of anthocyanin per 100 grams of berry. That outperforms the second-place elderberry (1,993 mg), as well as eggplant (750 mg), blackberries (353 mg), Concord grapes (192 mg) and red cabbage (113 mg).
If you live in USDA Hardiness Zone 3, you can grow your own and eat them right off the bush. But they’re also perfect in smoothies. Here’s a video on how to make one:
- Mung Beans
A popular food in India, China and Southeast Asia, the mung bean has a nutty, sweet flavor that complements sweet and savory dishes. While they are packed with potassium, iron, magnesium and fiber, it’s the protein content that is amazing: 24 percent. It’s no surprise that they are popular, even for breakfast, in India, where 40 percent of the population is vegetarian.
While most other legumes lose their vitamin C content after cooking, mung beans retain most of it. Also, studies have shown that fermented mung bean extracts can help lower bad cholesterol levels and also blood sugar levels, which is good news for diabetics.
And there’s more: A 2012 study showed that mung beans have the ability to suppress the growth of cancer cells in the liver and cervix. A 2005 study revealed that mung beans have antifungal properties as well.
“Sprout mung beans overnight (using a simple sprouting vessel) and eat over rice,” suggests Rich Roll, a vegan athlete who Men’s Fitness Magazine dubbed one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World.”
“Alternatively, you can make a broth with turmeric or even brew a coffee-like drink in a French press with nutritional yeast,” he writes.
Learn how to grow mung bean sprouts at home with this video:
- Maple Syrup
It was hiding in plain sight all along. An American kitchen staple, maple syrup is now being hailed as a superfood because it contains anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory compounds that can also help manage type 2 diabetes. As a recent Daily Mail headline heralded, “Maple syrup joins the ranks of broccoli and blueberries as new ‘one-stop shop’ superfood.”
While you might eat it with pancakes, new research suggests you should be eating it a lot more. “We don’t know yet whether the new compounds contribute to the healthy profile of maple syrup,” said Navindra Seeram, who led the research at the University of Rhode Island. “But we do know that the sheer quantity and variety of identified compounds with documented health benefits qualifies maple syrup as a champion food.”
The finding puts maple syrup alongside such known superfoods as berries, red wine (in moderation), tea and flaxseed.
“We found a wide variety of polyphenols in maple syrup,” said Seeram. “We discovered that the polyphenols in maple syrup inhibit enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrate to sugar. In fact, in preliminary studies, maple syrup had a greater enzyme-inhibiting effect compared to several other healthy plant foods such as berries.”
Here are 11 new ways to ways to include maple syrup in your diet.
Do you have any superfood recommendations or recipes? Share them in the comments.
Reynard Loki is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He previously served as the environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet and as a reporter for Justmeans/3BL Media covering sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He was named one of FilterBuy’s Top 50 Health & Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. His work has been published by Salon, Truthout, BillMoyers.com, EcoWatch, Truthdig, National Memo, Green America, Regeneration International, Revelist, Resilience and BlackBook, among others. Reynard is also the co-founder of MomenTech, an experimental production studio based in New York and Prague that has presented dozens of projects around the world exploring intersections of culture, history, politics, science and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @reynardloki or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moringa oleifera, the horseradish tree. Credit: Mark A. Garland, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Ilya Raskin is seeking cures and treatments for ailments afflicting hundreds of millions of people.
And he’s trying to find them – along with anti-aging and other beneficial compounds – in myriad plants in 20 countries on four continents.
Raskin’s laboratory at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences studies the health benefits of crops and medicinal plants. A major focus is on revealing the molecular effects of chemical compounds in plants, vegetables and fruits on chronic diseases, including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and gut problems.
The lab, headquarters of the Global Institute for BioExploration, is also developing botanical therapeutics that promote health, wellness and beauty. The lab’s research led to the creation of Nutrasorb LLC, a company that develops and markets enhanced botanical ingredients and crops.
Moringa oleifera, or moringa for short, is a small, fast-growing, tropical tree with edible leaves that have been used to fight diabetes for centuries and other edible parts used as nutritious food and in traditional medicine. Rutgers Today asked Raskin about his pioneering research on moringa, also known as the horseradish tree.
Rutgers Today: What is Moringa oleifera seed extract and where does it come from?
The extract comes from a tropical plant that is called moringa, which we have studied for at least four years in the lab. It’s an edible plant that has an incredibly high content of many nutrients, vitamins and micronutrients, but it’s also very high in protein. On top of that, it has some bioactive components that are beneficial to human health, and this is really where our interest is. Morigina is used as food throughout the world, particularly in tropical regions, and is nutritionally related to broccoli.
Rutgers Today: Where is moringa found?
The plant originates in Southeast Asia, but it’s widely grown now in Africa. Some of it is grown in South America, and it’s also grown in Cuba, so now it’s all over the world just because of its nutritional properties and health and wellness benefits. But there isn’t much of it in the United States since Florida is a bit too cold. The only state where it can grow with success is Hawaii, which is really the only tropical state we have.
Rutgers Today: What are the known or potential benefits of ingesting moringa or putting it on your skin?
Moringa may provide strong health benefits when it is eaten and we are actively working to develop moringa applications for functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements. When it comes to skin, moringa compounds have powerful anti-aging and inflammatory effects, and they work to protect skin cells from environmental stresses, such as UV radiation. Moringa is particularly useful for skin because our skin cells are always under assault from the environment. The compounds in moringa mobilize natural cell resources to fight those stresses.
Rutgers Today: Do you have plans to share your moringa research with the beauty industry?
We are excited to partner with Estée Lauder this year. They were particularly interested in our moringa as we have managed to maintain the activity of a special molecule within the extract to help deliver exceptional benefits to skin. I’m glad Rutgers and Estée Lauder are coming together because our work on this ingredient will lead to skincare products that will benefit consumers.
Rutgers Today: What are the next steps for moringa?
The next step is to develop an oral or dietary supplement, or possibly a food product, that will help fight diseases like diabetes and arthritis. When taken orally, we believe that moringa’s powerful anti-inflammatory effect on our systems can prevent or help to cure some of the chronic diseases based on inflammation.
Explore further: New, useful feature of Moringa seeds revealed